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Morning Lineup – January 22

Tuesday Morning – Can You Outsource Yourself?

Sign this guy up!  He may have been cheating his boss a little bit, but it didn't cost the company anything.  And this fellow displays a remarkable sense of ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking.  "Bob", as he's referred to in a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, is a software developer for a major company here in the U. S.  And you know how these sorts of outfits love to save money by sending a lot of their work to Asian and Indian firms who will do the tasks at a fraction of the cost because of their extremely low wage-base over there.

Well, Bob found out that some mighty good developers in China were willing to perform his duties for pennies, so he contracted with a Chinese consulting firm to do his assignments for him and email them back, costing him very little yet leaving a day free to surf the web.  It worked out nicely.  The Chinese developers did such good work that Bob was getting excellent performance reviews.  And anytime that his boss strolled the aisles of the cubicle room, Bob was always busy, absorbed in his computer terminal.  If the boss had taken a few moments to look, he would have seen that Bob was logging on to Reddit at 9 am for an hour before switching over to YouTube to catch the latest video postings until luch time arrived.  After lunch he would catch a session on e-Bay before finishing his afternoon with a good Facebook session.  Then he would dash off an email to his boss encapsulating what he had "done" during the day before logging off and heading home.

After quite some time had gone by, Bob's employer starting noticing some unusual traffic on their network from China every day, but couldn't figure out what they were doing.  So the company hired Verizon's Risk Management Team to investigate.  The LA Times picks up the story:

Andrew Valentine was hired to investigate when the company, a Verizon client, saw that someone from Shenyang, China, was logging in to its computer network during every workday. The breach was traced to Bob's VPN network, but he had to be innocent, the victim of some kind of breach, the company figured. He was a quiet family man, "someone you wouldn't look at twice in an elevator," Valentine writes. And Bob was sitting there, working at his desk, every day. But when Valentine's staff looked more closely at Bob's computer, they ultimately found the smoking gun.

Bob had PDFs of hundreds of invoices from a third-party contractor in Shenyang for developer services. Bob had been paying the contractor $50,000 a year, while he himself made hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Evidence even suggested he had the same scam going across multiple companies in the area. All told, it looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about fifty grand annually," Valentine reported.

Once he was exposed, Bob was promptly fired and his company lost their best developer.

We have to outsource ourselves now and grab our equipment check clipboards.  So let's get started while I run some more coffee through the B-O-M.  See you back in the day room in a little while.

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