Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Margin Call and redundancy

As there are business novels, so there are business films. One such example would be Oliver Stone's Wall Street, another would be Up in the air, and even possibly Working Girl.  Dredging one's memory brings up The secret of my suce$s. I am mentioning these films because I have started watching Margin Call - at the moment, I don't have much time on my hands and so I've only watched about ten minutes of this film. Also, I don't want to write about the film but rather compare an event which takes place in the film's opening scene with real life - or maybe compare Israel with America.

The film starts - like 'Up in the air' - with two unnamed women walking into an office, calling someone aside then informing that person that he has been made redundant, he will receive half pay for the next six months, is required to accept the redundancy package within 24 hours (what happens if he refuses?), and then immediately is escorted off the premises, his mobile phone already disconnected.

By chance, I happened to see a redundancy notice given to one of our employees (I only saw it because I have to remove the person from the list of users in Priority). A meeting was held between him, his manager and a vice president, in which the reasons for his redundancy were presented. His final day of work is one calendar month from that meeting.

Whilst the American approach is better from a data safety point of view, it also seems unhuman. Why immediately disconnect the phone? It would seem that Israeli companies allow their workers less supervised use of their computers - and that month of grace would be more than enough time to remove all the personal information and store it elsewhere. It would also give the unscrupulous more than enough time to download sensitive data, such as a customer list.

Ironically, although I am in the place to do maximum damage to our data, I also have the least incentive to do so. I am not a salesman so I am not concerned with data about what we have sold to whom and at what profit. My knowledge is stored in my head - it's what enables me to be a consultant.

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