Steve Riley on Security

Formerly of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group.

Trustworthy Administrators

Trustworthy Administrators

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The article is posted in the security management column section on TechNet and is the Viewpoint article in the July security newsletter. Check it out, and please tell me what you think. It's been generating some opinions :)

Do you trust your administrators? That seemingly innocent question creates a serious dilemma in the minds of a lot of people. While we all know what we’d like the answer to be, the disappointing fact is that, increasingly, the true answer is the opposite. This became apparent in discussions I had with many attendees at TechEd US in May—there is genuine concern about the trustworthiness of administrators...

Comments
  • Hi Steve -

    I'd really like to hear the opinions you're getting on this, if you can share them. I think it's an extremely important topic for both admins and the companies they work for.

    I've put up a response article, with call for comments, at my own site. http://adminfoo.net/?q=node/285

  • You reap what you sow. Business has no loyalty to their employees and the younger generation saw how miserably business treated their parents, so they have adopted a different attitude.

    Trust is a two way street and businesses are reaping the crop sown over the past twenty years.

    I suggest business actually treat people as they wish to be treated and maybe the situation will change.

  • Ahh yes agree with the comment about trust being a two way and that is why I'm not so keen on the fire them if you dont trust em as this will only serve to compound the issue of trust... Cheers, dg

  • This is an interesting artice, unfortunately but expectedly, written from a corporation point of view. Let's reverse the matter. The article asks the justified question whether you trust your Administrators. I think the reverse question is equally important. Do administrators trust the corporation they work for?

    If this corporation has a long line of short-term contracts and lay-offs, trust levels will be lower. If the corporation has policies that encourage long-term employment, and value employee retention, trust levels will be higher.

    In short, if a corporation sees administrators as another expendable source, they will one day or another, be hit by behavior described in the article. I do not condone this behavior, but I fully understand it. Treat people they way you wish to be treated yourself.

  • It's all very logical -- and don't forget: logic IS cold, heartless and efficient! Logic tell us what the "best practices" should be and lets us foresee the Promised Land of Corporate Peace and Quietude. But, hey! Why stop with sysadmins? do you realize that a CEO has yet more power in his/her hands than a sysadmin? or a CFO? or even an accountant? or a security guard? or...
    Let's face it: a corporation could only get (apparently) more secure by becoming a nazi organization; a myriad of merciless rules, a state of permanent paranoia, procedures suspecting and double-checking other procedures and processes... yes, that would increase security -- but would people REALLY want to work in a such orwellian environment?

    Do such environments exist? you betcha! think intelligence agencies or military secret sites - but those work environments are far from being your typical multi-cubicle work room.

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