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“‘The tyranny of the default’ [is] the expression I like to use for: we know most users don’t go in and change things.  They just assume that someone smarter than them chose the settings that are best for them, and so they say ‘YES’ a lot when they’re asked questions. What that means is that if it’s enabled by default, it’ll tend to stay on.

Security Now podcast #364, August 8, 2012

Quick: open a program on your computer – or just use the browser you’re reading this in – and pull up the “Options” tab.  (Or “Preferences” or “Settings.”)

Look familiar?  If you’re like most people, you’ve seen this window before but didn’t understand all of the choices, or didn’t get the point in exploring them.  After all, the program seems to works fine.  Why risk messing it up?  “Advanced Options” can be downright scary – better to click “Cancel” before hitting the wrong button and doing irreparable damage.

(If you’re still searching for the dropdown menu “Options” is hidden under these days…time’s up.)

This is “the tyranny of the default” at work.  Your office’s programs may seem to function just fine, but in the world of computing and small- or medium-sized business, one size does not fit all.  Are your settings the most appropriate for your business?  Would different options increase productivity and efficiency?

The browser you’re reading this in may be illustrative.  For many years Internet Explorer (IE) was the world’s most popular web browser, until it was dethroned last May by Google Chrome.  IE’s popularity was due in large part to the fact that it was bundled with every PC – in other words, it was the default.

But was it the best?  Here, for comparison, is a review of five major web browsers.

Which browser would work best for your business?  What other default programs should you maybe reconsider?  What options and preferences and settings might be impeding your business productivity, or compromising your security?  What do all those “Advanced Options” mean, anyway?

At CMIT Solutions, we can help you work through these questions, and replace the “tyranny” with a plan that is custom fitted to your needs.  Let us be smart for you.


We can help. Whatever your technology problem is, chances are, we've seen it before.