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Is Spiceworks safe for companies to use?

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Spiceworks offers the small to medium IT department a network inventory, network monitoring and helpdesk application free of charge.

This is a popular software tool and Spiceworks reports that currently over 400,000 IT professionals use their system.

At one of my clients, I have used the system, primarily for the help desk features. It does a good job allowing users to enter help desk tickets and the help desk professionals to respond. It allows us to track the tickets in a number of different ways that is helpful to management.

It provides for inventory of assets and network monitoring as well.

What is not to like? A FREE software package that does what it says it will do.

Therein lies my concern. I truly believe that there is no such thing as a “Free Lunch.”

In response to the question, “Why Is Spiceworks Free? What's The Catch?”

Spiceworks responds on their webpage:
“There is no catch. Technology advertisers want to inform IT pros like you about products and services that help you with your job. We work with advertisers to run relevant ads in the side bar that you will find useful. Our users have told us that they find these ads educational and unobtrusive. The money we receive from these ads allows us to provide the application at no charge to IT pros around the world.”

The keyword I find here is relevant ads. They are right the ads are relevant, it shows that they have scanned our network and inventory and can identify what we could use. Right there, I have some security concerns about the product.

So the next step I took was to review Spicework’s privacy policy. In the policy they state: “that they use and disclose your personal information only as follows:

  • to analyze site usage and improve the service;
  • to deliver to you any administrative notices, network alerts, system notifications, and communications relevant to your use of the Spiceworks service;
  • to fulfill your requests for certain products, information and services;
  • for market research, project planning, troubleshooting Service problems, detecting and protecting against error, fraud or other criminal activity;
  • to third-party contractors that provide services to Spiceworks and are bound by these same privacy restrictions”

They also point out that “other websites that may be accessed through our service may collect personally identifiable information about you.”

However, Spiceworks has been awarded TRUSTe's Privacy Seal. You may wish to read exactly what having the TRUSTe’s Privacy Seal means.

So you need to determine for your organization whether having a good, free product like Spiceworks is worth it.

At the current time, I’m not recommending it to my clients. Stay tuned for the help desk system I do recommend.

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I love to hear from my readers. My e-mail address is Don.Farris@Farrismgmt.com

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