“Oh yes, our employee benefits information should definitely be secured”, the country HR manager said. “We do not want everybody to see that information”.

It took me some time to convince him that this was really not a good idea. I had to come up with various arguments:

  • Why would employee benefits be confidential content at all? Of course, people from other countries could see it and perhaps be jealous. But everyone knows there can be local differences in benefits, due to local laws and customs.
  • The information was published in a not very visible place and only employees in that country would have a link to it on their Homepage. Everyone else could find it in Search, or navigate to it if they knew where it was, but that would take a conscious effort which not everyone has the patience for.
  • The information was meant for about 700 people, how confidential is that?
  • Maintaining security for 700 people would mean a lot of work. (Generally a good argument against securing content, by the way :-) )

In the end I won him over by telling him that he already had a perfect natural security system: he was the HR manager from Sweden and the majority of his content was in Swedish…;-)

This is just one example of people thinking their content needs to be secured. I have worked with many who were under the delusion that without restricting access, their site would bend under the weight of visitors and servers would crash by the flood of people eager to get a glimpse of that fabulous intranet content or application.

Wake up to the harsh truth, content owners! We still have to drive people TO your content, rather than chase them away FROM it. More organizations are struggling with a too low usage (“I can not find it”, “I did not know it was there”) than with too high usage. What is “too high” anyway? And what actually happens when “too many people” see your content? Perhaps the site becomes slow or you get an error message when too many people try to access at the same time, but it is not that your site will break.

We are not satisfied with most intranet search tools because they can not find what we are looking for. Why do we then think that everyone will be able to immediately find our content, and will jump on it when they have found it? I still have to hear of one example of “too popular” content. (And please let me know when you have an example)

Because this is how things go with content:

  • If people do not know it’s there, they will not visit
  • If they know it is there but they cannot find it, they will not visit
  • If they know it is there, they can find it but are not interested, they will not visit

Of course I know that some information needs to be secured, but everything that is not business-critical should be open as far as I am concerned. It will be difficult enough to attract the right visitors to your content, so it is better to spend your time improving your content, usability and findability than on maintaining security groups.

Because frankly my dear, most employees don’t give a damn about your content…

Title and footer inspired by the movies ”Gone with the Wind” and ”He’s just not that into you