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outsiders causing trouble
2

outsiders causing trouble

outsiders causing trouble

(OP)
One of the main challenges of running and maintaining a network is all the trouble that outsiders cause. We have an office of about 15 people that is 800 miles away.

I set up a new Windows 2003 server about a year ago there in addition to their Windows 2000 server (which was bought in 2002). A few weeks ago, the Windows 2000 server crashed.

They called in a local consultant to get the server back up and running. The Windows 2000 Server doesn't do much. It just acts as one of the two domain controllers and still shares out the printers.

Well, Mister Genius Outsider decided that we should not be using Windows 2000. He wipes the server and installs Windows 2003. Of course, there is one big problem. We had paid for Windows 2000, not Windows 2003.

I went to my superiors and told them what the upgrade would cost. My manager told me to tell them to shut down the old server if it is running unlicensed software. Keep in mind that this office is 800 miles away, so it's hard for me to control what they do there.

I had an idea. I would set up a Windows 2000 Server on an old workstation here and then ship it there. I could remote desktop into it and set it up on the domain there. Then, they would have two domain controllers; and everything would be legal again.

Naturally, one person asked Mister Genius Outsider for his opinion. I got this e-mail from him:

"I will state the obvious as a question. Why would you buy a new machine and put server 2000 on it? I say we pay for another win2003 server license...."

Observe Mister Genius Outsider's attitude. He is not an employee of our company. Of course, he isn't going to pay for anything. He is just a conceited know-it-all who happens to work independently.

There are some obvious questions for him: "Why did you install software that we had not paid for? Why did you install software that we were not licensed for?"

I think he's pretty knowledgeable actually. However, he should have known better. He had no absolutely no right to install Windows 2003 on that server. As far as I am concerned, we should reconsider him as help.
 

RE: outsiders causing trouble

And possibly a defendant in a lawsuit.  This seems nothing short of vandalism; how much has this nonsense cost your company so far?  Who authorized this action.

If he says "we" should buy the license, how much is he willing to put up for the purchase?

Sounds like your office went for the lowest bidder!

RE: outsiders causing trouble

(OP)

It has not cost us any money so far. It sounds like the server had to be re-installed. I would have been perfectly happy with a re-install if he had installed the software that we had already paid for. He should have re-installed Windows 2000 Server, as that is what we were running before the crash.

Are you implying that we could sue him for this?

Hell, Mister Genius Outsider could report us for piracy anonymously.
 

RE: outsiders causing trouble

Whose 2003 license did he use in the re-load? Did he re-use the license from the existing server 2003 box? If so, he probably wouldn't be able to activate it.

In response to:
"I will state the obvious as a question. Why would you buy a new machine and put server 2000 on it? I say we pay for another win2003 server license...."

A simple firm reply is appropriate:
"Thank you for that. It has been decided to use our existing server 2000 license on that box. Please reload with server 2000. Thanks"

If he does not comply, his relationship should be terminated. If your manager disagrees, make your opinion known and document it (to CYA).

RE: outsiders causing trouble

"It has not cost us any money so far".  
Do you and your managers work for free?  If not, and you have spent time on this, it has cost you money.  The downtime of the server while the expert slicked the box and loaded illegal software probably has a cost associated with it, as will reslicking/reloading the box.  If you take time to load a box with the legal server and ship it out to the remote office, it costs you money.  Doubtless the expert charged your company for the service provided - that cost you money.  Fixing the problem will cost you money.  So please, don't kid yourself - this HAS and probably will continue to cost you money.  
I would definitely demand he reinstall/reconfigure the proper server version and reduce any fees he has charged your company so far to offset the costs imposed.  I would probably also look into filing complaints with any organizations with which your expert might be affiliated - the local BBB would be a starting point.

RE: outsiders causing trouble

Conceited know it all?  Maybe.

I personally would balk at installing Windows 2000 again on any system as it has hit EOL and isn't supported by Microsoft in any way.  But if that's what the customer wanted and they paid me to do it then I'd do it.  I would, however, try to persuade them otherwise and make a rational case for not doing it.  The whole point is to help customers make informed decisions.

Under no circumstances would I have installed something that the customer didn't want or didn't own the licensing for.

But then again I'm a consultant.  People pay me for my knowledge and expertise, not my labor.  I suspect that your outsourced guy 800 miles away probably is unclear on the nature of his relationship.  Or maybe he's just doing a very poor job of being consultative.

Perhaps you were not specific enough with him about what was required?  Seems to me that the confusion could easily be removed by a quick chat.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCTS:Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: outsiders causing trouble

I am usually one of those outsider consultants. The part of this thread that leave me shaking my head is that this individiual took action that changes the customers environment "Without Consultation". Quite often I find myself in the same position. Reloading Win2K vs current SW would typically take me longer costing more in my labour and potential troubleshooting afterwards. I would likely recommend installing more current SW and advise on the Pro's and Con's of each and let the customer make an informed decision.

If this person has in fact taken action changing the customers environment without consultation then HE is responsible in restoring it to customer specs ON HIS OWN TIME>

*******************************************************
Occam's Razor - All things being equal, the simplest solution is the right one.

RE: outsiders causing trouble

See, you guys are nicer than I would be.

"Just reinstall the licensed 2000 server.  Or we will find someone else who is willing to do what we hired them to do."

