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Sacking an I.T guy

By gflyhalf ·
What is the best way to lay off an I.T guy? I've heard of a guy who was given a notice and within the same day,he had corrupted the database,deleted crucial files and took off within 30mins. Cases are also told of guys who install viruses that are triggered off when they dont log in within a specific period of time....

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Malicious damage is the least of the problems

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to walk him/her out the door

you can get.

How much knowledge is in the guy's head and how much on paper ?

Even if you have documentation policy, in many places they aren't reviewed due to lack of resource.

The killer is when companies go for the cost saving of a 'one man shop', you can waffle about policies until you are blue in the face, they must be resourced. If you have someone who is a key man dependency, it might have been created by the incumbent, but management allowed it to happen, allowed it to continue and then blamed the incumbent for it.

I've had professional and 'amicable' splits up to press, the amount of damage I could have done just by allowing myself to be escorted off the premises without raising the difficulty again would have been huge.

I'm sure they'd have managed, but it would have cost them.

Mind you, maybe they would have learnt something, my replacement is an undocumented one man shop as well.

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Tacky manager

by Ed Woychowsky In reply to Malicious damage is the l ...

I was once laid-off as a cost cutting measure after completing the code, but not the documentation, on a web project. Since I was the only developer, the manager thought that she could save a few bucks by letting me go, after all it was working in production.

Unfortunately, for her, some change requests were made and the remaining people had no idea how the code worked. In her desperation she even went so far as to set up conference call first asking and then demanding that I explain how the code worked. I laughed and hung up after she refused my offer of $100.00 per answer to yes/no questions. Costs were cut further when she was laid off about a week later.

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There wasn't a specification

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Tacky manager

detailed design and configuration control document in place when you started ?

I've answered questions after I've left a place, but only for fellow developers, management want my time they get to pay for it. If they'd have resourced the thing properly, it wouldn't have been an issue.

I like documentation, the process of doing it can teach you all sorts of things even if you wrote what you are documenting.

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Paper forms

by Ed Woychowsky In reply to There wasn't a specificat ...

All that I was told was that the web forms had to look like the paper forms. Everything else was up to me, database design and the rest. I should have known when I had to provide my own development hardware and software.

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It all depends on the situation

by JosB In reply to Sacking an I.T guy

If the lay off is unexpeced for the employee, i'd say revoke his network rights before you actually tell him.
Also, after the actual talk, bring him to the door and close it behind him. Be sure to get his access card or keys.

If you suspect that the employee created some backdoors or virus like stuff, you could let someone do a full systems scan, but this can be expensive to do.

When you really worry about this kind of stuff, your IT guy probably has too much access to the system and is not monitored.
We have a system that logs all things administrators do on our main systems.
And administrators have somewhat limited access to the system.
One of my former employers had their NDS split and administrators had only access to specific parts. The main administrator account had a split password, so noone could access the root container alone (except when he could get the password document from a vault, wich also requires 2 persons).

Preventing events is always easier than guessing something could perhaps happen.

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Meet him (?) at the door

by mollenhourb In reply to Sacking an I.T guy

Many companies meet the employee at the front door with a manager or security (depending on the nature of the company and their work) and escort them to their desk to clean it out. It's cruel. It doesn't foster warm fuzzy feelings. You'll hate yourself for a week or so; but if you are truly worried about the person causing mayhem it is what you have to do.

There is no "good" way to lay somebody off. I've had to fire people (it sucks), and I've been laid off (that sucks too). Life isn't always fun though.

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This proves the value of so many other threads

by RknRlKid In reply to Sacking an I.T guy

I heard a story during the dot-com bust that had an absolute ring of truth to it, and seems to be corraborated by other sources (see Geourge Ou's blog about Linux desktop, and the reply about Ernie Ball).

The story is this: after the dot-com bubble burst, and the massive layoffs that followed, LOTS of calls went to BSA about software violations. The callers were ex-employees out for revenge.

The solution to this and other ex-employee problems?

1. Like stated in so many other threads, ONE PERSON CANNOT HAVE THE POWER OF YOUR NETWORK. Two- or three-person control should be the rule. Only one person having a particular control is foolishness.

2. DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! Everything about your network must be documented. This dovetails with #1 above. Nothing should be in memory alone. Everything must be able to be duplicated by someone else.

3. The person being fired should have all access removed BEFORE the firing is announced. This prevents anyone from even having a chance to access anything to sabotage. I got a good laugh out of a scene in the movie "Minority Report" that wasn't supposed to be funny. Tom Cruise gets access to the police department and other sensitive areas AFTER he was fired and sent to jail. My off the cuff comment was "They must be using Microsoft products!" But actually, it is an example of terrible network administration.

If access cannot be removed before firing, then it should be happening simultaneously. Meeting the employee at the door and escorting to their desk to get their stuff actually is a good idea. I have heard of worse...employees found a box at the door with their name on it. They were never allowed in the building.

4. Make sure your ducks are always in order. The situation I stated about BSA complaints would not have happened if companies didn't stretch ethics in the first place. I know that lots of organizations "take their chances" in order to increase profits. Ultimately, it can come back and bite.

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Well we keep saying the same things

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to This proves the value of ...

thread after thread on this topic, obviously no bugger is listening.

I went to see some ex colleagues six years after I left.

Security code on the door the same, local admin passwords on the servers the same. They were going to get round to it!

They weren't in danger from me, but it's a massive failure from a management and administration point of view.

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Mutual respect when laying off, terminating

by mhalseystny In reply to This proves the value of ...

I recently worked a contract where managemnt notified us that our contracts were ending as soon as possible.

To my knowledge, no one sabotaged anything. We were able to be ready to turn over our equipment and be escorted out, and we completed or turned over our work with enthusiasm.

The respect that management gave us was returned.

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Right on the mark, plus...

by arjee63 In reply to This proves the value of ...

Don't forget a) wireless devices - retrieve before the termination process begins!


b) back doors. If this is a hostile enough dismissal to warrant it, then someone with a brain needs to review the user profiles for every database, server, and client-server software for hidden logins.

This can be reviewed even if access can't be removed prior to the person's arrival.

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