Sounds like a blueprint for disaster, all right

Pilot fish is the sole IT staffer for this 400-user organization, and it's turning out to be almost impossible to improve the situation left behind by her somewhat underqualified predecessor.

Case in point: disaster planning. "Prior to my arrival, they did nightly backups of the data center and file server on a set of two weekly rotating tapes that were both stored -- wait for it -- on top of the file server in a cardboard box," says fish.

"I set out to find a better solution. We have a locked maintenance building located 150 yards away that's on completely separate utilities -- heat, fire suppression, electricity, etc. I asked the maintenance head if he thought this was a decent solution, and he agreed.

"I reached out to upper management for final approval and a key to the building. I was told that was not necessary. I asked if they would rather me bring a set of tapes home with me and switch them out week to week. I was told that was also not necessary. I was directed to store one backup set in the server room and one in a closet 100 feet down the hallway.

"The reasoning? 'There has never been a fire here before. And even if there is, we don't have to worry about the computers and backups. We have a really good sprinkler system. If there is a fire anywhere in the building they all turn on.'"

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