June 27, 2001

Revenge of the laid-off techies

Author: JT Smith

BusinessWeek: "Pink slips have always engendered bad feelings and, on occasion,
irrational acts. What's different now is the Internet and the increasing ubiquity of computer
networks. During the last economic downturn, in the early 1990s, a far smaller percentage of
employees used corporate computer networks. Furthermore, companies employed fewer
workers who had the technological knowhow to do any real damage to an enterprise beyond
trashing their own desktop machine or sending out angry e-mail.

But these days, "many companies are reliant on their employees having access to their
networks," points out Black. In 1990, a company might have had a few system administrators
and a handful of other technically savvy personnel, whereas now they employ firewall
engineers, database engineers, router operators, Java programmers, and many other
technically proficient specialists. Any one of them might possess sufficient knowledge to do
serious damage."

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