Tuesday, August 12, 2003

MSBlaster worm, etc.
There's nothing quite like a company wide virus to get you going in the morning. I spent all morning assisting the help desk in installing patches for the Blaster Worm. A few thoughts on viruses:
  1. Security is an issue for all platforms, not just Windows. There was a patch available for this particular worm but many people did not apply it. The company I work for did a bad job at keeping the PC's up-to-date.

  2. Microsoft is an easy target for virus writers and malicious hackers. There are too many holes in the Windows platform. Microsoft wants to be the server platform for every company on this planet. They also want to be the platform for things like ATMs. You know, those little boxes we get money from and use to handle other financial transactions through? Yeah those ATMs. That is a scary thought.

  3. Do the TCO reports on Windows, Linux, etc. include the time lost and wasted on fixing problems caused by viruses? If they do not, they should. Yes, there was a fix to prevent this worm from wrecking havoc. But, how much time is involved in making sure your entire network is up-to-date and that those fixes don't break other software?

  4. I have to wonder how “safe” going with Microsoft seems once a worm wrecks havoc like it's doing right now all around the world. Does the CTO, CIO, CFO and CEO feel confident in their safe decision? What about the competitors who aren't using Microsoft servers for critical operations? While your company spends its time fighting security and virus problems, your competition is producing and selling their goods AND services; maybe even to your customers.

  5. If your company is outsourcing much of its IT operations offshore these days, who is addressing crises like the one that hit many companies today? I've found it hard for people on a different continent to lend a hand in going around to each computer and installing patches. I'm learning more and more that the service jobs that may end up mattering most in the US are those that require a physical presence and a certain level of skill. Have you had your car fixed lately? How about repairs or updates to your house? Gotten sick or hurt? Yep, those jobs are (so far) safe from outsourcing. And, oddly enough, the number of people willing to do those jobs and who have the skills are becoming less and less. It's not all that sophisticated to tell a kid to want to become a mechanic, but then we often wonder why we feel so helpless when it comes time to get something we own fixed. Hmmm...

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The Colonel