crisis case study each role 1 page

Open Posted By: ahmad8858 Date: 10/10/2020 High School Case Study Writing


The course project/presentation, Using the assigned Crisis Case study.(attachement.) Your should use the questions below to guide your briefing to the CEO of the corporation on how we should handle the crisis. 

Creativity is encouraged and questions are welcomed. 

Each group will play the roles and address the crisis from a different perspective. 

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Role: The CISO must be prepared to brief the CEO on the technical security aspects of the crisis. Be prepared to explain what happened, what is the best course of action and why, What could you have done to Detect, Protect, and Correct this incident? What is your 30, 60 and 90 day plan for recovery? 

The Public Affairs Officers (PAO) Role: Be prepared to address the incident from a public policy and legal stand point. What information do we tell employees, stakeholders, public and law enforcement? Who should be authorized to talk with the media? Did we have a plan in place? What is our plan going forward to manage the damage? What are the legal implications of this incident? (to the company, to individual responsible?) 

Category: Business & Management Subjects: Business Communication Deadline: 12 Hours Budget: $150 - $300 Pages: 3-6 Pages (Medium Assignment)

Attachment 1

Crisis When Disaster Strikes IT

Excerpted from

The Adventures of an IT Leader


Robert D. Austin, Richard L. Nolan, and Shannon O’Donnell

Buy the book: Amazon

Barnes & Noble HarvardBusiness.org

Harvard Business Press Boston, Massachusetts

ISBN-13: 978-1-4221-3042-1


Copyright 2009 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America

This chapter was originally published as chapter 10 of The Adventures of an IT Leader, copyright 2009 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior permission of the publisher. Requests for

permission should be directed to [email protected], or mailed to Permissions, Harvard Business School Publishing, 60 Harvard Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02163.

You can purchase Harvard Business Press books at booksellers worldwide. You can order Harvard Business Press books and book chapters online at www.harvardbusiness.org/press,

or by calling 888-500-1016 or, outside the U.S. and Canada, 617-783-7410.

Series overview

The Adventures of an IT Leader invites readers to “walk in the shoes” of

a new CIO as he spends a difficult year learning effective information

technology leadership. Experienced cumulatively, this eighteen-

chapter story gains dramatic momentum, and later chapters provide

opportunities to revisit key IT management issues in more depth.

However, chapters can also be read independently or in smaller batches

as suits the needs of particular readers. To facilitate this, we provide the

following contextual information.


As the story begins in chapter 1, the IVK Corporation, a midsize financial

services firm, is attempting a turnaround following a period of slowing

business performance1. The stock price has fallen substantially as in-

vestors have adjusted their expectations of the firm’s growth. An aggres-

sive new CEO, Carl Williams, takes over and assigns a new management

team. In the process, the former head of Loan Operations, Jim Barton, is

appointed CIO. Barton has no background in IT—none at all. The story

1 The IVK Corporation and its staff are fictional, but the contents of the book are based on the authors’years of firsthand experience with diverse companies and managers.


follows Barton as he figures out what effective IT management is all about

and deals with issues and challenges of the job. These broadly include, by

chapter number:

• The challenges of information technology leadership (1–3)

• Managing the IT budget (4)

• Maximizing the value of IT (5)

• Approaches to project management (6)

• Managing large projects (7)

• Prioritizing among a portfolio of projects (8)

• Board-level governance (9)

• Management and aftermath of a security crisis (10–11)

• Communication and interaction with the boss and peers (12)

• Analyzing emerging technologies (13)

• Arranging and managing partnerships with vendors (14)

• Managing highly talented employees (15)

• Investing in infrastructure to move toward standardization and

innovation (16)

• Managing risk (17)

• Job opportunities for IT leaders (18)

The Main Characters

In order of appearance . . .

Jim Barton: The new CIO of IVK. A talented and ambitious general manager, formerly the head of Loan Operations. Barton knows little

about IT; he sets out to learn quickly and to lead the IT department

toward renewed growth, stability, and strategic partnership within

the company—but not without facing serious challenges.

Series Overview


Carl Williams: This bold turnaround CEO is high on ambition and short on patience.

Maggie Landis: A savvy management consultant and Barton’s girl- friend, she often provides Barton with valuable insight, references,

and perspectives.

