“SysAdmins are the gurus behind the scenes that keep us moving ahead. Home or business, keeping our lives in synch starts and stops with these hardworking folks. Ransomware, phishing attacks, viruses—cloud migrations, software/hardware updates, infrastructure architecture, website accessibility…want me to go on!! SysAdmins are constantly on the move in an always learning profession to keep us protected and our businesses/home lives running smoothly.” – Ken Barth, CEO of Catalogic Software.
The team at Catalogic would like to thank our IT Manager, Dawuan Myers, for his continuous help on all ends of our business. Check out Dawuan’s Q&A and learn from his experiences:
What is the day-to-day security part of your job?
Security is a big part of what I do every day. I spend a lot of my day doing what is necessary to keep our systems safe. We want to ensure we stay ahead of the curve to prevent ransomware attacks.
What actions have you taken for phishing prevention?
We have scheduled malware scanning on all our critical systems. We went from scanning once a day to scanning multiple times daily. We also train our users on what to do when they receive messages that look suspicious as most phishing attacks originate through email.
How did the work-from-home transition affect your job role?
The WFH (Work from home) transition was a bit tough in the beginning. In IT, you are so used to interacting with people face-to-face. Going from face-to-face interaction to interacting more on Microsoft Teams and email was a bit challenging. It took some time to adjust to this “new normal.”
What is the most challenging part of your job?
It is always a challenge to keep up with the security patches that are released daily. I often receive vulnerability alerts for the various applications that we use. We have systems in place that allow us to auto-patch most of our systems. However, there are a few systems that require manual updates.
Sysadmins are responsible for a wide range of duties, but what are the most essential?
With ransomware attacks at an all-time high, communicating with our users, making sure we are always aware and alert, as well as keeping our systems up to date is extremely important.
Make sure you show your appreciation to all System Administrators today!
Catalogic has had a team in Warsaw, Poland for nearly three years and how it came about was completely unplanned. I visited a Warsaw-based company, Storware, in February 2018, a trip that led to Catalogic investing in them. While there, I found the people of Poland to be so impressive. They have big hearts, are fun and hospitable and possess a great blend of work ethic, hunger and a relentless pursuit towards perfection. This led to us building a team there (first for UI) and having the pleasure of working with over 50 people in Poland since then.
I still remember the look on their faces when I first met the Polish team and declared “I don’t drink, I don’t eat meat, I don’t smoke and I don’t eat carbs (I was on keto).” While I was worried they’d be offended, they instead went out of their way to find a nice Thai restaurant that we still visit every time I go. Every visit, they picked me up from airports irrespective of when I land, and made sure I never eat breakfast or dinner alone (despite almost no overlap in our cuisine preferences). They enthusiastically took me around the old and new towns, and even changed their team building events to do something I also enjoy (bowling).
I showed up once in Prague with severe back spasms from a long flight, barely able to stand up and in debilitating pain. Our friends in Poland sent someone that lived near the Czech border all the way to Prague to ensure I could get some pain killers from a pharmacy. My next stop was Warsaw and while there, they arranged first-class medical care and physical therapy for a quick recovery. I relay these experiences as examples of why I am the least surprised to hear about the hospitality the Polish people have shown towards the people of Ukraine fleeing their country out of no choice.
No one walks away a winner in a war. We all lose while finding ourselves in the middle of senseless pursuit of power. And things are personal to our Polish team in this conflict, given we have an employee whose father is currently in Ukraine, and the massive immigration of the dislocated people of Ukraine. I however take hope in seeing how the people of Poland (and other neighboring countries) have rolled their sleeves up and are restoring faith in humanity and that good will eventually prevail.
Some of our employees are hosting Ukrainian families in their apartments. They tell heartbreaking stories of how young children wake up in the middle of the night scared and crying and how their mothers put up a brave face in front of them, only to cry themselves after the children are asleep. They talk about how their lives were so normal until just a few days ago. Some of our team members are also volunteering at non-profit organizations and some even at the Ukrainian border.
