See, there really are benefits to trying encryption

Sysadmin pilot fish draws the task of investigating encryption for his company's backups.

"We have a mainframe that runs our core system," says fish. "Each night we backup to an on-site tape and then make a copy of the tape to go off-site. Couriers shuttle the tape back and forth between the sites each day."

The obvious place to apply encryption is to those off-site tapes, so fish decides to create an encrypted copy of a tape to show how well the process works.

And the encryption process works fine every time. But when fish tries to decrypt the tape, no data comes out.

After fish spends several weeks experimenting, talking to vendors and growing more and more frustrated, one of his co-workers asks whether he has checked the script that generates the copy of the tape.

That seems unlikely to be the problem -- the same script has been used for years -- but fish checks the code anyway.

Turns out that, a few years before, the company swapped out the tape drives for newer models -- but the script was never updated.

Sighs fish, "For the last several years our off-site copy was never made. We had couriers shuttling a blank tape back and forth to the sites, as well as a replacement schedule in place for a tape that never had any data on it.

"I fixed the script, and now the off-site tape is checked regularly."

Sharky will remove all the identifying information from your true tale of IT life. So send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

Now you can post your own stories of IT ridiculousness at Shark Bait. Join today and vent your IT frustrations to people who've been there, done that.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon