Reasonable Expenses

My boss assigns me to support a new department, thinking they might need some extra attention.  I get a call from a really, really nice guy having some issues.  Turns out, their whole office has been neglected for ages, they have issues with network connectivity and, possibly some malware.  I can’t be sure without taking a look myself, and I can’t fix anything without logging in as an admin.  I’m very eager to help.

“Yeah, I’m sorry to hear you haven’t had support for a while.  Honestly, in order to even get started, I’d have to check out this computer, run some tests, and if you don’t have the admin login, I’m going to have to be physically at the computer so I can override it.”

“Oh, that sounds great!  There’s just one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“The computer is in Rome.”

“… You know, I really think this constitutes a need for a company-paid trip.”

Obey Wheaton’s Law!

As some may recall, a few months back, I pulled the trigger on beginning my own IT cybersecurity company, and it started off rather slowly, despite my best efforts in advertising and word of mouth. In August, I was invited to join a business networking group in my area that met once a week for a breakfast meeting/conference and to pass along buisness, and which only allows one member per business field, meaning in a group comprising major lawyers/law firms, doctors, accountants, real estate agents, and several local and national banks, I was the sole IT person there. They were only too happy to have me aboard, and with very good reason from what I discovered soon enough.

Slowly, I began hearing horror stories that the previous IT company representative they had, who was the owner and head tech of the company… let’s just say he was a certified, Grade-A jackass. He overcharged the other members every chance he got, told them to get equipment that was either unnecessary, a horribly bad and overpriced mismatch for their business and then either refused to set it up or would set it up so badly, they’d be forced to call him back at extra $350 hourly expense, gave vague and contradictory advice, his schpeals every meeting were little more than “Look at me, rah rah rah” sessions with very vague info on what he actually did, and in one case, flat out told one of the other members in the chapter who’s the owner of a prominent accounting firm in the State, with customers covering a good chunk of the Western Hemisphere, and whose soda budget is bigger than half the member’s salaries combined, that he wouldn’t provde tech support for her company any more because her company was now too small for him. Needless to say, when the annual membership committee met, they gave this guy Das Boot, letting the other chapters in the state know not to bring this guy in.

In just the month I’ve been with them so far, they’ve referred some good business my way, and that’s just the beginning. I already have three more major referrals from them, two with the possibility of being $6k-7k each for cybersecurity pen tests, a third from the vice president of the state chapter to do his company’s annual PC cleanup, and yesterday, the lady who’s the head of $accountingFirm was so impresed that I got rid of all the bloatware the previous IT guy had put on her computer, making her computer usable again, she wants me to be her go-to IT guy from here on out and even asked me to do some reasearch for her on a new SAN/NAS system with a virtual AD server so she can store the 45+ years of digitized client files such that her employees are able to better access them, since the previous IT guy refused to take the job. And she told me yesterday as I was finishing up, that she would do everything in her power to steer more IT business my way, especially from some of her prominent clients that have businesses of their own, or who are in need of cybersecurity as well as some good old-fashioned tech support.

Just goes to show that obeying Wheaton’s Law has it’s perks.

It’s official

I took my final certification exam earlier today, and I’m officially a certified Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator. I’ve got a bit of a break before my next course in June for Ethical Hacking 🙂

A little amusement for a while…

Out of the blue, one day, I got an email from RiffRaff, a man of renown on the old TSC board, asking if I could do a favor for him and his employer, who we will call $BoozeStore. It seems that $BoozeStore did not own the $ domain; it had been purchased by the IT-guy before the guy RiffRaff replaced, and he had never bothered to turn over the credentials. After leaving under a cloud, he had eventually offered the domain back to $BoozeStore for an exorbitant fee — apparently about mid five figures. Riff was hoping that I could negotiate this guy down to a more reasonable number – they were hoping $500, but could go as high as $1000.

Figured I, why not? Favor for a friend and all that. So I hit the sales site, a very fancy site for high-profile name transfers, and offered $500. It told me, natch, that was too low to even pass on to the client. Par, I figured. But I noticed that I seemed to be the only bidder.

Two days later, I hit the site again, for $600. Still too low. But this time, a site salesman came back to me suggesting that I should significantly increase my offer. This is where the only part of the story that I have any right to be proud of happened: I bought the domain $ and told the guy that my own client was Canadian, as I was, and he felt that the .ca domain was more valuable to him as a Canadian entity than the .com domain would be — and cost $26 a year without any up front expenditure. And offered $650. They countered at around $2000.

With my cover story firmly in place, now, I could afford a bit of golden silence. So it sat there for the better part of a month, until I finally offered $700. All through this, Riff is running interference with $BoozeStore owners, micromanagers all, and I don’t hear any of it until I send out the $700 offer. Riff tells his people this, and I am in the mail loop for a while. Which is interesting because $BoozeStore managers start telling me to do the things I’m already doing. And where Riff has had to sit and take this, I find it amusing, because of course they have no power over me: my net investment is $26 and some emails at this point, and it is very cheap for me to hang up and walk away at any time. Having nothing personally depend on the outcome makes it easier for me to see the humor in the $boss’ vacillations.

Eventually the site comes back with a counter at $1050, which I grudgingly accept, pay off, and transfer to $BoozeStore. Riff sends a personal check for the $1050 plus $26 — I guess he owns the $ domain now if he wants it — plus a little over for my time and putting up with $boss.

Now, what’s left for RiffRaff is to figure out who owns the $ domain, which is what they were using while $ was in limbo, and reclaim that as well…