February 18, 2019

It Management Fail: Always Blame the Worker Bees

Four Silly Scenarios

  • January 18, 2011
  • By Carla Schroder

Security fail: When trusted IT people go bad has a great title. Then it's all downhill. I suppose it's appropriate for an audience of managers who want cheerleading for bad management more than good information.

It starts off with a tale of ultimate horror: not only is your trusted systems administrator selling you pirated software and incurring the wrath of the BSA (Business Software Alliance), he is running a giant porn server from the company network and stealing customer credit card numbers.

Then it takes the obligatory gratuitous swipe at "rogue" San Francisco admin Terry Childs.

Then we are introduced to Sally, ace IT person who plants logic bombs in all the servers after learning that the IT department is being outsourced to India.

The final horror: Rogue admin, in retaliation for the company busting his secret pirated satellite TV equipment business that he was running off the company's e-commerce site, deletes the entire corporate encryption key ring even as security personnel are charging into his office shouting "Stop!". 18 staff-years of lost productivity results, because there are no backup copies.

Four Silly Scenarios

Do I really need to spell out the problems with these scenarios? The BSA has a reputation as a extortion racket. What a great business model, sue your own customers! Only in tech. The giant porn server would have been spotted by any junior admin with an elementary knowledge of network monitoring.

Terry Childs seems doomed to be a Grimm's Tales monster for pointy-haired bosses. His reputation is shot, and even a sympathetic juror didn't seem to have a problem with Mr. Childs spending four years in prison for an employer dispute. There was no actual harm, other than embarrassment for incompetent city officials. "I think he's a decent guy. Like many IT people, protective of his work. Possibly a little paranoid. But the problem he had was that he didn't have good management to keep that in check." (Terry Childs juror explains why he voted to convict) Maybe my mommy raised me wrong, because I can never promise to uphold the law no matter how stupid and unjust I think it is. Conscience, anyone?

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