My boss approved the plan. We expected some pushback from the programmers about the new security measures and braced ourselves accordingly. They didn't disappoint.
After reading the plan, some programmers came by with choice words or questions. The worst was one very irate programmer who stormed into my office and called me a "Nazi" for taking away permissions to "his" files! I patiently explained that the audit folks were finally catching on to our alarming lack of compliance with sound security practices, so we had to make these changes. He wasn't happy, but left without further argument.
Otherwise, the plan was implemented with no issues.
Security means security means security
Then the unexpected happened. The on-site security manager had apparently come to the realization that a new security team had been hired. He took exception to the fact that we were working on "security," but did not report to him. However, his security crew had nothing to do with computers beyond physical security -- meaning guards and access badges. Somehow he felt that we worked with security, therefore we did the same thing. In response, he launched a turf war.
That security manager scheduled a meeting with both my manager and me to discuss the "charter" of our team. He demanded to know what we did -- in detail. My boss started explaining our job, the security manager interrupting occasionally and quivering with anger. When my boss stated that our duties included security, namely user ID management and setting access rights on the computers, the security manager flew into a rage.
He stood up, pounded his fist on the desk, and bellowed, "No! I am in charge of all security at the bank!!!"
I was stunned into silence. My boss was a very sharp fellow and remained completely unruffled. He kept his cool and calmly replied, "It's obvious to me that we are not going to agree on this issue. I will report this meeting to my manager, and I suggest you do the same. If there is a conflict between the charters of our departments, then our managers need to work it out."
My boss told his manager. I did not find out how she dealt with the issue, but our charter did not change, and we never heard anything more about it from the other security manager -- although he was prickly whenever we happened to meet.
This situation could have easily morphed into an unproductive shouting match but didn't, thanks to my boss. Watching it unfold, I vowed to always keep calm in business meetings. It will pay off in the long run -- and it has.
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This story, "It's on -- cool heads meet fiery tempers in an IT turf war," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.