"So the accounting department calls me saying their machines are frozen except for an internal SMS message that says nobody's getting back on until this guy gets his sandwich back," the IT pro says. "Of course, I'm thinking accounting is making a joke, so I laugh and say, 'Nice one.' The guy on the other end gets really angry and tells me to get my s#!t together or else. Now I'm scratching my head. This can't be real, can it?"
The phone rings again and it's marketing -- same scenario: "This guy was using his admin creds to systematically shut down our whole network, segment by segment, trying to get his stolen sandwich back."
Our pro and the other consultant try to log on, and they too are locked out. "Even the guest admin creds are blocked. He's got solo control of every server, switch, router, and firewall."
Panic button! "I'm kicking this guy's door and yelling that I'm going to break it down and strangle him if he doesn't give us our network back. I must have looked like a psycho, except this nut job has his face up to his hall window and is screaming right back at me in Russian."
It certainly isn't our IT pro's finest moment, but in the end, he calms down enough to tell the rogue subcontractor that in all likelihood, "his sandwich is a digested memory."
"I ask him what he will take to give us our systems back," the IT pro says. "That's when he gets really quiet, probably having figured out that he's fired, but he's too pissed and proud to give in without saving face."
Our IT pro gets creative.
"I tell him I'm going to find the sandwich heister. He lets me on the network long enough to send another SMS telling everyone that I had a webcam installed in the lunchroom, so I can easily find out who stole the sandwich. But if the guilty party comes forward voluntarily, we can have a calm discussion before things go back to normal," the IT pro says.
"Unbeknownst to our nut job, I have his partner make a deal with one of the account execs, who cops to stealing the sandwich, and I make a big show out of firing him on the spot where I know the crazy person is watching," he says. "The account exec really played it up, too, yelling and pleading for his job. I kick him out and go back to the nut. 'Satisfied?' He's reluctant, but it's that or I call the cops. So he gives us the network back and stomps out of the building. Never heard from him again and the consulting company gave us three months of free service to make up for his crap."
And the account exec?
"He comes back the next day and we all have a chuckle."
And the sandwich thief?
"Right after this I really did install a webcam in the lunchroom, which is how I caught this new guy stealing someone else's lunch. He got axed real fast and I enjoyed myself doing it."
Moral: Don't mess with another man's meatballs.
Stupid user trick No. 6: Self-service IT gets sticky
Self-service IT may seem like a dream -- until it ends in a police raid.
"We were managing a big database and dev shop. Almost every day we got complaints that there weren't enough servers for Project Whatever. So I talked our CEO into funding this giant wad of hardware, which we used to double our server capacity," says one IT admin. "We then converted the whole infrastructure into a virtualized environment running on a big hypervisor."
Each team was given open access to its own resource pool and could allocate those resources however it liked. There was nothing for IT to do except manage the infrastructure. Sounds great, right?
"Unfortunately, my guys interpret that to mean all they have to worry about is up-down green-light health on the physical servers," the admin says. "They don't check much on the virtualized servers."
Step one for exposing yourself to a bust.