. “Metadata make databases easy to use, for both authorized and unauthorized purposesl’ Explain what organizations should do in light of this fact.
Guide i3[S3[:,?’o “My name is ChriS and r do systems support for our group. I configure the new computers, set up the network, make sure the servers are operating, and so forth. I also do all of the database backups. I’ve always liked computers. After high school, I worked odd jobs to make some money, then I got an associate degree in information technology from our local community college.
‘i\n1way, as I said,I make backup copies of our databases. One weekend, I didn’t have much going on, so I copied one of the database backups to a DVD and took it home. I had taken a class on database processing as part of my associate degree, and we used SQL Server (our database management system) in my class. In fact, I suppose that’s part of the reason I got the job. Anyway it was easy to restore the database on my computer athome, and I did.
“Of course, as they’ll tell you in your database class, one of the big advantages of database processing is that databases have m€tadata,
or data that describe the content of the database. So, although I didn’t know what
tables were in our database, I did know how to :ccess the SQL Server metadata. I just queried a :able called sysTables to learn the names of our ables. From there it was easy to find out what :olumns each table had.
“I found tables with data about orders, -ustomers, salespeople, and so forth, and, just to rnuse myself, and to see howmuch of the query rnguags SQL that I could remember, I started – laying around with the data. I was curious to , row which order entry clerk was the best, so I ‘:arted querying each clerk’s order data, the total umbeiof orders, total order amounts, things .ie that. It was easy to do and fun.
“I know one of the order entry clerks, Jason, : retty well, so I started looking at the data for his
:deis. I was just curious, and it was very simple rrQL. I was just playing around with the data
hen I noticed something odd. All of his biggest :ders were with one company, Valley Appli-
:rces, and even stranger, every one of its orders ad a huge discount. I thought, well, maybe
“:at’s typiial. Out of curiosity, I started looking -: data for the other clerks, and very few of them -,:d an order with Valley Appliances. But, when ,–ev did, Valley didnt get a big discount’ Then I . oi<ed at the rest of Jason’s orders, and none of -.em had much in the way of discounts, either’
“The next Friday, a bunch of us went out for . beer after work. I happened to see Jason, so I .’ked him aboutValley Appliances and made a . xe about the discounts. He asked me what I
-‘.eant, and then I told him that I d been looking .: the data for fun and that I saw this odd pat-
=rn. He just laughed, said he just’did his job,’ -id then changed the subject.
“Well, to make a long story short, when I got rvork on Monday morning, my office was
eaned out. There was nothing there except a – -,te telling me to 80 see my boss. The bottom :le was, I was fired. The company also threat-
,led that if I didnt return all of its data, I d be in . -,urt for the next 5 years . . . things like that’ I was -, mad I didn’t even tell them about Iason’ Now -r’problem is that I’m out of a job, and I can’t . .aCtly use my last company for a reference'”
Discussion Questions 1. Where did Chris go wrong?
2. Do you think it was illegal, unethical, or neither for Chris to take the database home and query the data?
3. Does the company share culpability with Chris?
4. What do you think Chris should have done upon discovering the odd pattern in Jason’s orders?
5. What should the company have done before firing Chris?
6. ls it possible that someone other than Jason is involved in the arrangement with Valley Appliances? What should Chris have done in light of that possibility?
7. What should Chris do now?
8. “Metadata make databases easy to use, for both authorized and unauthorized purposesl’ Explain what
organizations should do in light of this fact.