The kid: Wise beyond his years, this twenty-something tech nerd, whom Barton mysteriously meets only at Vinnie’s Bar, proves a use-

ful sounding board and source of surprisingly good advice.

Bill Davies: Former CIO at IVK, Davies was fired in part because he struggled with management-level communication. He tells Barton

that he “won’t last one year” in the job of CIO.

Bernie Ruben: As the director of the Technical Services Group and longtime IVK employee, Ruben is nearing retirement and thus

mostly immune to concerns about risk to his career. He frequently

provides Barton with the candid advice, knowledge, and context he

needs to make key decisions.

Raj Juvvani: The director of Customer Support and Collection Sys- tems and part of Barton’s core IT team.

Tyra Gordon: As director of Loan Operations and New Application Development Systems, Tyra worked closely with Barton when he

was head of Loan Operations and takes the lead on several new IT

projects under his management.

Paul Fenton: Director of Infrastructure and Operations, Fenton man- ages a large and important domain, including IT security, and is

part of Barton’s core IT team.

Gary Geisler: As director of Planning and Control, Geisler works closely with Barton on IT financials.

John Cho: IVK’s outspoken resident security genius, Cho has a dis- tinct fashion sense and provocative musical talent.

Jenny: Barton’s ever-dependable executive assistant.

Several additional characters populate the story, but are described in


Series Overview


chapter ten


Thursday, June 28, 9:24 a.m. . . .

Barton was enjoying an unusually slow morning, finishing an elegant

breakfast at a Hilton in midtown Manhattan, when the first call indi-

cating trouble came in.

He had come to New York for an early afternoon meeting with Wall

Street analysts. That Williams had chosen him for the meeting was a

sign of just how well things had been going lately for IVK—and for Jim

Barton, CIO. In the past three weeks, IVK’s stock price had begun to

rise, lifting spirits throughout the company. Optimism percolated

through the offices and hallways. At the same time, Barton had been

scoring victory after victory. A recent all-hands IT department meeting

had gone extremely well; he’d fielded a few tough questions, but people

seemed pleased with his answers and the department’s overall direction.

Even John Cho had nodded in response to some of Barton’s remarks.

His resolute actions had also gained him the confidence of the com-

pany’s senior leadership. In meetings of that group, Barton’s views now

swayed Williams more readily than anyone else’s. And why not? This was

a guy who knew the IVK business inside and out and had apparently

mastered the mysterious world of IT in just three months.

Sending Barton—former Loan Ops VP, now chief IT guy—to New

York on the crest of a wave of recovery, Williams had explained, sent

exactly the right message. Under a new CEO, IVK had woken up to a


realization of its current size and the consequent need for a new style of

management. The company would mature into a grownup financial

services firm. What had been a freewheeling, improvisational approach

to management would become more professional. Without sacrificing

organizational agility, the company would institute more formal sys-

tems and controls. IT was, of course, key to achieving this. An expres-

sion Williams and Barton had begun to use in conversation to describe

where they were headed captured their joint vision of the future: “a

lean service factory.” It was only natural that Barton would explain all

this to Wall Street.

He’d been sipping coffee, going over his notes, making some last-

minute adjustments to the presentation for the afternoon meeting,

when his cell phone rang. The phone display told him it was Bernie

Ruben. Barton guessed that the call might be last-minute advice about

how to tweak the analyst presentation.

He was wrong.

“Hi Bernie, what’s up?”

“Hi Jim. I’m afraid we’ve got a problem, and we felt we should get to

you with an update.”

“My laptop is upstairs. Is it something I need to change in the pres-


“Nothing like that. We’re experiencing an outage this morning, for

about the last forty minutes. Customer Service is down. None of the

call center systems are working, and the Web site is locked up.”

“Oh. Damn. I assume we’re executing recovery procedures?”

“Such as they are.”

This confused Barton. He’d heard, time and time again, about the

call lists and emergency procedures that assured business continuity in

a crisis. “What do you mean, ‘Such as they are’?”

“Sorry. That’s my cynicism coming through. The fact is, those proce-

dures are pretty badly out of date. I don’t think we realized quite how

out of date until thirty minutes ago.”

This made Barton angry. “Wish you’d flashed that cynicism a little

sooner. I’ve been taking everyone’s word on this. I thought we were pre-

pared for an outage.”

