Imagine you’re at a crazy packed party. Out of the corner of your eye you notice a dude in the corner who looks to be quite ill. You’re not too keen on getting sick so you make every effort to avoid contact. Before long you forget about the dude. Then, out of nowhere, he starts grinding on the chick next to you and manages to throw his germ-filled sweat all over. To counter the attack you snatch the Purell from your pocket and begin a liberal application. Good-bye germs. To be extra safe, you head to the doctor the next day to make sure you didn’t pick up a nasty bug.
DOCTOR: How are you feeling?
YOU: Pretty good.
DOCTOR: Let’s have a closer look.
The doctor takes your temperature, and checks your ears, nose, and throat.
DOCTOR: Everything looks good.
YOU: Excellent. That’s a relief.
DOCTOR: Well, just to be sure I’m going to take out your liver.
YOU: Wait? What?
DOCTOR: Don’t worry, I’ll set you up with a new one.
How does this make sense? It doesn’t. But this is exactly how every tech support and IT department manages issues. Instead of fixing (or identifying) a problem (if there is one) they immediately default to “delete and replace.” W-T-F?
Case in point. The other day someone managed to spread a virus through their Yahoo! Instant Messenger. As it unfolded, people on the individual’s chat list were sent a message that read something to the extent of, “Is this really you on Facebook?” along with an accompanying link to an .EXE file. If the recipient clicked the link, the file would execute and unleash a virus on the local machine. Well, I got one of those messages, and my anti-virus software caught and quarantined the virus before I could even read the message. Close call. Glad I dodged that bullet.
The next day I lost access to the network. I call tech support and learn that they’ve cut my comp’s access because my IP address was linked to the virus. How’d they know that? IT did a remote scan of outgoing traffic from the my location. The sneaky instant message I received the day before managed to ping some Midwest server as it arrived. Nothing was sent, but tech support wanted to make sure. OK, I can dig that. Good heads up call. So the next logical step would be to come over and have a look at my computer, right? Wrong. IT decided they would yank the hard drives of all recipients (including Mac users who cannot execute an executable file) and replace them with shiny new ones. W-T-F?
Would you replace the contents of your house if your house is nearly burgled; prevented because you had a security system in place? No. You would take comfort in knowing the security system works. So why does IT install anti-virus software and firewalls on local machines if they’re just going to format a drive in the event of a failed attack? Who the eff knows.
Sadly, this how the majority of my tech support experiences unfold.Time and again, regardless of the company, the support analyst’s first, FIRST, instinct is to wipe everything and start from scratch. It doesn’t make sense.
What do you suggest? How about, instead of hiring some moron who used to fix computers back in the 90s to do the work, you hire someone who demonstrates an understanding of computers and networks. Our people are highly qualified. Besides, they don’t have time to manage all of these individual computers. And furthermore [insert ad nauseum excuses]. Stop! Stop with the excuses, and stop hiring support “specialists” who are not qualified, ridiculously lazy, or who just plain suck at their job. Seriously, stop.
BTW, cousin Deb, I’m sending you an application in the mail. You would totally rock the house here. Everyone else, you suck. So chime in and leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.