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a personal history lesson
Memory Lane by Martin Valloud

Systems and security have matured in parallel, but some still appreciate the good old days.



Martin Valloud
  • TITLE Enterprise platforms team lead
  • ORGANIZATION Rogers Communications
  • INDUSTRY Telecommunications
    • Sets corporate IT security strategy.
    • Focus is group policies management, patch management, and security scripting and auditing.
    • Responsible for safety of 35,000 workstations and servers.
    • Crafted patch management

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    • policies and procedures, testing and deploying fixes without disrupting business.
    • Leverages vendor relationships to build better patch management and virtualization solutions.
    • A 20-year veteran of IT security.
    • One of the first people to be certified on Windows Server 2003.


I still remember my first days online. I had my XT PC with a fast 4 MHz processor, a 10 MB drive and a whopping 640k of RAM, for which I paid a fortune. DOS 5.0 took a few seconds to load, and then browsed my drive using Norton Commander to launch a Telemate terminal. The thing was magical; you typed ATDT and then the phone number, and my 2400 baud modem was singing for a few seconds before you were online.

I remember the excitement I felt after seeing the banner and saying, "Awesome, I'm online! Now what?"

I had some friends who warned me not to forget the floppy drive inside, because the Michelangelo virus was in circulation. Nobody knew much about what that meant, but we started buying antivirus software. There weren't many options back then, so I got my F-Prot package on a floppy that you installed and set up in about a minute. Also, now I had a reason to log in to my BBS [bulletin board system] to download the antivirus definitions once a week.

Back then there was not too much worry about security in the corporate IT environment--not on Novell or on NT 3.5. My first manager once said to me, "This NT box runs non-stop for three months, and then it crashes itself. What is the reason to patch it? Or even install antivirus to slow it down?" Of course this all changed once viruses began hitting the boxes, and we were staying all weekend to rebuild them. Then our mindset shifted to paranoia, and we started the patching process.



This was first published in October 2008

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