Being on both sides (a Network administrator and a consultant), the consultant's attitude shocks me.  He would have had one directive; reinstall 2000 server using the license provided.  There is no argument.  He's not an employee; he's not part of the decision process, and he's putting you in a legal liability.  There would have been one redirection, then he would be escorted out of the building.

But that's just me.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: outsiders causing trouble

(OP)
We solved the problem by buying Windows 2008 server with only one CAL. It cost us $703.

This isn't a debate about which is better--Windows 2000 or Windows 2003. It is simply about how to deal with outsiders who are making my job more difficult.

In my own days of doing warranty service, I remember switching out lots of hard drives. As a service to our customers, we loaded the hard drive with the OS that they had purchased when they bought the PC. This was back in the days of Windows 95 and 98, when Ghosting drives was simple and easy.

The key fact was that we always gave the customer what they had bought originally with the PC. In one particular case, I remember taking a drive out to a customer who had purchased Windows 3.1. It was 1999, and they had upgraded to a later version of Windows. However, we gave them a drive with what they had purchased originally (not what we thought that they should have).

I certainly don't need smart-aleck independent techs putting ideas into the heads of my users. I don't need people like this telling them that they can do this, this, and this when it isn't that easy.

This thing reminds me of a time when I took my car into the shop for an oil change and new brake pads. The mechanic also decided to rotate my tires. When I got back, they told that they had done so for free. There was one key problem here--I DID NOT WANT MY TIRES ROTATED.
 

RE: outsiders causing trouble

hinesward,

To the question "How do you deal with outsiders making your job difficult?"

I suspect the problem may have more to do with your company than with rogue outsiders. The remote office hired the guy.. did they also give approval for his work? If so, then your company needs to change its policy. If you are in charge of I.T. related issues, then you should have to give approval before work is done. Or, it has to be someone's responsibility to give approval, and to ensure that the outsider follows the company's wishes.

As for outsiders who do things without anyone's approval, or do work not assigned... those should be shown the door quickly.
 

RE: outsiders causing trouble

Quote:


I DID NOT WANT MY TIRES ROTATED

Don't they rotate when you drive anyway?  ;)

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: outsiders causing trouble

Quote:

This isn't a debate about which is better--Windows 2000 or Windows 2003. It is simply about how to deal with outsiders who are making my job more difficult.

I don't believe that anyone was making it a debate about which was better.  It seems like the preponderance of the advice was "if you hire someone to do something specific, then that's what they need to do."  That's simple.

The only grey area is what he was hired to do, the instructions that he was given, and what sort of leeway he had to interpret those instructions.  If you hired him to rebuild the server then you (hopefully) were specific as to what needed loaded.  If your remote office hired him to rebuild the server then they (hopefully) were either specific about requirements or deferred to your department.  If your remote office staff was not specific or didn't defer to your department then the problem isn't with the "outsider" coming into your network and causing problems, the issue is the "insiders" at the remote office not deferring to IT on IT matters.  But that's a whole other issue.

Quote:

We solved the problem by buying Windows 2008 server with only one CAL. It cost us $703.

There's no way you should have paid for an upgrade if he didn't follow directions.

Quote:

I certainly don't need smart-aleck independent techs putting ideas into the heads of my users. I don't need people like this telling them that they can do this, this, and this when it isn't that easy.

I agree.  You don't need people with profit motives going to your internal customers and trying to sell them on technology that you guys don't want or need.  The policy needs to be set from the IT group.  Of course that means that if you are setting the policy and determining what is and is not permissible then you are also taking responsibility for their environment.

I still think that this problem can be easily avoided if the responsible parties are all very clear about what is needed and what is to be provided.  If you leave room for interpretation then people will interpret.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCTS:Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: outsiders causing trouble

I just had a similar situation.

When Symantec was pushing SEP 11, I informed my customer that maybe it was time to make a switch.

So, we went with AVG Corporate.  First of all, AVG corporate absolutely ROCKS.  No problems installing, price was almost exactly the same as the Symantec licenses.

Meanwhile, a bank examiner comes in and makes a comment about "I wouldn't install AVG on a dead horse, it's such a resource hog!"  (Compared to the 1.5GB that SEP takes on a workstation???? But I digress....)

Meanwhile, he says that in front of TWO of my "Problem" users... one who just doesn't want me there, and another who "knows it all because she was a helpline tech for DSL".

The ex-helpline tech makes a comment about "What kind of computer guy installs FREE software on CORPORATE computers anyway?"  At which point the bank VP pointed out "It wasn't FREE... we paid $1800 for this software."

So, meanwhile, this un-informed bank examiner who is NOT an IT person gives his biased opinion about software that he knows nothing about, and I'm put on the defensive.

<Sigh>
 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: outsiders causing trouble

Some hate in you I sense, young gbaughma.  Dark side give in to, must you not.

yoda

RE: outsiders causing trouble

Learn to talk forward must I.  ;)

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: outsiders causing trouble

Even Yoda would hate Symantec.  I'm right there with Greg.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCTS:Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: outsiders causing trouble

I thought they bought it?  (Like almost everything else...)

Annihilannic.

RE: outsiders causing trouble

(OP)
Symantec hasn't bought everything. Unfortunately, it was Network Associates (McAfee) that bought Doctor Solomon. That was a great virus scanner. A crappy virus scanner bought it out.
 

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