[nSLUG] Dealing with a superior who believes they need root

D G Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Wed Nov 1 20:13:01 AST 2006

This is not specific to Linux, but as it touches on best practise for
*nix, I thought it might be an interesting discussion for the group.

This happened to a friend of mine...

Suppose your *nix savvy boss is laid off, a junior manager is
made into your new boss, and they know Windows and
networking and just enough Perl to be dangerous.

The new boss has root access to the DHCP/DNS server
through legacy arrangement, and uses it to update
host management shell and Perl scripts.  In the course
of doing that, (a) a cron script is left in an edited and untested state,
breaking DHCP, (b) /etc/init.d/dhcpd is edited for the sake of
the cron (rather than making PATH set in a wrapper script),
and (c) a dhcpd.log archive is accidentally deleted.

After the third problem, the sys admin asks the boss's boss
if they can remove the boss with root from that level of
access and use groups for read only access that the
network staff need to use.  However the boss's boss
knows little about IT - is a financial manager actually.

The challenge is: how to demonstrate to the boss's boss
that the boss is breaking good *nix sysadmin practises
and should leave the sysadmin tasks to those with
experience and knowledge of good practise.

To put it another way: where can one find an authority source
a non-IT person can understand, which discusses best practices
for *nix sysadmin and security - possibly in condensed reading
format rather than full book.



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