Shark Tank: High Security

BOSTON (05/23/2000) - Webmaster pilot fist at a hot dot-com has full access to the servers - he can shut the company down with a keystroke. "What I can't do is use the bathroom after hours," he grumbles. Since he's a contractor, after 7:30 p.m., his ID card won't unlock the doors between him and the men's room. The boss won't make an exception - policy is policy. Workaround: The fish wedges one of those annoying magazine insert cards in each lock so it won't click shut. He also has to do that if he needs food - except then it's the front door that's open to the world.

Hospital gets Web access, and the CIO assigns a tech to audit the sites that users visit. "Unfortunately, he took it too seriously," says our pilot fish, and the tech describes to the CIO doctors' visits to nonmedical (but anatomically vivid) sites. "Reaction was swift and decisive," the fish says.

"IS was ordered to install a PC with a direct, unmonitored connection so the physicians could surf the Web without IS's watchful eyes."

Never-never land Florida HMO moves its disaster-recovery backup site from a secure building in Philadelphia to Orlando so the CIO can visit the site more often, a Tankster reports. "This way, if a hurricane takes out the main site in Tampa, there's a good chance that the one in Orlando will be blown away as well."

This support manager blanches when she learns how much control the system administration passwords grant. Sysadmin pilot fish offers to tell her the passwords. No, she says, but do "put the passwords in a document on a file server so everyone in the support group can access them in case of an emergency." And, the fish says, he can't even make the file password-protected.

A nontechie boss is promising users that this pilot fish will develop a sophisticated financial application using SAP AG. Problem is, "the company owns SAS software, not SAP," the fish says. "When I pointed this out, he replied, ‘SAP, SAS, P ... S, it's all B.S. All this software does pretty much the same thing. Just push the buttons and make it work.'"Late last week, Symantec Corp. sent out its "Symantec Smallbiz" newsletter with a subject line reading "29 WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU!" Think any of them made it through the anti-Love Bug virus filters? Never mind the subject line; just send Sharky your story: sharky@computerworld.com. If it prints, you get a Shark shirt. And see fresh Shark bait every day at computerworld.com/sharky.

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