Power to the people.
That's of course a slogan of a bygone age. But its essence is nowhere better illustrated than in a couple of trends in the cyber world: The SOPA/PIPA protest and the consumerization of IT.
Stepping back a bit, it is possible to see that decision making has shifted from top down to bottom up. The earliest example, perhaps, is enterprise use of Wi-Fi. That wasn't something that IT departments or high-level executives demanded. It didn't come out of vendor presentations and deep corporate planning. In fact, it was quite the opposite: People started buying consumer-grade access points at Best Buy and (then) Circuit City and setting up their own little work groups and networks simply because it seemed like a good idea. Organizations had no choice but to embrace the idea, since such unknown access points were massive security liabilities.
The consumerization of IT, also known as bring your own device (BYOD), lets folks happily use their Android and Apple gadgets for business. This was not planned by the mucky-mucks. Indeed, most IT departments were quite unhappy when the trend took root. Supporting a series of consumer-grade operating systems doesn't jostle for position on IT folks' wish list with visiting Paris and going to the Super Bowl. But they have to play along. The fact that the smart companies saw the advantages doesn't change the fact that it wasn't a welcome change.
The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act - or at least many of their most onerous elements - look like they are dead. Support in Congress is dwindling. Those developments can be traced directly to the influences of the masses. Today, SOPA/PIPA was the talk of the Internet. Some sites went dark or otherwise tweaked their presentations to reflect opposition to the bills. The lions and the lambs of political blogging (Red State and Daily Kos, take your pick on which animal is assigned to which site) laid down together, or at least agreed in their disapproval. Again, it was the people who rose up and spoke truth (at least as they saw it) to power.
The anti-SOPA/PIPA drive and BYOD trend are important in their own right. What is important to also note is that the Internet, broadband and the near-commodization of powerful mobile operating systems has empowered the public to take control. Indeed, it is inevitable.
This paradigm shift - excuse the hackneyed phrase - forever changes how IT works, how security and other management elements are deployed and enforced, how employees expense their work-related mobility, how organizations retain telecommunications services and a host of other issues. The trend of the tail of the employees wagging the dog of the organization will get more pronounced as Millenials rise in their organizations and eventually become decision makers.
All I can say is right on. The whole thing is pretty groovy.