The Hero’s Ordeal


Ruben, hearing the tone of Barton’s voice, pulled back. “We’re not

completely unprepared, just not as prepared as we’d like to be. We’ve

got great people on it. But the truth is that outages don’t usually hap-

pen in a predictable way. Inevitably, we have to wing it a bit.”

“And why are you calling to tell me?” Ruben’s area had no opera-

tional responsibilities, thus would be involved in an outage only pe-

ripherally. Barton imagined his team voting on who the bearer of bad

news would be.

“Because everybody else is kind of busy, frankly,” Ruben answered.

“Fenton and Cho are right in the middle of this. Ripley is at the data

center, rebooting things. Juvvani and his team are trying to figure out

what’s wrong with the Customer Service systems.”

“Cho? Do we think this might be some kind of security event?”

“I was coming to that.” Ruben paused, as if to steel himself, before

continuing. It was very unlike Bernie, that pause, and it communicated

the gravity of the circumstances more than the words that followed it.

A bolt of panic stirred the eggs Benedict digesting in Barton’s stomach.

“We’re receiving a continuous flow of e-mails at our Customer Service

address,” continued Ruben,“about three per second, each with no text in

the body of the message and a one word subject line that says ‘Gotcha.’”


“Yes. It’s like ‘Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha, gotcha.’”

“What the hell does that mean?” Barton channeled his frustration

into an exasperated hand movement, which promptly toppled his cof-

fee cup. Hot liquid flowed from the table onto his lap.

“We don’t know,” said Ruben. “It could be a coincidence that Cus-

tomer Service systems are down at the same time that we are receiving

these e-mails, but . . . ”

“But it doesn’t sound coincidental, does it?” Barton stood, motion-

ing to a waiter to indicate the spill and request his check.

“No,” conceded Ruben. “This is the concern.”

“Bernie, I need more information,” Barton said.“I don’t want to take

people off their urgent duties, but at some point in the next hour or so

I need a full update. Williams will get wind of this soon . . . ”

“He has already . . . ”



“ . . . and I need to know what to tell him.”

“I’ll pull a group together, and we’ll call you. How about 10:30?” Bar-

ton looked at his watch. It was 9:37 a.m.“Make it 10:15. There’s no telling

when Williams will call me. I’ll hold off calling him until I hear more.”

“I’m on it,” said Ruben.

Barton hung up the phone. The waiter, rushing over to control the

spill, also perceived the urgency of the call. He hurried the check to

Barton, who quickly signed it and dashed out of the restaurant.

As Barton awaited the elevator that would take him to his floor, an-

other call came in, this one from Graham Wells, IVK’s VP of Legal Af-

fairs and General Counsel.

“This is Jim Barton.”

“Jim, we’ve got to reduce our legal exposure here.” Wells’s voice was

an octave higher than usual.

“What do you mean, Graham?”

“We have to take dramatic action, signal that we’ve done everything

we can.”

“We are doing everything we can, Graham.” The elevator arrived and

Barton got on it. He pushed the button for floor 23. Two children got

on too, with a woman apparently their mother. To Barton’s horror, the

two small boys pushed seven or eight buttons between the ground floor

and floor 23 before the woman intervened. Barton immediately stepped

out of the elevator, waited for the door to close, then pushed the up

arrow again. All this time, Graham was speaking, not entirely coher-

ently. Barton tuned into him again:

“Can we shut off power to the computer systems? Or cut the wires

that go to the Internet?”

“We could, Graham, but I doubt that would be smart.”

“Smart doesn’t matter.What matters is what we can say in a deposition.”

The elevator arrived, but Barton moved away from it to sit in a nearby


“A deposition? What the hell are you talking about, Graham?”

“If this is a security incident,” he continued,“we may be looking at le-

gal implications. Customer lawsuits, shareholder lawsuits, government

penalties, you name it.”

The Hero’s Ordeal


“Because our Web site is down?” Barton said. But even as he said this,

he knew it was more than that. His remaining optimism drained away,

consumed in the heat of Wells’s fear.

“If this is hackers—if hackers are stealing customer data—this is

going to be bad.”

“We don’t know that yet, Graham.”

