A brief introduction
I first visited Korea in the winter of 2005. Through a random Google search I ended up at KoRoot, because it was cheap and because it was for adoptees.
Through the adoptees I met there, I got introduced to G.O.A.'L and became a member. I stayed in Korea for about a month, enjoying a freezing cold December.
Both in 2007 and 2008 I'd return for several months to experience more of the atmosphere.
I finally moved to Korea in 2010. It was an easy choice, really, in my mind it was only a matter of when and for how long I'd go, since that first visit had set me on a course that I knew I had to go down. I didn't know how long it would take to get to my destination, but I knew it was the right path. I lived at KoRoot for a long time and started volunteering at the G.O.A.'L Office on a regular basis.
I ended up staying in Korea for 5 years, working at the office for most of that time, primarily taking care of IT, taking community pictures and of course assisting during First Trip Home, guiding newly arrived adoptees through Korea in general and the birth family search process in particular, along with all the different amazing colleagues I've had over the years, adoptees and Koreans alike.
When I finally had to go back to Denmark, I left a lot of dear friends, family and unforgetable memories.
I was flat broke and moved right into my parents' basement, but was lucky to find a job after a few months.
During the following 4 years, I'd work diligently to save up all that I could to first get out of the basement and finally get a mortgage - and then take a long vacation every year to go back to Korea and help out with First Trip Home. Whenever I'd come back it felt like I would go right back to my old life - and it always felt like I was too short on time when leaving.
Now in 2019, after saving up for more than 3 years, I've now been able to enjoy the privilege to return to Korea for a little while, most likely for a year, to tie up some loose ends at the office that have been somewhat neglected since I had my daily routine here back in 2013.
IT at G.O.A.'L
I arrived here in July and the main priorities in terms of IT was getting a few basic things to work at the office, before we got super busy during the 2019 IKAA Gathering and especially during First Trip Home 2019.
Basic networking had to be checked so all computers could access our server as well as our printers - let alone the WeWork printers.
All the computers needed a uniform setup through upgrades to Windows 10, GPO, common admin accounts, remote support options and of course properly licensed programs.
We virtualized our server infrastructure in 2016 and 2017 and needed to finish some of the procedures, as well as consolidating storage space. We also needed to do a basic security overhaul, since the threat landscape has changed drastically since 2010 when I started working at the office, especially after the rise of ransomware.
We needed to determine to what level we could leverage cloud technology and to what degree it was economically feasible. Since 2011 we've used Google Apps (now Google Suite). For starters we've also moved our DNS to CloudFlare.
We're currently looking at how to realistically scale our backups given the amount of data we have and the general cost of storage.
So what do I hope to get done before the summer of 2020?
All of the above steps were necessary in order to get to the goal of overhauling our website. On the frontend we've used Drupal for a long time, principally because of the flexibility and very smooth interaction with our CRM, CiviCRM. Of course, this has the added challenge that whatever changes we make, have to go hand in hand with CiviCRM in order to not further complicate the day to day work for our staff who actually carry out our core services. Thus, we want to preserve data integrity and link as much data as we can to your existing profile, to avoid duplicate data in different systems.
We obviously are very interested in getting help from you in the community at large and over time we've thankfully had people who graciously offered to lend a hand. But we also need to make sure that the help we get is from people who understand the constraints and the challenges of the current situation, and most of all, who can either deliver solutions that over time don't add to the overall maintenance workload or TCO. This includes either delivering things that fit seamlessly with existing systems or a commitment to help sustain the system through deployment and well into the overall lifecycle.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me at [email protected].