Don’t lock down the data center. What could possibly go wrong? • The registry

On call Welcome, dear reader, to On Call, The registry‘s regular column, where we share your stories of being asked to fix the ridiculous.

This week, meet a reader we’ll reimagine as “Liam,” who once worked as the sole desktop support rep at a major white goods company.

One of Liam’s users was a temporary accountant who often asked for help, which almost always resulted from not logging in properly and therefore not having access to resources.

On that occasion, the bean counter complained that he couldn’t print and denied he hadn’t logged in properly.

Liam printed a test page that worked, but the user insisted that his problem wasn’t solved and said he would solve it by restarting the system. This was new – the accountant wasn’t really in self-help.

So Liam checked which restarted the account. Maybe his PC?

“No,” came the reply. “I’m going to hit that big reset button.”

Unaware that this user had access to large reset buttons, Liam asked for a description.

In response, the accountant gave a good verbal sketch of the kill switch on the huge UPS that kept the appliance maker’s entire office, warehouse, and communications equipment running.

Liam was quick to explain that pressing that button would result in days of downtime and huge costs, so he told the accountant not to press it.

Luckily he didn’t.

Then Liam noticed that the very large button was in an equipment room away from the accountant’s desk. So how did he get close?

“Apparently he had observed the tradesmen doing renovations and found that they often left the door unlocked so they could come and go without wasting time on security or business continuity practices,” Liam explained.

Liam told On Call he warned management that bad things would happen if the door was left open, but they ignored him

He later happily explained that their decision almost caused their quarterly bonuses to evaporate.

Even more satisfying was to learn that the accountant, as usual, had not logged into the network. That’s why he couldn’t print.

Were your bosses deadly optimistic about IT? Have your users used this to cause a mess? Or any mess? Share your stories by clicking here to submit your story to On Call.

The on-call service will continue over the holidays. But we need more contributions to keep the column successful. So if you’d like to give us a Chrissy gift, click here to send your story to On Call. ® Don’t lock down the data center. What could possibly go wrong? • The registry

Rick Schindler

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