Don't ask, don't tell, just keep customers happy

This company partners regularly with a big IT vendor, and the vendor issues the company president an "external consultant" user ID and SecurID card so he can access sales and support documents on the vendor's network, reports a pilot fish on the scene.

"Our users recently had to undergo a domain migration, the timing of which was self-selected and self-executed," fish says. "My boss, the company president, asked me to take care of it while he was away for the week.

"Despite all the automation's 'success' messages to the contrary, it was no longer possible to log in. So I called tech support."

Fish tells the support tech who he is and what the problem is. Support tech says he can't help fish -- only the user whose name is on the account.

Fish explains that the account is in the name of the president of the company, who doesn't really do these kind of things. Besides, fish asks, how could you tell who's on the other end of the phone anyway?

Tech replies that he would need to authenticate with the SecurID card. Ah, says fish, I have the card in front of me.

"He told me that I should hang up immediately, or he'd have to report the infraction -- someone giving their SecurID card to someone else," grumbles fish.

"I called back an hour later, and when I heard a different support voice on the other end of the line, I pretended to be my boss. The tech was willing and able to resolve the issue -- and didn't do a single thing to validate who I was."

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