Don't lock the datacenter door, said the boss. The builders need access and what could possibly go wrong?
For one thing, an ignorant user could shut down all of IT
On Call Welcome, dear reader, to On Call, The Register's regular column in which we share your stories of being asked to fix the ridiculous.
This week meet a reader we'll Regomize as "Liam" who once worked as the sole desktop support officer at a large whitegoods company.
One of Liam's users was a temporary accountant who often called for assistance that nearly always came down to just not having logged on properly and therefore lacking access to resources.
On this occasion the bean-counter complained about not being able to print and denied he had not logged on properly.
Liam printed a test page, which worked, but the user insisted his problem was not resolved and said he would sort it out by rebooting the system. This was new – the accountant was not really into self-help.
So Liam checked what the account was rebooting. Perhaps his PC?
"No," came the reply. “I'm going to push this big reset button.”
As Liam was not aware that this user had access to any big reset buttons he asked for a description.
In reply, the accountant gave a good verbal sketch of the emergency shutdown button on the giant UPS that kept the white goods manufacturer's entire office, warehouse, and comms kit running.
- Server broke because it was invisibly designed to break
- Boss installed software from behind the Iron Curtain, techies ended up Putin things back together
- Two signs in the comms cabinet said 'Do not unplug'. Guess what happened
- Go ahead, be rude. You don't know it now, but it will cost you $350,000
Liam quickly explained that pressing this button would lead to days of downtime and enormous costs, so urged the accountant not to press it.
Which he thankfully did not.
Liam then realized that the very big button was in an equipment room, far from the accountant's desk. So how did he get anywhere near it?
"Apparently, he had been watching the tradesmen who were doing some renovation and had realized that they often left the door unlocked so they could come and go without wasting time with security or business continuity practices," Liam explained.
Liam told On Call he had warned management bad things would happen if the door was left open, but they ignored him
He later quite enjoyed explaining that their decision nearly led to their quarterly bonuses evaporating.
Even more satisfying was learning that the accountant had, as usual, not logged into the network. Which was why he could not print.
Have your bosses been lethally optimistic about IT? Have your users used that to make a mess? Or any mess? Share your stories by clicking here to send your story to On Call.
On Call will continue through the holidays. But we need more contributions to keep the column thriving. So if you fancy giving us a Chrissy present, click here to send your story to On Call. ®