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Five Scary Scenarios For Sysadmins

Five Scary Scenarios for Sysadmins

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Halloween weekend has arrived and with it comes trick-or-treating, pumpkin flavored drinks and scary movies. To get in the spirit of the season, we’ve decided to provide five sysadmin horror stories containing a variety of stressful scenarios that many IT pros have experienced at some point in time. Hopefully these anecdotes will serve as important reminders of things to be wary of when overseeing your IT environment. Give each one a read as you try to avoid the commotion of costume lines and candy overload!

If you have your own personal sysadmin horror story, feel free to share it with us and as a fun way of passing the time, don’t forget to play our ‘Fright Night’ game by visiting our Halloween page

1. The Ghost of Former Employees

Companies using an endless list of internal tools are susceptible to falling victim of this issue. When employees come and go on a frequent basis, it is hard to keep track of who has privileges to what systems, but this is something that can’t be ignored. When former, potentially disgruntled employees still have admin access to private organizational information, you leave yourself open to all kinds of security threats. The ghost of a former employee being seen as ‘logged in’ five minutes ago is worthy of sounding the alarm! 

On the flip side, it is equally as frustrating when HR doesn’t make IT aware of new employees! There is nothing like abruptly being met by an innocent intern who needs a new laptop set-up with all their programs installed right away on a Monday morning. 

2. Trapped in The Office On a Friday Night 

We’ve touched on this issue before in a previous blog post, but the potential of having to stay at the office on a Friday night due to the bad timing/procrastination of customers or fellow employees (which is even worse!) is quite horrifying. No matter how many reminders are sent out to not ask for help at the end of a Friday afternoon, it seems impossible to fully escape a 5 p.m. troubleshooting session. When you have a great list of weekend plans to get to, having to clock in extra hours fixing a high-priority issue that could have been resolved on Thursday can be worse than the creepiest haunted house imaginable. 

3. Mysterious Bandwidth Usage 

Not knowing the reason behind slow throughput is frightening, especially when vital company systems are adversely affected. If you see that connectivity capabilities are being fully utilized yet the office is a ghost town, an individual user is likely the culprit of the mysterious bandwidth usage. Many sysadmins have run into cases where a user has installed their own applications and then proceeded to share their own network drives, a security nightmare when customer data may be at risk! Moral of the story? Be forthright about your internal IT policies and don’t hesitate to track down a rogue user who is disregarding the rules! 

4. You Don’t Have a Backup?!  

New sysadmins are usually eager to help out the team in any way possible. However, these good intentions can backfire in certain cases. For example, jumping the gun too quickly on deleting duplicate data in order to speed up the network can be costly when in actuality, it results in people not being able to use the server! The best way of avoiding this problem is utilizing backup systems whenever possible. Sometimes it may seem like overkill, but being extra cautious pays off when silly mistakes occur, and they happen more often than we’d like to admit! 

5. Lost Passwords and Encryptions 

Having strong passwords and encryptions in place is a smart security measure, but what good are they if you don’t have a well-kept, continuously updated repository that stores all of your log-in info? As embarrassing as it may be, lost/forgotten passwords still happen and are a serious concern when you can’t access the only copy of a large and important file. Recovering this information can be a painful process, so be sure to have your most vital information organized and avoid getting chastised by your team members for such a preventable error.