“Work That Matters” is a series in which ECS experts discuss their roles and responsibilities and the larger impact they have on the workplace, community, and world. In this installment, we interview Ramona Zilligen, project manager on the Army Endpoint Security System (AESS). Ms. Zilligen manages teams of ECS employees across the globe as they work to protect critical Army networks from cyberattacks.
Q: What is the role of AESS in protecting the Army’s IT infrastructure?
A: Defending the Army’s IT networks from cyberattacks isn’t easy. With systems and personnel located around the world, the Army has almost a million endpoints that need to be protected! In order to gain visibility over these endpoints, the Army partnered with ECS to develop AESS, an advanced cyberthreat defense (ACTD) solution.
AESS integrates advanced cybersecurity technologies such as endpoint security, visibility, remediation, and orchestration, to continuously monitor Army networks and protect them from cyberthreats.
Q: Defending Army networks sounds like a 24/7 job! What role does ECS play in operating AESS?
A: ECS is the managed service provider (MSP) for AESS. We are responsible for delivering, operating, and maintaining all facets of the AESS platform. It’s a big operation! The Army has regional cybersecurity centers (RCCs) across the globe, from Korea to Germany to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where I work. Our team of cybersecurity experts work around the clock, 24/7/365, to monitor the Army’s digital landscape, track potential malicious activity, and uncover the latest threat actor tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your role as project manager.
A: AESS is a complex web of people, technology, and stakeholders. As project manager, I oversee the operations of our technology partners to ensure that their teams are meeting customer expectations, deliverables, and goals. I also help run our project management office (PMO), which helps set the management processes, policies, and methods for all AESS personnel.
Q: You’ve had a long career working on Army IT solutions. What differentiates ECS as a managed service provider?
A: I’ve supported the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) on and off for about two decades. My career has taken me all over the world, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of people in the business. I have to give a lot of credit to Matt Borman, vice president at ECS and the project manager in charge of AESS. I can’t praise him enough. He is a fantastic person to work for and has helped build a great team at Fort Huachuca and on AESS.
The biggest difference I’ve found at ECS is the people. When I talk with industry professionals, I like to tell them, “ECS hires unicorns.” They don’t hire people just to fill seats on a government contract. ECS seeks out unique and outstanding individuals who fit the culture and the program they’re supporting. I am grateful to be part of the ECS cybersecurity team, knowing each day, I continue to grow and learn alongside my wonderful team members, while helping to support the Army’s network against cyber threats worldwide.