But everything is so much easier this way!

It's the mid-1990s, and this pilot fish is the sole database admin at the state government agency he works for.

"I installed the database software. I maintained security. I built the objects -- spaces, tables, indices. I helped the programming staff," says fish. "I was kinda busy."

When it's time to build a major new application -- big database on big iron -- the agency brings in a consulting company. And when the consultants come to fish with a request that they be given sysadmin permissions in their own development database, fish immediately agrees.

After all, he reasons, if they want the responsibility for their own playground, so be it. Besides, it gets them out of fish's hair.

Months later, the same consultants return to inform fish that they're ready to go into production. The application has been built, it's been accepted by the users and everything is ready, they tell him.

Great, fish says. Now I need detailed authorization information so I can set up the user groups and assign appropriate database access.

That's simple, consultants tell him: Every user in the system is to have sysadmin authority. The system was written that way and tested that way and that's how it's going to be.

To which fish has an even simpler response: No.

"The consultants went to my bosses and whined and moaned," fish says. "I got called on the carpet for not being helpful. I was called a roadblock. It took me a while to convince my bosses that the consultants had taken the wrong approach to security.

"But I eventually was backed up by management, and the consultants had to revisit their approach to security and database authorizations. Just imagine if every user, every program, every access of a database application was running with sysadmin authority. Sheesh!"

Sharky doesn't want to imagine your true tale of IT life -- I want you to send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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