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Ask an Expert: Matt Essig

Emily Cianchette

This blog is part of a series where some of our most experienced technical and support team members share their IT experiences and the tips and tricks learned from working with hundreds of organizations and IT teams.

This blog post features Matt Essig, an Associate Systems Engineer and Care Team lead based out of Raleigh, NC. With 15 years of experience, Matt works with clients to diagnose and troubleshoot issues and helps manage open tickets.

What are some of your job responsibilities?

I’m a care team lead in our Raleigh office, so I work with a group of 4 or 5 engineers and technicians as direct support for a specific group of clients. I coordinate the team, manage tickets, and help write documentation. Part of my role also includes architecting workflows and creating automation and computer imaging solutions. I also handle ticket escalations by troubleshooting issues or helping locate the best resource to assist the client. We have a high degree of differentiation with our clients and their industries, so we need to make sure we’re always current on the top technological solutions for each organization. Communication is an essential part of my role as well, since we work directly with our clients. We can fix any problem that our clients may encounter, but it’s important that we communicate with them regularly and in a way that helps them understand the steps we’re taking to fix it. Our care team approach gives our clients the opportunity to work with the same dedicated group of experts that are intimately familiar with their environments, helping us resolve issues faster and providing detailed expertise on ways to fully leverage their IT.

What is one thing organizations can do to improve their security posture?

Company leadership should listen to their IT team, whether they rely on an internal team or work with a MSP. We work in an interesting field because we don’t have a lot of clout, both in internal and external IT. If you’re paying someone to do a job and they tell you to do something, you probably should do it, but often we find that isn’t the case with IT. If you hired a plumber for a job and they told you to replace some pipes, most people would agree without question. But for some bizarre reason, if an IT person tells you to replace a server that’s 15 years old, people will be a lot more hesitant. I think part of that is assuming you’ll be trading security for convenience. Sometimes when you implement a security policy or change, you’ll get pushback from others in the organization discussing how much of a hassle it is. It can be challenging to educate the team on the importance of these policies or changes, so it really falls on company leadership to be supportive and listen to their IT teams when unpopular decisions need to be made. Plus, installing a new server in there can increase uptime and performance. That should be a win-win for any company!

What impact is the cloud having on your role?

Shifting over to cloud resources changes much of what you do, whether you work for an MSP or work as an internal systems administrator. There’s a lot of advantages to moving to the cloud, such as the robustness of it and having the ability to access it anywhere. You don’t have to trade security for convenience because the two are tied together with the cloud. There are some disadvantages, such as not having as much granular control. It also takes a lot of overhead off the systems administration role since you’re not maintaining an actual exchange server.

How do you think IT will change over the next 5 years?

I think the cloud is going to be much more important in the next 5 years. The big watershed will be when server 2012 goes end of life (EOL). People are going to encounter a situation where they’ll have to rip out their entire Exchange infrastructure and install a new one or take the jump to Office 365. That technology has matured so it’s now a compelling and attractive option. As server hardware is getting refreshed, we’re seeing a lot of our clients abandon their on-premise exchange environment and migrating over to O365. That’s a gateway to licensing with O365 and utilizing OneDrive instead of file shares. The march to the cloud is only going to continue, so the roles for a lot of MSPs and systems administrators will shift from maintaining individual servers to maintaining the interface points between clients and cloud infrastructure.