“That’s why we need to take drastic action. Listen, I just got off the

phone with Carl. The last words he said to me were, ‘Call Barton, make

sure he understands the legal ramifications.’ That’s what I’m trying to

do. And my official legal opinion is that we should shut down every

computer in the place until we know what’s happening. Can we turn

off power to the entire company? I will now call Carl back and let him

know that you and I have spoken.”

Barton was shaken. “Thanks, Graham,” was all he could manage. An

elevator arrived and Barton dashed across the lobby to catch it.

Moments later he was back in his hotel room. His leg hurt where the

coffee had burned it. It was a little after 10 a.m., not quite fifteen minutes

until he’d get an update on the situation back at IVK. And he had no idea

what to do. There were a dozen people he badly wanted to call, but all of

them would be busy, and a call would only distract them. For a moment,

he considered a call to Maggie then decided he didn’t have time before

10:15. He shed the ruined pants and ran cold water over the coffee stain.

For the analyst meeting, he’d have to wear pants from the day before.

At precisely 10:06 a.m., his cell phone rang again. It was, Barton could

see from the display, Carl Williams. Barton took a deep breath and an-

swered it.

“Jim Barton.”

“Damn it, Jim, what’s going on?”

“We’re trying to figure that out, Carl,” Barton said. He was trying hard

to meet Williams’s anxiety with calm confidence. “I’ve got a call with my

team in . . .” he glanced at his watch “. . . eight minutes to get the latest.”

“I just heard back from Wells. He said you were nonresponsive.”


“Look, never mind. Graham seems to have lost his mind. What do

we know?”



“Well, call center systems are down.”

“No kidding, those guys are just hanging out down there, chatting,

drinking coffee. Costing us money.”

“The Web site is frozen. And we’re receiving suspicious e-mails.

There are many possible explanations for the first two problems, some

of them not very sinister, but the e-mails add a troubling aspect to the


“Makes it seem like someone might be doing this to us?”


“How can they? Don’t we have a firewall?”

“Of course. We have many, but there’s no such thing as perfect security.”

“I don’t want to hear—” Williams controlled himself. “I want an up-

date as soon as you get a better idea, sometime in the next thirty minutes.”

“Okay, right after my call in . . .” looking at his watch again, “. . . six

minutes.” Barton heard commotion in the background. Somebody was

talking to Williams.

“Fine,” said Williams. “I’ve got to go. Graham’s calling again.”

Barton closed his phone. He felt good about how that had gone. Un-

expectedly, the interaction with the CEO had restored his confidence.

The CEO had, in a backhanded way, expressed confidence in him. Now

he just needed some good news from his team.

At exactly 10:13 a.m., Barton’s phone rang again. He assumed it was

the call he’d been expecting from his people, but when he looked at the

phone display he saw that it was Williams again.

“Oh, boy.” Barton had no idea why Williams would call back so

soon, especially knowing that Barton was likely in a meeting, but he

had a feeling that it would not be good news or helpful advice.

“Jim Barton.”

“Hi, Jim, it’s Carl. I’ve got Graham on the line. We’ve got another


“What is it? I’ve got an update coming in two minutes . . .”

“I know, that’s why we’re calling now. We’re not sure you should par-

ticipate in the update.”

“Huh? Why not?” Had they decided to replace him in the middle of a


“Jim, you’ve got a meeting with analysts this afternoon.”

The Hero’s Ordeal


“Yes, I know, but that’s not until after lunch.”

Wells spoke then, explaining. “Jim, we’ve got disclosure issues if you

talk to analysts in the aftermath of an event like this. Right now, you don’t

know what’s happened. You don’t know for sure, for example, that this

event is security-related. Or that’s what you told Carl, anyway.”

“That’s right,” said Barton, not appreciating the implication that

what he’d told Williams might be anything less than truthful.

“So,” continued Wells, “we need to think about what we want you to

know going into the analyst meeting. It might be best, if it’s a security

issue, that you don’t know that yet when you talk to analysts.”

“Carl, what kind of crazy, convoluted logic is this?”

“It’s a legitimate concern,” said Williams. “This may turn out to be

nothing serious, or it might be very serious. We need to think about the

representations you’ll be able to make this afternoon without getting

yourself and the rest of us in trouble. You’re going to be on the hot seat.

It might be best to have you go into it innocent of what’s happening

right now, or at least as innocent as we can make you.”

