I work in an IT firm. Well, i guess thats what you’d call us. We do web hosting, development, a little internet access. We do more than just hosting, so i dont really think calling us a host is broad enough. I do Admin work, i administer a mix of Windows, and *nix servers. Theres two of us, and between the both of us, we do a pretty good job of keeping things stable. The servers stay up, we keep them up to date, we’re constantly working to improve on the things that were put in place by earlier admins (who more often than not, did things wrong!).
All along though, it seems that our biggest hassle is the mechanism’s put in place to help "protect" everyone from viruses. Not believe me, i know how important it is to prevent the spread of viruses. Try managing 100+ Windows servers sometime, you’ll know what i mean.. I really think it’s gotten out of hand though. In the position we’re in, it’s common that we need clients to send us things. Content for their wesite, half finished site designs or web applications, databases, programs to inspect, install, or whatever. What’s the easiest way to send files to one another across the internet? You got it… E-mail! We use an exchange serer, so of course, we use Outlook, in order to take advantage of all of the "Features" that microsoft has so graciously packed into its overbloated answer to an e-mail server. Outlook strips attachments on its owrn. Yesterday i was working on a task from our shared task list. I wrote a perl script that needed to be deployed on a number of servers, and along with its deployment, a command line compression utility had to be installed. So i attached them both to the task for "safe" keeping.Well when i saved the task, Outlook tells me that i’ve attached "Possibly unsafe files" and that they might not be available to me if i re-open the task. I assume it’s talking about the installer for the command line utility, and figure, what the heck, and just tell it ok. It’s not _that_ important that the file is attached to the task anyway.
Well i come back to my task later, open it up, and as i expected, the .exe is no longer attached. No big deal. The perl script is still there. Ok, back to work. Once I’ve made some updates, and want to save my task, it tells me that the same damn file is "unsafe"… It’s not there! I can only assume that instead of removing it, outlook has hidden it. Which is just great. Now my task takes up an additional 3MB of storage on the exchange server, because of a file, that i cant even access. BRILLIANT! On top of that, i tried to replace my perl script with a newer version of it, and guess what…. It crashed Outlook.
Anyway, the point of the story is this. At what point does security become more of a burden than a tool? We have to keep things so locked down anymore in the IT field, that we need to find a way around our own security whenever we want to get some work done…