Re: Who is your customer?
A previous employer had a customer somewhere in the non-Arab Middle East. How did I find this out? I got a support call from the area's epecialist reseller sales and support agent:
"Hi <local_reseller>, I hear you are having problems. Can you tell me the customer ID please?"
"No, I'm not allowed"
"Okay - that's strange. Fine, can you send me on the logs and the output.file from the main process?"
"No, again I'm not allowed. However I can get them to read out the file and I can read that to you..."
I see chinese whispers in my immediate future. However, given that this local sales group are stellar performers and brought decent sales inwards, I was instructed by my bosses to proceed with the chinese whispers even though it was going to take a long time.
It turned out that the reseller was onsite with a small angry Middle Eastern nation's specialist security forces' headquarters, where he was in a room that was one half of the airgap to their internal network. On the opposite side of the room, past a bulletproof partition with monitored comms, was sitting a very pretty lady facing the reseller, sitting at a PC. That PC was connected to their red network. Only employees with certain security clearances were allowed to see that screen. Oh, and behind each of the IT people were two well armed soldiers with weapons that had wear signs on the barrels and guards (i.e. competent and well used). The airgap was very heavily enforced.
I did end up solving their problem even if the call took most of the day.
I think the employer's products were not well liked by that group as later that year a bug in the code of the ring-0 driver needed for the core functionality took down the core internal Windows server cluster belonging to the bank that hosted that security group's payroll accounts. That Windows Server cluster had been designed to withstand a moderate nuclear blast with having a hot-hot config separated by approx 65km. The kernel driver bluescreened all nodes in both sites during boot. That particular support phone bridge lasted over a week with VPs and the lead devs in the country of build being permanently on the call. Fun times.
I'm still not sure if that security forces group know of my existence, and if they do, whether that's a bad thing or not.