In order for enterprise employees to work together as one unified group, they must follow carefully written policies and procedures -- but every once in a while, you may find yourself in the position where policy absolutely must be circumvented for the good of the company. These situations are what I refer to as "Black Ops IT." And believe it or not, it’s a crucial part of every enterprise organization -- as long as it’s properly handled.
In order to compete with smaller companies or startups that can more easily pivot on emerging or changing markets, enterprise IT must sometimes cut through red tape in order to keep up. The key, however, is identifying the truly important goals, so as to not overuse the privilege.
Almost all IT black ops campaigns are initiated from the top down. Typically, department heads meet with the CIO and discuss their need for a new technology -- or a massive change to an existing one. These are the types of projects that would usually take a great deal of time to approve and implement due to things like security and infrastructure architecture reviews. But if the case can be made that following the established auditing and approval process is more dangerous to the organization than skipping it, the CIO can make the decision to bypass protocol and fast-track the necessary changes. The key is that the CIO must have the foresight to know when to stand by his or her policy, and when it should be ignored. This is not the easiest skill to obtain and is an important part of any CIO’s skill set.
Ensuring covert planning and execution is the other critical component of any IT black operation. If other departments are made aware that company IT policies are being ignored for one specific reason, they begin rationalizing that they can be circumvented for many others. This creates the dreaded environment where policies become outright ignored by the entire organization. This absolutely cannot happen.
The beauty of technology, however, is that many policies and procedures can be covertly bypassed within the infrastructure, and the vast majority of the organization will never know. The weak link then becomes the IT employees themselves. As the old saying goes, “Loose lips sink ships” -- and the same holds true for IT policy circumvention. Make sure your IT staff keeps it quiet when they get the green light to perform tasks that do not adhere to company policies.
Moderation, CIO foresight, and operational secrecy are the three key components of any good IT black ops campaign. In a perfect world, all formal procedures and policies should be followed 100 percent of the time. But since we live in a world and a marketplace that is constantly changing, there are indeed times when it’s necessary for the growth and conservation of any company that these rules be ignored. If a certain amount of flexibility isn’t tolerated in enterprise IT, you can expect that smaller, more nimble companies will swoop into changing markets and quickly erode your market share.