Managing the Virus Hunters

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CASE APPLICATION: Managing the Virus Hunters Imagine what life would be like if your product were never finished, if your work were never done, if your market shifted 30 times a day. The computer-virus hunters at Symantec Corp. don't have to imagine. That's the reality of their daily work life. At the company's Response Lab in Santa Monica, California, described as the "dirtiest of all our networks at Syamntec", software analysts collect viruses and other suspicious code and try to rigure out how they work so security updates can be provided to the company's customers. By the door to the lab, there's even a hazardous materials box marked "Danger" where they put all the disks, tapes, and hard drives with the nasty viruses that need to be…show more content…
If you find them in any part of the world, you just go after them." The response-center team's makeup reflects that. For instance, one senior researcher is from Hungary; another is from Iceland; and another works out of her home in Melbourne, Florida. But they all share something in common: They're all motivated by solving problems. The launch of the Blaster-B worm in August 2003 changed the company's approach to dealing with viruses. The domino effect of Blaster-B and other viruses spawned by it meant the frontline software analysts were working around the clock for almost 2 weeks. The "employee burnout" potential made the company realize that its virus hunting team would now have to be much deeper talent-wise. Now, the response center's team numbers in the hundreds and managers can rotate people from the front lines, where theyr'e responsible for responding to new security threats that crop up, into groups where they can help with new product development. Others write internal research papers. Still others are assigned to develop new tools that will help their colleagues battle the next wave of threats. There's even an individual who tries to figure out what makes the virus writers tick- and the day never ends for these virus hunters. When Santa Monica's team ifnishes its day, colleagues in Tokyo take over. When the Japanese team finishes its day, it hands off to Dublin, who then hands back to Santa Monica for the new
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