Healthcare IT Guy supports Institution Browser Lockdown

Not long ago, the Healthcare IT Guy, Shahid N. Shah, proposes that healthcare institutions ought to lock down their browsers to prevent all unofficial use or as he calls it “misuse”:

Healthcare IT GuyMore and more healthcare applications are being re-platformed to run as web applications. While it’s good for ease of deployment, this means that staff that had no business using web browsers before now have valid work reasons to run browsers. This may lead to “unofficial” use of office browsers for non-healthcare use such as shopping, reading the news, playing on FaceBook, or other types of misuse.

While some misuse may be acceptable because all it does is waste time, other types of misuse like downloading files, playing music online, etc will cause viruses to enter the network or may take up valuable network bandwidth.

I recommend locking down your browsers so that staff can only use it appropriately. Check out these tips and directions to help prevent most common misuse of Internet Explorer. While these are not foolproof, they will take care of basic restrictions.

While there are indeed inappropriate uses of an institution/employer’s technology, applying a unilateral block on all personal use generally results in employees who are disinterested in using the technological solutions implemented by employers. The main reasons for this hinge on the following:
1) Unfamiliarity/Discomfort with technology (People take the time to *really* learn technology by using it to do something in which they have a *personal* interest)

2) Feelings by the users that management does not trust the users or care about their personal needs that full lock downs tend to cause.

It is easy to lock down. It is easy to leave things completely open. It takes some thought to keep things secure between these two extremes.



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