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ECS Systems Engineer Rob Laposta oversees some of the most important servers, storage, and virtual machines in the world.

The Army Endpoint Security Solution (AESS) that ECS provides for U.S. Army Cyber Command protects between 800,000 and 1.2 million U.S. Army endpoints around the world from 1.5 million malicious events per month.

The AESS is the only true managed security service used by the U.S. Army. It’s also the only deployed, fully integrated cybersecurity solution that offers all the endpoint security and management capabilities required by Joint Force Headquarters ― DoD Information Network.

The AESS is delivered from a handful of U.S. Army data centers located around the world, and that’s where Rob’s work comes in. The many racks of servers and storage components in those data centers — along with the virtual machines running on them — are the focus of his passion, dedication, and hard work.

Q: Could you give us an overview of the work you do and where you do it?

Sure. I don’t deal with the AESS itself. I build and maintain the house it lives in. By that I mean software-defined data centers located on Army bases around the world. It’s from these data centers that ECS delivers the AESS.

Typically, we manage everything remotely from our home base, Fort Huachuca, here in southern Arizona, and from our nearby corporate office and test lab. We run 24/7 operations, so there’s always someone here to answer the phone.

I normally travel once or twice a year. We don’t have personnel at every data center, and some technical issues require a hands-on fix. I might also travel to deploy additional servers and storage disk shelves, when needed.

Q: Your work has you travelling a lot lately. Why is that?

Yes, I’ve been working onsite at bases in Kuwait, Germany, Hawaii, and elsewhere. We’re updating our equipment. In the fall, we replaced our storage components and added disk shelves to keep up with growing storage needs. We’re also replacing our servers, which are nearing end of life.

The work in the data centers can be physically demanding because we’re pulling heavy components from the racks, labeling them, and dealing with wires that are tangled beneath the floor. At the end of the day, you’re tired.

Q: If you had to name one special skill or strength you bring to your work, what would it be?

Virtualization. Our infrastructure is built on VMware, and that’s where my greatest strength lies. One of the things I love about my job is that I can continue to grow this strength. I’m able to continue learning about VMware and other technologies and make our software-defined data centers run as well as they possibly can.

Q: Could you say more about the rewarding aspects of your work?

I get to use my 25 years of IT experience to run, manage, and configure in the best way possible — to make our infrastructure run the best it can. We are one of the few COCO [contractor owned, contractor operated] contracts in the Army. We’re always beating our SLAs [service level agreement performance metrics], and this is partly due to the equipment being owned by ECS rather than the Army. Because we own the equipment, whenever we need to replace something or fix or tune the system, I can do it within a day or instantly, and just submit a change request afterwards. There are no lengthy government procurement processes slowing us down.

The AESS has worked extremely well. A lot of people are chasing Matt Borman [vice president of Army Cyber, Mission Solutions, ECS] because he has such a good reputation for providing a fantastic service to the Army.

The Army is excited about what we’ve done for them and the new ideas we’re bringing forth to better secure endpoints and the network. To provide the Army with such a great and important service is very gratifying.

“Work That Matters” is a series in which ECS experts discuss their roles and responsibilities and the larger impact they have in the workplace, community, and world.

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