“So you want me to just relax, enjoy the city, maybe take in a show?”

“Is there anyone you can delegate crisis response to?”

Another call was coming in on Barton’s phone. It was 10:15 a.m. There

was no time to think through what Williams and Wells were saying, but

it felt wrong. Every fiber of Barton’s being pushed back against what

they were suggesting.

“The call from my team is coming in right now,” said Barton.

“Don’t answer it,” said Wells.

“Don’t answer a call from my team in a crisis?” Barton was aghast.

“Don’t answer it,” repeated Wells.

“Carl, this is wrong,” Barton exclaimed. “This is my area of the com-

pany, my problem, and I need to be responsible for it. We can figure out

how to manage the analyst meeting later. I can do that. I can handle it.

Right now, my job is to fix this. Let me do my job.”

“Graham?” said Williams.

“I advise against it.”

Williams was silent. The digital alarm clock near the hotel bed clicked

over to 10:16. Barton’s phone beeped persistently as his team continued

to try to reach him.



“Fine,” Williams said finally. “Answer your call.”

“Thanks, Carl,” said Barton. He was about to switch over, but Wil-

liams wasn’t finished.

“Make no mistake,” said Williams, suddenly much angrier,“your butt

is on the line here, Barton. I’m not a bit happy about this happening, not

now, not at this time.” He was venting.“Your timing could not be worse.”

“Understood,” Barton answered. For the second time that morning,

he was shaken. Williams had said, “Your timing could not be worse.” As

if Barton had caused the outage. He gathered his wits and switched to

the other call.

“Jim Barton.”

“Hi Jim, it’s Bernie. We’ve got you on speaker. Also present are Paul

and Tyra. John Cho is down at his workstation, but he’s with us on the

line, as is Ellen Ripley, who’s over at the data center, joining us by cell

phone. Raj is with his guys working on Customer Service systems, so

he’s not with us; we can call him on his cell if we need to, though.”

“Great, what do we know?”

Paul Fenton spoke up. “There are several things going on. You know

about the e-mails, I think.”


“The Web site is locked up because of what appears to be a rather so-

phisticated denial of service attack. We have software to defeat ordinary

DoS attacks, but this one is coming from many locations and is attack-

ing with a pattern of traffic designed to defeat our countermeasures. We

are working on that and think we will be able to neutralize the threat in

the next few minutes. The Web site should be operational after that.

“The thing that has us most puzzled is the Customer Service systems

shutdown. We don’t know what’s causing it. Ellen tried rebooting every-

thing that has anything to do with those systems, but it hasn’t helped.

Transactions against the database are returning an error code. We can’t

add new or retrieve existing customer records. That could mean there’s

something wrong with a transaction that’s got everything jammed up

behind it. Or it could mean the database is corrupted.”

Barton interrupted: “Do either of those possibilities indicate that an

intrusion has occurred?”

The Hero’s Ordeal


“Not necessarily. If it’s a problem transaction, that is most likely an

internal software problem. If it’s database corruption, someone could

have caused it, but it could also have happened without any malicious


“John, what do you think?” Barton braced himself for the possibility

of anger in Cho’s response.

Reuben spoke for Cho: “John thinks it’s malicious, but that’s his pre-

disposition. He thinks someone has exploited the security hole he’s been

worried about.” Cho, though supposedly on the line, did not elaborate.

“The security hole,” said Barton, “that we’ve proposed addressing

with a fast-track upgrade project.” The project Barton had shot down

while he was head of Loan Operations.

“That’s correct.”

“So what do we do?”

Fenton appealed to Ripley, his network operations team leader:“Ellen?”

“We can probably deal with the database corruption issue by going

to a backup. But it might happen again. And we’ll lose some data from

yesterday afternoon if we revert to a backup. We’ll have to re-enter all that

data. Also, going to a backup may not solve our problems if they are due

to an intruder. If it’s a hacker and he’s left malicious routines on our

computers, they are likely also present among backup files.1 The prob-

lem might just recur.”

“Can’t we tell if there are files on our computers that shouldn’t be


“We should be able to,” a new, deeply annoyed voice broke in, “but

we can’t.” Barton recognized it: John Cho.


There was a silence, then Cho started again.“We’re supposed to keep

careful records of all files introduced into production. But we haven’t.”

