This small vendor provides software to big banks, says a pilot fish who helps keep everything running.

“Part of our job requires supporting the installation at the customer, who happens to be far, far away,” fish says. “In order to do this remotely, we need to VPN into the bank’s network so we can troubleshoot the system.”

The bank has set up an account for the vendor’s techs to use, so that’s not a problem. But logging in requires the use of a security token — a little device displaying a number that changes every minute. So far, so good: Fish and his cohorts can log in and fix problems.

But then comes a request for off-hours support. That creates a logistical problem: There are three techs who rotate on-call duties, but only one security token.

Fish’s team puts in a request for more accounts and tokens, but the bank moves at the speed of a very large corporation — it’s clear that nothing will happen on that end any time soon.

After a few attempts at handing off the security token during the weekend, along with a few early morning wakeup calls that begin, “Hey, can you read me the number off the doohicky?” one of the vendor’s engineers comes up with a solution.

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