Gadget guy

You know who he is. (It’s almost always a guy.) He’s the user who loves gadgets. He’s the first one to have every new high-tech toy, from the Apple Newton to a wireless modem to a camera phone. He used to ask you to support his gadgets when he tried to use them for work. And maybe you did, back when you still had the staff and budget to cater to one user’s whims.

By now, you’ve long since stopped that kind of catering. And by now, he’s long since stopped asking.

Think about it: handheld computers enable users to walk out the door with megabytes of proprietary data in their pockets. Home wireless networking equipment can open up holes in your network big enough to drive a truckload of hackers through. A Web cam with enough resolution is a virtual window into an office.

And those are just the innocent problems. In the hands of a disgruntled employee, gadgets are just about guaranteed to be dangerous.

You can’t do much about those cases. But as for the gadget freak who finally stopped asking you for support, now might be a good time to renew his acquaintance.

After all, the holidays are coming. A new wave of gadgets will hit your office soon.

And your gadget guy won’t just be bringing in new toys of his own. He’ll also be the go-to guy for other users who get gadgets this year. They already know that your IT department doesn’t have the time or resources to help them with home-quality IT gear that’s not approved for use in the office.

So when they have questions, he’ll have answers. And because he knows IT doesn’t want to hear about this stuff, he won’t bother asking you for help or guidance.

That’s a sure recipe for problems.

Yes, it’ll mean a little more effort for you, figuring out those gadgets. And with budgets and staffs still squeezed, that’s a problem. But if you can get the gadget guy on board, he’ll do a lot of the work. And instead of hiding gadgets from you, he’ll keep you in the loop — which means a lot less effort looking for gadgets gone wrong.

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