“Why not?” Barton asked.

“Because sometimes idiots in the applications groups rush changes

in without going through the proper procedures—”

“There are good business reasons to do that sometimes,” interrupted

Tyra Gordon. “And it’s not like others are not on board when we do it.

Everybody knows what we are doing when we do that.”



“I never agree to it,” said Cho.

“It must be nice,” Gordon said,“never to have to operate under pres-

sure from a customer . . .”

“That’s a load of crap,” said Cho, “I advise you to come down here

and try this kind of pressure . . .”

“Hey!” Fenton shouted. “People. Let’s stay on point here.”

“So,” concluded Barton, “somebody in Tyra’s group put in a change

without following procedures?”

“Raj’s group, actually,” said Gordon, “it’s his systems having the


“But the rush-a-change-into-production thing is not unique to Raj’s

group,” said Fenton.“It’s been a sore point for years. We have careful pro-

cedures, but when a big customer screams for a change, procedures some-

times get circumvented. Outside IT, change control procedures tend to

be viewed as a form of bureaucracy. Business unit managers sometimes

force through quick changes that circumvent change control.”

“Like, for instance,” interjected Cho, “the VP of Loan Operations.”

Barton had a vague memory of browbeating Davies into such a quick

change in the not-too-distant past. I deserved that, thought Barton, de-

ciding to let Cho’s not-so-subtle barb pass.

“I get it,” Barton said.

Fenton continued: “As Tyra rightly says, we all know it goes on, and

we all acquiesce. In the minds of many on the business side, this is justi-

fied if it makes a customer happy. It’s a business trade-off, in effect.”

“The bottom line is that we don’t know if bad guys are involved,”

Barton concluded.

“That’s right,” said Fenton.

Barton heard a commotion in the background, some quiet talking.

Fenton came back on the line: “The DoS attack is under control and the

Web site is back up.”

“Well, I suppose we can call that some kind of progress. Is there any

other way we can tell if bad guys are involved?”

“Maybe,” said Fenton. “It depends on how careful they were, if they

were there at all. John’s working on it.”

“No smoking gun yet,” said Cho, now speaking in more measured

tones. “If it’s bad guys, they’re very, very good.”

The Hero’s Ordeal


There was more commotion in the background. Barton heard a cell

phone ring. Fenton answered it. Barton couldn’t quite make out what

was being said, but Fenton came back after less than a minute.

“Raj’s people have figured out what the problem is. We’ll have Cus-

tomer Service back up and running in about ten minutes.”

Barton felt relief that he knew was not yet justified.“Great. What was

the problem?”

“Apparently a database index file had been somehow renamed, and

another substituted in its place. All they have to do is rename the files

back to how they were before, and we should be fine.”

“Files renamed. Can that just happen?”

“I don’t know,” said Fenton.

“Not likely,” said Cho.

“Let’s be careful here,” said Gordon. “There’s danger in overreacting

as well as underreacting.”

“Okay,” said Barton. “I’ve got to update Williams. I want us to meet

again in sixty minutes, say, at 11:15 a.m. I need two groups, working on

two different tasks. Paul, you, John, Raj, Ellen—I need your best sense

of whether there’s been an intrusion, and what we need to do about it,

whether we’re sure or not sure. Bernie, you and Tyra and whoever else

you think might help who isn’t working on what’s happened here, I

want you to develop some advice for me on how to handle the analyst

meeting, which is at 2 p.m. Okay?”

“Can you cancel the analyst meeting?” asked Ruben. “Say you’ve

come down with food poisoning?”

“Might seem suspicious, especially if word of what’s going on here has

leaked out. What if someone preparing for the meeting this afternoon has

been having trouble accessing our Web site this morning? Or what if some

call center employee has called a friend or sent an e-mail about what’s

going on? Word might be out already. But everything’s on the table. If

you think canceling the meeting is a good option, explain why. Okay?”

“Will do,” said Ruben “Anything else?” All lines were silent; no one

said anything. “Signing off, then.” Barton snapped his phone shut.

Barton immediately called Williams with an update. Williams lis-

tened, said little. Barton hung up and ordered coffee from room service.

He pulled on yesterday’s pants. Then he sat down to put together his



own ideas about what he might say at the analyst meeting under vari-

ous scenarios. His leg hurt a lot, but his head hurt even more.

