In This Instance, Your Father Is Not The Law

, , , , , | Working | May 29, 2019

I work as a sysadmin in a lawyer’s firm. There’s a department for civil law and a department for handling business law. I don’t know a thing about law; all I need to do is make sure no one has access to documents they don’t need.

I have set up a scheme of permissions to various folders and the owner has tested and approved it. Anyone working in the Business Law department has no access to files in the Civil Law folder and vice versa.

The son of the department manager of civil laws is having an internship for his IT training and his father thinks I can help him. I don’t think that this is a good idea given the confidentiality of the data on the servers, but I am overruled because the owner is okay with it – or at least that’s what I am told.

So, stuck with an intern, I try to put him to work installing PCs and laptops, but the boy isn’t really interested in working. He sits and plays with his phone until it’s time to go home. After two days, I’ve had enough of it. The next morning, I call him into my office and tell him that if he doesn’t intend to do anything there’s no reason for him to stay here.

So, he leaves. Half an hour later, his father calls me to his office. There I find the son sitting at his dad’s computer browsing through confidential folders and files like it’s his daily job. The dad starts complaining about how I’m not taking care of my intern. I explain that it isn’t my intern but his son and that his son simply refused to do anything I ordered him.

According to the father, I shouldn’t have ordered the boy to some work; I should have asked him. I see the boy smirking in the background, still browsing on the server and reading confidential and sensitive information about our clients. It is my job to prevent unauthorized persons from viewing this information, so I must take action.

I walk over to the computer, shut it off, and take the wireless mouse and keyboard with me.

Next, I’m off to the owner’s office, informing him that an unauthorized person has been reading confidential documents on our server.

The dad comes in and starts berating me, but he’s silenced by the owner. I’m told to go back to my office and find out what files the boy has been tampering with. I find out that he deleted files and folders and has been changing several documents. He did this mostly by typing some vulgarity in the documents, and in some documents he has changed dates and replaced names with lots of four-letter words. I print the changed documents, recover the deleted documents, and decide to restore yesterday’s backup. But this means that everybody most close the documents they are working on and that, in some cases, everything they did today will be lost. Also, they can’t work during the time I’m restoring files.

The owner calls me, asking for a “damage report.” I bring him the printouts of the changed documents and tell him what I have to do. The owner agrees and tells me to go ahead.

Sometime later, everything is as it was before. I call the owner to tell him that everyone can start working again. The owner tells me that the intern won’t be coming anymore and that I have to disable the computer account and the mail account of the civil law department manager.

The next day, I find out the owner made a deal with the department manager that if he’d resign no one would ever know the real reason why he left the firm. The owner later told me that he didn’t even know about the internship and that he never would have allowed it.

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