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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Updated BOFH 2000: Episode 32

"Outsourcing!" The Boss and Head of IT chuckle delightedly to each other as they roll, in tandem, into Mission Control. "It's brilliant!"

Sigh.

"No it's not!" I cry, looking up from the Games Patch page I'm currently engrossed in, "We get some outsourcing company in here, let them charge us through the nose for a per-call support contract, seeing them one day a week - if that - and in the end we'll have to take on more staff to fix the problems they cause because they don't know the infrastructure! It's giving someone a licence to print money!"

"That's just the point! It's a Goldmine! We can make a fortune!!!"

"*MAKE* a fortune?!"

"Yes, there's bound to be a ton of companies out there who need the skills that you and your assistant have!"

"Sorry, you're suggesting that you outsource US?"

"Yes! We'll just contract out your spare time. You know, the time you waste browsing the Internet."

"Keeping abreast of the industry you mean?"

"Or two breasts, if your assistant's browsing is anything to go by" the Head of IT remarks, unable to drag his eyes from the pink hues emanating from The PFY's screen.

"I'm actually reviewing the content of the web-cache to determine it's feasibility for company business!" the PFY responds - aggression set to STUN - appearing from behind a bookshelf.

"Web-cache?"

"Yes, I'm determining WHY the Cache always appears to be full of images instead of any information related to work. When I've a complete list of the users downloading the images we'll be able to save a mass of network bandwidth AND MORE IMPORTANTLY make an estimate of the amount of time they spend browsing porn in a day instead of working for the company."

"I hardly think that's a valid use of your time," The Boss responds nervously.

"Yes, I can't see that there's any call for this sort of make-work activity!" The Head of IT concurs, equally nervously. "In fact I think you should cease this sort of activity - we're paying you for your technical expertise, not to embark on some form of witchhunt!"
. . .

Any doubt in our minds about the source of the material in question disappears in a flash...

"And that's exactly the point!" The Boss cries, clambering up to the moral high ground."You have free time which we could be recovering revenue from!"

Within a day an outsourcing deal is struck with some old-school chum of the Head of IT with shabby technical support. The PFY and I are completely against the idea until we find out that the company is in fact a modelling agency with a free lunch bar. Fashionably clad models in need of IT support need the professional services that only The PFY and I can provide...

[Later that same day]

"Well here we are!" Brian, our new subcontracted boss cries proudly,indicating a mass of machines and cables laid all over the place in a rather warm office.

"A pig's breakfast in other words," I say, gazing at the mess unfolding before me.

"NO!" a furry-toothed geeky type cries from behind us. "Every system is in top working condition - I know, I installed them all."

"If by 'installed' you mean stacked them on any free horizontal surface - yes, you have done well. But no airconditioning, no UPS - the whole place could go tits up at any moment!" the PFY cries.

"I hardly think that's a likely occ..." the geeky type starts.

"There's not even a lock on the door!", I cry "Why, any disgruntled former model with a face like a camel's backside and bitter about it could just wander in here and turn the kit off! I'm actually surprised that no-one' stripped over a power cable and brought the lot down before now!"

. . .

A quick "woopsy" from the PFY later (always quick to take a hint) and Brian has accidentally stepped backwards onto the reset switch of a plugbox which he probably could have sworn wasn't there a few seconds before...

Such is the ability of a computing professional to foretell the future..

Proof positive of our technical ability, Brian immediately converts to the side of good.

"My goodness! It's a timebomb! All our model and contract info is on those machines! It's worth a fortune!"

"We'll need a computer room," I warn Brian.

"Of course!"

"Some place that's well-airconditioned and has a healthy amount of electrical wiring, as opposed to a jury-rigged office," The PFY suggests, "Preferrably somewhere that we can put a couple of vertical racks in.."

"I don't think we have anywhere like that here - we've only got three floors of the building," Brian responds.

"Somewhere with a LOT of LIGHT too?" the PFY prompts, "so we're easily able to keep an eye on the servers?"

"No, can't think of anythi.."

"Perhaps with a lot of SPACE surrounding it, in case of airconditioning problems..."

"THE BASEMENT!" Brian cries, "A STOREROOM!!!"

"Danger of flooding," I offer. "Also, we'd need somewhere with RESTRICTED ACCESS.."

"THE PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO!" Brian cries, finally taking the hints!

"Of course!" the PFY cries, sucking up so energetically he'll be needing a dustbag shortly "Why didn't I think of that!?!"

. . .

And the worst thing about outsourcing is it's all WORK, WORK, WORK!

No sooner have we set ourselves up in business (took a while for the geek to carry all the kit up the stairwell [because someone convinced Brian of the electrostatic dangers of lifts]) than we're called out to look at access problems, and wouldn't you bloody know it, there's a swimsuit shoot on and the problem is so intermittent that it looks like we're going to have to hang around the place till the problem recurs.

Ah well, that's the price you pay, I guess. ®

BOFH: Kit and Caboodle

BOFH is The Bastard Operator From Hell. He is the creation of Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his copyright.

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