IT at Lantana: Many Hats and Time Zones

Networking and server infrastructure are complex and made of many moving parts. It’s my job to ensure those parts work together seamlessly and efficiently. Put simply, server engineering/administration consists of setting up servers that host applications, or “serve” them to the world (i.e., websites, email servers, file servers, etc.) and network engineering/administration consists of making sure the servers and applications can talk to each other. My goal is to provide the best computing environment while keeping the systems available, consistent, and secure. This means that all information technology (IT) systems and data must be ready to use, and data must be secure, dependable, and available. I really enjoy helping others in any way I can and doing this from a technological standpoint is really a blessing.

Many Hats
At Lantana, I wear many hats, and it makes the job more exciting. In a smaller organization like ours, each member of my team must be able to take on the tasks of Network Admin, Systems Admin, Help desk, and more. A group of employees is not dedicated to each area of expertise—we all do a little bit of everything! I rely on my team to help me in many ways to ensure we are keeping data consistent and available and all needs are met for the company. For instance, I am on the West Coast, and I have a team member on the East Coast for early support. Also, in my absence, I have team members that can help out where needed (e.g., Help Desk, server reboots, troubleshooting).

I manage the IT of employees and contractors across 6 time zones world wide

Remote Challenges
Here at Lantana, we all work from our home offices across many time zones, which is challenging for IT. When dealing with “remote control” of a server or networking device, you must get it right. You can easily lock yourself out of a situation that you normally would have physical access to. I remember my first time setting up a new firewall for a location across the country. I had to configure this firewall to replace an older firewall. I was not physically there to test anything, so I double- and triple-checked my work prior to shipping the device to its final location. If the network firewall is not configured correctly, there is no access to anything in that network. Because we are remote, the only option in this situation would be to have the firewall shipped for reconfiguration and then shipped back to its original location. Luckily everything went off without a hitch. There are many configuration changes like these that must be done while no one else is working (generally weekends) but also in hours where most folks are done for the day. For instance, I can deploy critical patches to all machines on the East Coast in my afternoon just before the East Coast folks are done for the day.

Working from Home
Although working from home has its own challenges, it is certainly beneficial to home life. I get to spend more time with my family and more time on my “honey do list.” I have never figured out how much gas I have saved, but I’m sure it is substantial. During the first couple of years, I would get cabin fever and drive into town just to get out and about. There is certainly a different feel to being home “all the time,” and it takes a bit to get used to. However, I have had the chance to learn a lot about my home life and myself in this work environment. I am truly blessed to have this opportunity, and my family is very grateful.