It's an area of IT that really intrigues me. I had the experience, perhaps the unique experience, to be VP of HR and IT and the same time for a mid-sized company (over 150 million in revenue). From that perspective I got to see multiple angles of corporate secrets.
I recently taught a graduate level course in IT security and noted that none of the texts, references I found had more than a passing mention of this basic lvel of security. Chapters on ecryption and secruity protocols - but almost nothing on the most basic of security issues - learn when to keep your mouth shut!
Thanks for providing your perspective, @David. Yes, IT HAS to know early: They're the ones who must remove soon-to-be ex-employees' rights, ensure they're not taking corporate secrets or copying files, etc. -- especially if these fired workers have access to particularly sensitive data. Interesting to hear that IT often doesn't get the confidentiality training of HR, particularly since they are on the inside track of so much inside information. This could be a big problem for a company: You'd think loose lips by IT could actually create a data-loss problem that IT's early knowledge was designed to prevent.
In my career I have managed Customer Service, IT, Project Management, Development teams, ecommerce teams, new product development teams, Human Resources - and probably a few others that I have forgotten about. For my experience, IT is right behind HR in managing secrets.
People being asked to leave - HR knows first followed by IT.
Employees work habits being investigated - HR basically asks IT to check logs.
Offices/People being moved - HR, Office Admin and once again - IT.
HR employees are often taught about the importance of keeping employee information confidential, but IT employees who have access to almost as much information are rarely briefed/educated on employee confidentiality/privacy issues.
I would love to hear from ThinkerNetters about that great question, Mitch. As IT professionals, I'd think they would be: After all, CIOs and other high-level IT pros know about every department within their organization, they know the organization's current and future plans, they know how technology will be used to improve productivity (possibly resulting in layoffs), and they are involved in integrating systems when there's M&A activity (leading to interaction with a whole bunch of often disgruntled people throughout a company). They're in a very high-stress position, where there's often pressure to do more with less and often a need for 24/7 support. IT pros are on a constant learning curve, something most enjoy, but which nevertheless requires time and energy to stay current.
In short, there are many high spots, but I'd think IT pros do know a lot of corporate secrets, from security to personnel.
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