But we were prepped. We were almost grinning, because we were about to be heroes. We told the IT guy that we have virtual images of his servers, that we had their configs registered with a local outfit that will rent us replacement infrastructure until he gets the new stuff on order, so all we need are the backup tapes and we can have him up and running in about a day, maybe less.
Boy, that would have been nice. But we also learned that Mr. IT had gotten tired of going to the second floor to replace backup tapes. After all, that disk array was doing just fine as a backup. So the last tape they had was from four months before the four-post header.
Fallout: Not only did Mr. IT get fired, but the IT team lost the contract -- unfair.
Moral: Do your daily backups, and don't treat your IT infrastructure like a fridge.
Stupid user trick No. 5: Letting mom monkey around with the admin console
Incident: One IT consultant tells tale of yet another hard-learned lesson in proper password management brought to you by that time-honored IT pro, mom.
A small-business client had us install a Small Business Server box for her. She had about 12 people working for her, including her mom, who was doubling as the office manager and her daughter's personal assistant.
We did as we were asked. Everything was set up, tested, and found to be working. We established an admin account on the server and left it with the owner with strict instructions that it's for emergencies when she's on the phone with us only. She, of course, gave the admin account info to her mom to keep someplace safe without passing on the last part of the instructions.
Her mother went exploring and found this thing called Active Directory. Next thing we know, we're getting an angry call from the daughter because our email server was sending strange emails to all her clients and friends. The story: Her mom had figured out how to get into Computers and Users and had been adding everyone in her daughter's address book into AD, along with generating them an internal email address in addition to the one listed in her daughter's rolodex. The system sent everyone a welcome email with an introduction to the "new" network they'd just joined.
Fallout: Apology emails around, consultant fees to delete all those users and set AD right, and palpable tension between daughter and mom.
Moral: Server passwords aren't status symbols. If a person doesn't need one, don't share it.
Stupid user trick No. 6: Paying before planning
Incident: Hubris is no stranger to the world of IT. But when a trumped-up higher-up puts the purchase before the plan, the fallout can mean only one thing -- a derailed career, as one developer recounts.
I worked for an Internet startup back in the late '90s, complete with big-time VC funding and a small DNA kernel of three business whizzes and one techno geek who gleefully grabbed the CTO title.
The startup's goal was to create a Java-based vertical accounting system followed by inventory and sales systems that would eventually comprise a "suite" of offerings. The three kernel guys land a huge bundle of first-round financing and sit down with two "experts" from the vertical to discuss what the initial application should look like and how it should run.
They're in germination meetings for about a week, coming out with huge schematics and wireframes for the first rev. The CTO decided a messaging bus platform is absolutely required and proceeded to do a deal with the leader in that space at the time (name withheld), for -- wait for it -- $5 million.