Thursday, January 9, 2014

Due to circumstances beyond our control.

During the two weeks I was out on vacation, staff in my office noticed that files and folders they normally have access to on the "shared drive" were missing. Someone called in to the help desk and opened a ticket but nothing happened. When I returned to work on Monday, this issue was brought to my attention. The person who opened the ticket wasn't here that day, but I used their employee number and called in to follow up.

The woman I spoke to couldn't find a ticket for this person, so I opened a new one (update: after reviewing all the back and forth emails that I was privy to, it turns out that the other person did open a ticket. I have no idea why the somewhat grumpy help desk lady I talked to couldn't find it). I gave all the information I had: that as of December 18, staff couldn't access the folders and files on the shared drive. The folder that they used to use was "gone."

What we do here isn't rocket science, but it does impact our department's employees. We use the data on some of the files to create reports for our department's executives, who use those reports, in turn, to keep their bosses informed. Lawsuits and record-keeping and employee confidentiality are all impacted when our staff can't do their jobs.

The next day, I received word from the IT tech who had been working on our problem that our files and folders had been restored, but only through October 30th. Why this date, I wondered, and I emailed him, this and a few other concerns.

After a long and complicated chain of emails, this person finally said, "Due to circumstances beyond their control, the most recent backup/restore operation was back in October."

Other information was provided to me, but all you need to know right now is that the backups, which are supposed to be done incrementally and on a set schedule, were not done. For two months. Two months!

Oh, and he tried to blame it on us! He said, Had we received word when it was noticed that things had gone awry, this could have been prevented. How!? The backups would still not have been created because we have nothing to do with that process. We can only sit at our desks, do our work, and hope that some guy in a server room is answering "yes" when asked "do you wish to create backup" or whatever the procedure is. I assume it's more complex than this but who knows? Dudes. Set up an iPhone reminder to backup our work or something.

Some of the things that are standard operating procedure in my office are overly complex and not very efficient, but certainly recreating two months worth of work is not a very good use of time.

So I thought about this for awhile, and I decided that this guy doesn't understand what "circumstances beyond our control" really means... or, more likely, or hopes that I don't. "Circumstances beyond our control" means, to me, that as the dude responsible for setting up the backsup was reaching for the mouse to perform that very action... as his arm was stretched out, that dude suffered from catastrophic heart failure. Or a meteor, undetected by scientists, struck the building in which he was sitting, obliterating everything.

Anyway, I've also been working with another guy from something called the "Problem Solving Unit," who apparently follows behind our techs and ensure that proper customer service has been provided. That guy speaks my language, understands our dilemna, and is (apparently) riding the butts of the crew who screwed up. Actually, I don't know about that last part. They may all just be putting off the inevitable, which is to tell us that our work is lost.

The good news is, I've engendered a nice jocular relationship with the Problem Solving Unit guy. His name is Claude. I'm hoping he comes out here one day to meet us all. And maybe take us out to lunch.