Shark Tank

FRAMINGHAM (10/03/2003) - Logging Out the Hard Way

This control-freak IT manager just has to have the same rights that his mainframe programmers and operators have. Then one day, the entire transaction system vanishes suddenly for 400 users. "Even stranger, a crisis had occurred, and the boss wasn't demanding a status report," says a pilot fish on the scene. Apparently, the boss had had trouble logging out, so he used a very risky, very restricted, warned-about-in-the-docs utility. "He logged himself out, and took 400 users with him," says fish. "He let us take away his unnecessary authorities after that. No arguments."

Slowdown

Payroll user's new 2-GHz PC gets an error message when he runs a particular report, so IT pilot fish searches the knowledge base for a solution. "It says, 'Run the report on a machine with a processor speed under 1GHz, or open as many programs as possible to slow the machine down,' " groans fish. "Where are the 386s when you need one?"

Just What She Asked For

The entire network goes out, and panicked IT applications manager calls the help desk. "Her mission-critical department was being impacted by our unplanned total network outage, and she demanded a wireless laptop to connect to the downed network," says support pilot fish. "We didn't have the heart to tell her that it wouldn't work. Last I heard, a tech-support staffer was going upstairs to drop off the laptop."

Oops!

Blasted by the latest worm, this company vows dire consequences for any employee failing to patch his PC. Then IT security calls this pilot fish and accuses him of using an unpatched machine. Can't be, says fish, mine's patched. It turns out to be a conference-room PC that fish logged onto for a demo. "Who owns support of those machines? There are 100 of them in the company," fish asks get-tough security guy. "He quickly realized the horrible security exposure was now his problem, and got off the phone in a hurry."

Talking Trash

A virus destroys the data on one of this company's critical servers, so IT pilot fish calls off-site for the backup tapes. They're sitting in an open box on the data center floor, ready for the restore in the morning, when the night cleaning crew arrives. "No one ever thought a loosely stacked set of 4mm tapes could look like trash," sighs fish. "Now the cleaning people are only allowed to throw out stuff that has been tagged as garbage."

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