Security swallows the CEO

CEO obsesses over presumed hackers, 'memory leaks,' and server room access -- at the expense of the IT team's productivity

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We considered the circumstances: The door to the server room was unmarked and looked the same as any office door in the facility, and building policy didn't allow us to change the lock or install a different entry system to the room. To make matters worse, this building changed cleaning crews more often than I change socks, and the successive cleaners exchanged no warnings about the alarm. We asked the building maintenance manager to tell cleaners to stay out, but to no avail.

Sign of the times

One recommendation we gave Jim was to put a sign on the door alerting people that an alarm will sound if the door is opened and to keep clear. Jim was resistant for reasons he didn't immediately disclose, but after more late-night calls, he agreed that a sign on the door was the answer. He had one made by a custom sign company, and the day it came in, Jim excitedly showed it off. The sign was small and simple, black text on white background, and said, "Authorized Personnel Only."

We voiced our most immediate concern: Cleaning crews are authorized personnel. They have keys to every room in the building. Jim assured us it would do the trick.

He was wrong. The alarm went off as often as it had before, so we mentioned getting a larger and more noticeable sign, again recommending the "Keep Out: If Door is Opened Alarm Will Sound!" variety.

Jim rejected this idea and finally he told us the reason he was so hesitant: "I don't want people thinking there's something important in that room and break in." Head meet desk, as they say.

So we're back to Square One and can't seem to come up with a solution that satisfies him, despite all our points about the ultimate inefficiency of his stubbornness. Sure, the servers are still secure within the locked cage inside the alarmed room, but the building managers won't budge on their policies and the cleaning crew keeps opening the door.

In the end, we spend far too much time soothing Jim's nitpicky and sometimes unfounded concerns rather than tending to the company's overall security. But on the bright side -- if you can call it that -- we get somewhat regular tests to our security company's reaction time, and I never have to be the one to pick up that call or pay the bill.

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