Richard Ramis, AYS Dispatch, Inc.

So as the story goes, upper management was given marching orders. He had to get rid of the girl. She had been with them for many years and knew the operation like the back of her hand.

Although she was worth her weight in gold, she never hesitated reminding people of such. As a result, there was always a little friction but the company ran like a fine-tuned machine.

Things are different now, ownership realized more can be accomplished with less and any corner that could be cut had to be. Truth is, the manager was happy to lose her. He never could see eye to eye with her.

So, he arranges a sit down. And makes his point. We are in in survival mode. We may or may not escape corporate hospice, but I am going to have to let you go. He offers her 45-day severance, 30 days of health care and $500.00 in cash. She accepts it with no qualm, she saw it coming and knows deep down inside when she puts the word out that she is a free agent, this 18-year veteran will have no problems finding a new job.

So far as planned everything appears good. They shake, they hug, she cleans out her desk and she is gone.

A few hours later she is with some family members at the Olive Garden. Although it was supposed to be a family lunch with a celebratory tone, it was more a reflection. Where we are today, where we were, and how did we somehow manage to survive? I can’t really call it PTSD but once we got to this point is it survivor guilt or just deep contemplation?

Then the tranquil mood gets shocked back into reality. She receives a text, grabs her phone and sees the transportation software provider sent her a code. She knows what is happening. Management is trying to reset the password and she is holding the key to the candy store. At first, she just starts laughing out loud. The thought of these suits frantically trying to retake control have basically locked themselves out of their reservation network.

Although at her very core she is a sweetheart. She is having a real enigma. After some deep thoughts she makes two decisions. Firstly, she shuts off her phone, Secondly, she helps herself to a third bread stick.

People, let it be known. We are not in Kansas anymore. The old days and ways of terminating help are no longer with us. The landscape is littered with exes, jilted, disgruntled people leaving gaping holes of vulnerabilities within the midst of your businesses.

Another part of the equation is a large portion of the industry is run by multi-tasking middle management who for the lack of a better word are inept for the new task at hand.

The key is the codes. Passwords, log ins, administrative privileges. There is a virtual smorgasbord of data needed to run your business. More importantly one must have a very clear policy on how to change that information and in which order at a moment’s notice. Locally or long distance, in person or in some cases by remote control.

I could site several horrible instances where companies were nearly destroyed by vengeful misguided people but I wouldn’t want to glamorize or publicize such acts or actions.

The primary two elements in my thought process are 1) No one person has all data access. 2) Use outsiders, family, friends, etc. for your rapid response team deployment.

One of the best resources to help, develop and implement a plan is to study the Continuity of Government plan that Washington utilizes. That will outline the basic guidelines required to build your firewall.

This subject matter always reminds me of a food Network show where Anthony Bourdain is visiting a popular restaurant chain well known for a particular dish with a secret spice blend. They go on to explain how three different suppliers make the 9 different ingredients and once a month under lock and key, one of two elderly family members arrive to mix, bag, and distribute to their restaurants.

Never underestimate intellectual property and protocols.

In closing, keep your friends close, keep your frenemies closer.

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