Thursday, June 28, 11:21 a.m. . . .

Paul Fenton had just finished his update. Juvvani, Gordon, Cho, and

Ripley were also on the line. The meeting to recommend an approach

to the analyst meeting had been moved back fifteen minutes, to give

that group time to send Barton some PowerPoint slides. Gordon, part

of that group, was sitting in on this meeting to make sure she had the

latest information on what had happened, as an input into what to say

at the analyst meeting.

The facts so far: There was still no smoking gun that indicated an in-

trusion, although Cho was convinced that was the explanation. If it had

been intruders, they had been deep enough into the IVK production

computers to rename database files, which meant they could have also

stolen customer data or corrupted it subtly. Loan applications asked for

credit card numbers to be used in credit checks, but, fortunately, IVK

did not retain that information. Unfortunately, the company’s data-

bases did retain Social Security numbers and other information useful

to identity thieves.

“I think we need to disclose that something has happened,” said Cho.

“I think we’re legally obliged to, in fact.”

“We should get legal advice on that,” said Fenton. Barton thought of

Wells’s incoherent state when last they spoke. Fenton continued: “My

interpretation of our obligation is that we have to disclose if we know

we’ve lost customer data.”

“Actually,” said Cho, “it’s if we suspect we have.”

Juvvani weighed in. “So what does that mean? You suspect we have,

John. Maybe I don’t.”

“So you think those files just renamed themselves?” Cho asked.

Gordon came to Juvvani’s defense:“We don’t know what people do on

the night shift. We don’t know a hundred other things. Just because we

can’t think of another innocent explanation doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

The Hero’s Ordeal


How often before have we seen something happen that we think can’t

happen, only to discover some complex, idiosyncratic explanation?”

“Yeah,” said Cho, “but renaming database files—that’s pretty spe-

cific. How would that happen innocently?”

“Like I said—” Gordon began, then stopped.

“Might it be an inside job?” asked Fenton. “Could someone with ap-

proved access have done it? Is this somebody’s idea of a joke that got

out of hand?”

“I don’t know,” said Cho. “And I’ve been going over the logs pretty

carefully. I don’t think we’re going to know. I have to admit, it seems

implausible to me that someone could have done this without leaving

any sort of a trail. But renaming a database index file . . . that’s just not

the sort of thing that happens by accident.”

“So,” said Barton, “what you’re telling me is that we are not going to

know whether this is a security event by this afternoon. That we may

never know.”

“Never is a long time . . .” said Fenton.

“That’s what I’m saying,” said Cho. “Unless we stumble onto some-

thing that tells us. I’m going to keep looking, but I’ve looked in most of

the obvious places already.”

“What do we recommend doing in the aftermath of this event?” asked

Barton. “Williams is going to want to know what we’re planning to do

to avoid a repeat of this.”

“Well,” said Cho, “obviously we accelerate the security project we’ve

got in motion. Maybe add some more to it—I’ve got a wish list of stuff.

Maybe Williams will sign off on what we really need now. And, of course,

we’ve got to begin following our procedures better. Maybe in the after-

math of this problem, people will understand better why we force proce-

dures on them. Ellen’s got a recommendation too, that I totally agree with.”

“Ellen?” said Barton.

Ripley sighed, then launched into an explanation. “There’s an addi-

tional concern. We can take the actions John is proposing, and that will

close a lot of the possible holes in our security that we know about. But

if—and as we’ve been saying, it’s a big if—bad guys have been inside

our production systems, what we’ve experienced so far might not be



the full extent of nastiness they have planned for us. We can’t tell what

should be on our systems and what shouldn’t be. So there might still be

some bad code on our machines. Closing the holes in our security

doesn’t help with anything bad that’s already on the inside.”

“Okay,” said Barton. This sounded like bad news, but so far he’d

heard no recommendation. “And so that means we should . . . ?”

Ripley sighed again. “I think we need to shut down our production

systems for a period of time, say three or four days, wipe production

servers clean, and rebuild the production configuration from develop-

ment files. It’s unlikely, though not impossible, that the bad guys, if

there are any bad guys, reached into our developers’ machines. We

should be able to put our production systems back together with only

what should be there, and then we can keep tight control on them

thereafter by following our change control procedures better.”

