The following is part four of an ongoing fictional story, based on a true-to-life situation. (If you would like to get caught up, parts one, two, and three are also available.) The names of companies and people are fictitious, but the situations they face are the same as those faced by many companies. Perhaps, as you read the events unfolding at Gensui Acme Imaging, you will see similarities to the challenges you face as well as ways to meet them.
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eter Terrell, Gensui Acme Imaging's Vice President of Technology, sat at his desk engrossed in his
email. Each morning, like this one, he scanned status updates from direct reports, various system
notifications and threaded conversations with various peers and subordinates. His goal was to get a
handle on what needed his immediate attention and what could wait.
The months since Gensui Imaging's merger with Acme Co. had been frantic ones for the entire Information
Technology department. Combining the computer systems of two different companies was complicated and time-
consuming at all levels from senior management down to junior technicians. The only certainty was change.
Absorbed in his triage, Peter failed to notice that his Manager of Messaging Systems, Valerie Wright, had
appeared at his open office door.
She knocked to get his attention. “Have a minute?”
Peter looked up from this laptop screen, “If it's good news.”
“It's not,” Valerie informed him as she stepped into his office anyway.
Peter's shoulders dropped as he sighed. After a pause, he gestured to the chair in front of his desk and Valerie
took a seat.
Peter braced himself, then asked, “Okay. What is it?”
“Ryan lost his laptop,” Valerie said. “Well, had it stolen, apparently?”
“Head of accounting, Ryan? Ryan Thurmond?”
“Yep. He was on a trip out west and his rental car was broken into. His laptop case was on the passenger seat.”
It had taken a moment for Peter to catch up, but now he was wondering why this news was coming from his
Messaging Systems Manager. It seemed more of an issue for Desktop Services and, even then, not one that
needed a face-to-face conversation. The company had internal systems setup for procurement and even
reporting lost and stolen property.
“And this is a Messaging issue because...?”
“Ryan had local mail archives on his laptop,” Valerie revealed. “The Risk Assessment scan we completed last
month shows us what is included in those archives.”
Peter processed this. “And now they're gone...,” he started.
“And we don't have backups of local files,” Valerie completed the picture for her boss. “The messages in that
archive were the only copies.”
“What can we do at this point?” Peter asked.
“For Ryan's mail, nothing. What's gone is gone.”
“I see. Can we do anything going forward?”
“From my perspective, since I care most about the messages and being complaint with retention policies, we
need to get these archives off all laptops and to a place where we can manage them effectively. And there are
other risks besides theft to all this distributed data.”
“Such as?” Peter fished.
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“Hard drives crash. Users do stup... I mean, make mistakes. They can delete whole files on their machines
thinking they are saving space or they can trash individual messages within the archives. All bad things.”
Peter nodded his understanding of the issue. “I assume you have a solution in mind already,” Peter stated. He
knew Val's approach. Along with the problem, she always came with a solution or, at least, some suggestions.
Valerie smiled. “Sherpa Software has a service that will consolidate distributed archives back to our servers
where we can apply retention policies, back up the files and search them when needed. Since we have the
results of their Risk Assessment scan, we also know who has these files and their sizes.”
“And you have a quote, if I know my Val.”
Valerie placed the document on Peter's desk almost before he had finished his sentence. As she left, it occurred
to him that Valerie could—and, given her new role, she should—be empowered to make these decisions herself.
Yes indeed, nothing was certain but change.
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About the Author
As the Product Manager for Compliance Attender for Notes, Grant is responsible for product
research and development, pre-sales technical support (e.g., Demos), post-sales technical
support and competitive research.
Grant joined Sherpa Software in 2007 and has 17 years of experience in Information
Technology. Of those, more than 16 were spent building applications with Lotus Notes and
Domino. He worked with a wide range of company sizes and across several industries
including insurance, consulting, venture capital, manufacturing, software and more.
Grant is an IBM Certified Advanced Application Developer and an expert in email management and compliance,
LotusScript, Notes Formula Language, application design and security. He is also skilled in C/C++ and Java
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for Notes and Domino. Grant is accomplished in web delivered
He graduated in 1995 from the Career Development Institute with a Programmer Analyst Diploma. Grant spends
his off time with his wife, Lydia, of 19 years and their three retired greyhound racers, Rio, Wavorly and Oriole.