One employee was inconsolable after receiving messages full of desperation from 30+ refugee families when she published her contact information, volunteering to host a family. She wished she could help them all but could only host one family. Another employee was apologizing for not joining an update call, but when probed, it turned out he was laying new floors and painting his ancestral home getting it ready to host refugee families. Only a few months ago, we had talked about how this house was partly ravaged in a recent fire and led to devastation and death in his close-knit family. We are so proud and moved to know all these brilliant people and work with them day in and day out.
As a global company, Catalogic is committed to supporting our Poland team in helping Ukrainian refugees in any way possible, and we are thankful for the personal time and efforts of our local employees. Our host employees are taking dislocated families on a shopping trip to get them basic needs and we will be doing this again a few more times. One employee noted that it was the first time they had seen them smile in a week. We also give time-off to people that are volunteering and we help cover their expenses. We’re also taking steps to create jobs in that market, given that is one of the more sustainable ways we can help. We sent our first offer letter last week to someone dislocated from this crisis, the same day we first interviewed her. She has since accepted our offer and look forward to her journey with us. We will continue to give preference to hiring there and certainly hope to put a few smiles on their faces, however fleeting that moment may be, in the larger scheme of things.
We are also publishing a series of vetted charities for our global teams to donate to and we are sharing the many heart-warming stories to inspire our global teams to raise funds and help everyone in need. We hope that you will join us as well.
Great work to all the System Administrators in the world! These hard working, dedicated men and women play a huge role in all our lives. From our desks to our home offices, they are the backbone of the technology that integrates into our daily routines. They jump in when needed and often necessary, will work 24-hour days and thru the weekend to troubleshoot outages, increase capacity, fight ransomware, or answer questions from us. One of their major responsibilities is to make sure they have a data protection insurance policy if data is lost, a final backstop to protect our business data, our system configurations, and our corporate histories.
We’d like to take the time now to show our appreciation to all System Administrators, from our team to yours!
For Catalogic Software, we would like to thank our IT Manager, Dawuan Myers, for continuous help on all ends of our business. Please check out Dawuan’s Q&A and learn from his experiences:
Dawuan Myers – Q&A
What keeps you up at night? Not what many will say. Being part of a backup company where I know I have robust recovery processes and products allows me to sleep pretty well at night.
These days, my nightmares often have to do with waking up to a $100k cloud bill from a runaway workload or a code change deployment. It has happened once before and hopefully never again!
What do you see as the biggest emerging threat? People taking advantage of your weaknesses is a profession. Recent Ransomware and cybersecurity trends are maddening, and it’s hard to fathom that there is an industry built to make your life miserable. The thought of going through a major attack over a long weekend when I am looking forward to spending time with family is just sickening to me.
What would be your advice to management to make a sysadmin’s job easier? Our management team has been great and incredibly supportive. They allow us to keep our systems up to date with patches which helps us fight any known cyber threats before reaching our network. If I had to give any advice; it would be to continue to be supportive and patch your systems.
What would be your request to your users that would make your job easier? Be safe and continue to communicate.
With all that is going on with malware and ransomware threats, I always advise our users to take a safe approach and communicate anything that looks suspicious. Being proactive is always better than being reactive.
What would you want to do more of? Or learn more of?
The Linux OS is something I would like to continue to learn more about. Coming into Catalogic Software 7 years ago with a Windows OS background, I needed to learn Linux OS and commands quickly. We do have a mixed environment, however a lot of what we do is based around Linux. I would like to take the next step up from being an Intermediate Linux administrator.
We know you just got promoted to be an IT Manager. Congratulations! What are you most looking forward to, in your new role? Thanks! I look forward to continuing to improve our network and help support and manage the cloud infrastructure costs forCloudCasa, our new cloud native, Kubernetes backup-as-a-service.