Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Boss Honeypot

A friend of mine was explaining a situation she is having with her manager. My friend works in IT operations for a company and her boss is causing her lots of problems.

My friend is responsible for keeping her company's computer services up. There are a ton of them, and a lot of them are only needed at certain times. There's a pretty complex system of dependencies between services. The wisdom behind designing such a spider's web of dependencies is, well, idiotic, but that isn't my friend's fault.

My friend's manager is completely unaware of what services are necessary for the company to do business. What he does like to do is view all the services through an administrative control panel. He also likes to turn certain services off and on from time to time because, well I don't know he just does. He's been asked not to, but the siren song of the switches must be too great for him.

The result of this is his employees get paged at 3AM when a batch job fails or they get a pile of email failures in their inbox first thing in the morning. Either way, the ops people are traversing that spider web to find out what's failing.

The ops people have taken some preemptive action. There are cron jobs that notify them when their manager uses administrative rights on the system. That's cut down on many of their manager caused outages.

I'd suggest that they take it one step further and create a honeypot for him. Create an administrative user interface that looks identical to the real one. It reports information like the real one, but the switches for the manager are fake. He can flip them all he wants and it won't take the systems down. That little trick would do wonders for their uptime percentage numbers.

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