“By shutting down our production systems,” Barton asked, “you re-

ally mean shutting down the company’s operations for that long?”

“Yes,” conceded Ripley. “Mostly. We could take calls and do some

things manually. But there’s no doubt it would be a big deal.”

Cho spoke: “We dust off and nuke the entire site from orbit. Eradi-

cate any nasties left on our production servers. But it’s really the only

way to be sure.”

“Can we,” asked Barton, “set up parallel systems built from develop-

ment files, then switch over to those before we take down our produc-

tion systems? Wouldn’t that help us avoid a shutdown?”

“Yes,” answered Ripley, “we could do that. It would be expensive, be-

cause we’d have to buy or otherwise acquire additional space and

equipment. And it would take time. Which is the biggest problem with

that idea. If the bad guys have more difficulties planned for us, that’s

time—definitely days, maybe a week or more—in which their plans

can execute. Waiting might mean we have more problems.”

“Just so I’ve got this clear,” said Barton, “You want me to go to Wil-

liams and tell him we need to shut down production computers as

soon as possible, and keep them down for, what, three to four days?”

“That’s about what it would take,” said Fenton. Barton realized that

his team had discussed it already and agreed on this plan of action.

The Hero’s Ordeal


“You realize that this is not our decision,” said Barton. “It’s Carl’s de-

cision. And I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think he’s going to like it. Nobody

outside IT is going to like it.”

No one said anything.

“Any ideas,” Barton asked, “about how we frame this shutdown from

a PR standpoint? What we say to our customers and the public about

why we’re shutting down for four days?”

Still no one said anything. It was Barton’s turn to sigh. “Okay,” he

said. “Let me think about it.”

He flipped his phone closed and opened an e-mail from Ruben that

contained a PowerPoint slide attachment, a plan for how to handle the

analyst meeting.

He looked at his watch. It was already 11:44 a.m. The meeting was in

a little more than two hours, and he still had to get downtown.


How should Barton handle the meeting with the analysts? What questions should he be prepared to answer and how should he answer them?

How vulnerable is your company (or a company that you know) to a denial of ser- vice (DoS) attack or intrusion? What should be done about such vulnerabilities?

Why can’t perfect IT system security be achieved? If security can never be per- fect, how should you manage against malicious threats?




1. For a fictionalized account of the weapons hackers use to break in, see Carolyn Meinel, “How Hackers Break In . . . and How They Are Caught,” Scientific American, Oc- tober 1998, 98–105.




Apache A public-domain, open source Web server

A/P Applications portfolio

APM Agile project management; also applications portfolio management

APP Aggregate project planning

BGP Border gateway control

CEO Chief executive officer

CFO Chief financial officer

CIO Chief information officer

CMM Capability maturity model

CORBA Common Object Request Broker Architecture

CPM Critical path method

CRM Customer relationship management

COO Chief operating officer

CQ Competes [versus] Qualifiers

DBA Database administration

DBMS Database management system

DoS Denial of service

DP Era Data processing era

EAI Enterprise application integration

ERP Enterprise resource planning

IDS Intrusion detection system

IPO Initial public offering

Series Overview


IR or IRP Infrastructure replacement project (as used in this book)

IT Information technology

ITIL Information technology infrastructure library

Java A high-level programming language developed by Sun Microsystems

KWYDK “Know what you don’t know” (as used in this book)

Linux An open source operating system

OCI Option creating investment (as used in this book)

Oracle Large software company, focused on database products

OSI Open systems interconnection

PC Personal computer

PDA Personal digital assistant

PERL Practical Extraction and Report Language

PERT Project Evaluation and Review Technique

PGP Pretty Good Privacy

PLM Product lifecycle management

RFP Request for proposal

ROI Return on investment

SaaS Software as a service

Sabre Semi-automated business research environment

SLA Service level agreement

SOA Service-oriented architecture

SQL Structured query language (originally SEQUEL: structured English query language)

SSL Secure sockets layer

Series Overiew


SYH2DP “Sometimes you have to duck a punch” (as used in this book)

TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol

TPM Traditional project management

Unix A multi-user, multitasking operating system

UWGDF “Understand what got Davies fired” (as used in this book)

VPN Virtual private network

YWLOY “You won’t last one year” (as used in this book)

Series Overview


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