Killing Spam from the Quarantine

Killing Spam from the Quarantine

Vlad Mazek and his favorite drink, Limoncello

On March 12th our entire team left our offices and everyone has been working remotely, nearly around the clock, to keep everyone secure and productive. I returned from Los Angeles on a redeye flight, held a quick meeting in our parking lot 10 feet away from everyone – and nobody has been to the office since. I wanted to write a brief note to our clients and partners to let you know how we’re doing and what we are up to.

Technical Toll

Managing a massive international operation, that spans continents and data centers that have taken similar work-from-home precaution, has been a massive technical challenge. Just because we’re not there doesn’t mean that hard drives don’t die, that servers don’t melt down, that switches and firewalls and routers don’t go through their usual cycles. Thankfully the technical changes we’ve made to our cloud in 2017-2018 have made it possible for us to keep service levels at normal levels.

The load on our tech has increased steadily – I’m sure you’ve noticed that every single person you’ve ever interacted with has emailed you about their Covid-19 policy. You’ve probably also gotten an email from every loan scam operation on the planet trying to get you PPP/EIDL.

Perhaps most regretfully, the scum of the earth that we exist to eradicate has picked up their activity exponentially. Never in my life have I seen charts and load graphs like we’ve experienced over the past month. Hackers and scammers know that most people are working from home, where IT security is mostly non-existent, and that makes all those endpoints ripe for hacking. Which immediately becomes a source of SPAM and more malware.

Things were bad before, now they are bad x ugly. And we’ve been working around the clock to keep the threats quarantined.

Personal Toll

IT security is a passion of everyone that works here. We’ve built all the infrastructure, systems, monitoring, reporting – you name it – so when someone finds a way to get SPAM through it’s a very personal failure for our team.

Most of us live in Florida, where just about everything has been shut down (I’m sure you’ve read about Tom Brady getting kicked out of a public park). Have I mentioned how much I love my team? We have all been working far, far, far longer hours during the quarantine than we ever have before. We have system upgrades, software upgrades, new features, and some more exciting stuff that our partners and clients are going to need in order to save money after this quarantine ends. Needless to say, we’re tired.Nerves have also been on a somewhat of a thin line. We have a young-ish staff and most of us have families for whom we are not just providers but suddenly school teachers. Our partners and clients are in a similar boat. Those home frustrations can get even more pronounced when technology fails – and we have done our best to brush off some rather abusive behavior in the support portal. I get it, everything in the world is frustrating you, you’re losing control and visibility in general, and now you’ve got IT problems too. We keep on repeating “We’re here to serve, we’re here to help, we’re sorry for the inconvenience” and at no point in the past has this been more true than it is today.So overworked, cranky, abused, and locked down – but we’re still here. And we know most of you are in the same boat, sharing the same frustration. Hang in there, we’ll need to be at our best for the huge challenge that awaits us in supporting our clients as they get back to normal.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, I have the best team on the planet and I am so happy that we can keep you safe and productive during this uncertain time. I owe a debt of gratitude to them that I will repay eventually. But first, foremost, and most important – thank you. As large of a footprint as we may have, we are still a small business and thanks to our clients loyalty we have been able to continue working, growing, and serving during the time that many businesses have had to turn to the government for a bailout. My team and I are eternally grateful. People like to say “shop small business” but I have lost the count of times that we’ve been fired for Office 365 or a competitor that was even a penny cheaper – cause there are sentiments and then there is business. I get it. And at the same time we are so thankful that you’ve kept on supporting our business, I promise you nobody here is going to forget it — this is why we work so hard for our clients and I can’t wait to show you how we’re going to help next.

Vlad Mazek
Own Web Now Corp

P.S. Nearly two decades ago I wrote the first version of ExchangeDefender – and in my infinite wisdom and English as a second language, I used “quarantine” as the term for SPAM that I kept out of your inbox. I’m less amused that a global apocalypse has validated the choice of that term.