Dameon Welch Abernathy

CheckMates Member of the Month for June 2018: Kaspars Zibarts

Blog Post created by Dameon Welch Abernathy Employee on Jun 20, 2018

It's that time of the month, where we recognize great contributors to the CheckMates community. 

Put your virtual hands together for the Member of the Month for June 2018: Kaspars Zibarts

Had no idea that Kaspars was a fellow Nokian like I was.

Then again, Nokia is a much larger company than Check Point  

He also worked with IP Appliances...in a different capacity than many of us did, though. 

 

 

Kaspars, tell us a little about yourself & what you do?

I have fairly colourful life when comes to geography and politics. I grew up in Soviet Union, graduated University in already independent Latvia, and then started working for Nokia at it’s heyday (mobile networks though, not firewalls). That moved me around quite a bit – living eight years in London, eight years in Sydney whilst delivering projects in Russia, Poland, Finland, Philippines, China, India, Iran (probably should not mention that!). Sometime, in middle of that, I switched to Check Point and finally in 2013 moved to Sweden, which seems to be the final stop. I work at the truck manufacturer Scania right now with number of enterprise security products, with Check Point being my strongest subject.

 

Tell us a little about your experience with Check Point

It was a little random switch back in 2006. I was working with Nokia mobile network SGSN/GGSNs running IPSO when one day I was given ultimatum: if I was to stay with the project in Sydney, I would have to take over and manage the firewall team. Somehow, management thought that my knowledge of IPSO would be enough even though I hadn't the slightest clue back then how a firewall worked. So I joined the Check Point train fairly “late” compare to the other CheckMates – just 12 years ago with R54 release and went through all sorts of HW – Nokia IP boxes, Crossbeam C and X series and then the Checkpoint appliances from 2000 series to chassis.

 

Do you have a unique deployment of a Check Point product?

I guess it’s not that unique as it has been mentioned by others – but we have replicated all Scania appliances worldwide in a single ESX server which makes life so much easier especially when it comes to upgrades and troubleshooting. I literally lived in the lab for 2 months when we upgraded old core VSX 11000 platform to 41000. Was very proud at the end as we didn’t use Check Point Professional Services. We designed the whole upgrade process ourselves and the “outage” was just couple of ping drops during cutover. Not a single incident was raised, even days after upgrade.

 

What do you use the CheckMates platform for?

I was really skeptical at the beginning, but after resolving some of major issues with the help of CheckMates, this is now my first stop for all my troubleshooting if I run out of ideas and SKs. Helping others is both fun and also good for learning new stuff. Lastly, I use it a lot for my coding help and ideas. I've been recommending it to all my colleagues as a great source of Check Point info for quite a while now.

 

What do you like to do for fun?

My passion is surfing, which I did a lot when we lived in Sydney. It’s rather limited here in Sweden, so I’m still searching for something new. I enjoy fixing and building stuff around the house – my wife and kids are always full of new ideas so I’m “Bob the builder” in that process.

 

If you could create any new technology right now, what would it be?

I might be getting old but I think there’s way too much technology around us that sometimes we forget how to live without it.. Maybe it could be technology that disconnects us from the technology.


On a more serious note – some sort of teleportation to travel around world. We went on a holiday last month to re-visit friends and places in Australia and the 30 hour flight from Europe is really boring and a total waste of time in my opinion. We need a new and even faster Concorde!

 

Anything else you'd like to let other CheckMates members know about?

It’s been a driver for most of my career: If I have a repetitive task given that would take, for example, 1hr every day for five days, then I’d rather spend 5hrs on Monday coding a tool that would execute it for me and enjoy coffee Tuesday to Friday. Even though the final effort is the same 5hrs, writing tools / scripts has always been my preference. As so many of us here, I like “digging.” It almost turns into a personal challenge when you suddenly face a problem in the network. Instead of calling up support directly, I will exhaust every avenue possible myself before giving up, admitting defeat and picking up the phone.

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