In mythical man-millennia?

This pilot fish is part of a group of contractors providing IT services to the pension systems for a very large city. "We maintain employment information for more than 75,000 past and present city employees, and payroll and HR information for more than 20,000 retired employees, totaling approximately 2 TB of electronic data and document images," fish says.

"The IT team had just successfully completed a major conversion of mainframe COBOL applications to a client/server environment on time and on budget. Management decided that, in order to justify cuts to our billing rates, an IT audit should be conducted to ensure that we were following best practices and to determine which of our services could be outsourced -- possibly to the management consulting firm conducting the audit.

"The auditor, prior to meeting with each IT contractor, sent a short questionnaire to each individual and a 50-plus-page questionnaire to the head of IT -- also a contractor -- covering every aspect of the IT environment.

"We realized that the management consulting firm was clueless about our IT environment when we reached Section 3, on system backup and disaster recovery. Question 5 read: 'If all data on your computer/storage were lost and all backup tapes destroyed, how long would it take one person to re-enter it manually?'

"How does one answer that?"

Sharky doesn't deal in harebrained hypotheticals -- just true tales of IT life. Send me yours at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

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