IT pro outsources his own job to China

Many companies have saved money with IT outsourcing. But this probably isn’t what they had in mind. 

A tech employee at a U.S. critical infrastructure company was recently caught paying an IT outsourcing firm to do his job for him so he could slack off at work while collecting a substantial salary.

The unconventional arrangement was discovered by Verizon’s data breach investigation team, which was hired by the company after it discovered someone located in China had been logging into its network on a daily basis.

Verizon found that whoever was behind the breach was using the VPN credentials of a software developer identified only as “Bob.” Investigators examined Bob’s computer, assuming he was the victim of a hacking attack. However, they found PDF files containing invoices from a software development firm in Shenyang, China, and discovered the truth.

Apparently, Bob had been paying the IT outsourcing firm $50,000 a year to do his job while he collected his significantly higher salary. In the meantime, Bob spent his work days watching cat videos, making eBay purchases and browsing Facebook, the LA Times reports.

IT outsourcing a win in some cases

As absurd as the story is, it does contain some food for thought: In some cases, IT outsourcing can be the best option for companies. Apparently, Bob’s performance ratings were impeccable and his former employer considered him the best developer on staff. By going directly to the outsourcing firm, the company may have gotten the same results for a fraction of what it had been paying Bob.

And software development is a common area for organizations to outsource, as it’s often temporary work that requires specialized sets of skills.

According to a recent survey from IT services firm Bluewolf, the most common areas targeted for IT outsourcing are:

  1. Application development (outsourced by 46% of companies)
  2. Web development (39%)
  3. Application hosting (28%)
  4. Application maintenance (26%)
  5. Data center operations (23%)
  6. Disaster recovery (17%)
  7. Database administration (17%)
  8. Network operations (16%)
  9. IT security (15%), and
  10. Help desk (12%).

For help deciding what to outsource and tips on choosing a provider, see our earlier post on IT outsourcing.