From London to Gibraltar
Before we start, small intro – Who am I, and what is my role?
My name is Andrew and I have been working at Support Tree for almost 7 years. I started as an apprentice working on the Service Desk as a 1st Line Engineer and since then, I have worked my way up to be a Senior Engineer at the company recently, I have started working as a Project Manager.
As part of our services – we were tasked to configure and set up a brand-new network for a client with an office abroad in Gibraltar. Due to the pandemic, travel arrangements and accommodation would require special planning as precautions would be required should there be any changes in governmental advice.
The task at hand was simple. The benefit of the task was to ensure that the remote office was secure and protected – especially as they are housed in a managed office alongside other businesses. This is an easy target for many hackers on the web.
Security, Security, Security…
As part of my preparations for this mission overseas, I had to ensure that the equipment that was going to be installed on-site was safely prepared, packaged, and delivered. The first security protocol that required attention as part of this mission.
Despite advanced planning and advanced shipping, the equipment got to the borders in Gibraltar and never made it out customs – still, to this day, it has not been released – the second security protocol that we confronted on this mission – this didn’t go so well. Having a fast-thinking team that is on their toes at my disposal, they were able to source replacement hardware at a day’s notice – thank God for next-day delivery!
With a plane to catch at 12 noon, it was vital to get out of the house by 10 am to get to the airport with an hour to spare before the flight took off. The delivery arrived at 10:07 am – slightly over, but managed to get to the airport in a nick of time, maneuvering London traffic smoothly.
The third security protocol was confronted meters away from the boarding gates as border control enforced aviation safety rules and guidance as I was held by airport security for a suspicious item in my luggage. Who knew taking a screwdriver on a plane wasn’t allowed? The result? At this point, I had to bid farewell and I said “Bye Bye” to my trusted companion of 6 years – it was truly heartbreaking! (I blame COVID for my lack of travel expertise).
First Time in Gibraltar
Despite being well-traveled and being fortunate enough to visit many countries around the world, across many continents – it was my first time in Gibraltar. Landing on a runway that has a busy highway bisecting its runway is closed off to the public minutes prior to landing, the pilot did a great job to stop in time on a relatively short runway.
After settling down in a local Airbnb – a 10-minute walk away from the client’s office – my attention turned to the task at hand and prepared for a busy day in the office, supporting needs overseas.
It was great to meet clients who I had only ever spoken to over the phone or via email in person – finally putting a face to the name! This feeling is surprisingly great!
Without going into too much detail – part of my mission included having to liaise with local providers to complete the task at hand. Despite prior notice and communication beforehand to carry out changes in the office, “Mañana Mañana” was definitely in full flow – it’s real! The local provider resolved my query after a few chasing calls, but most importantly the customer was kept up to date during this time, this way I managed their expectations.
The mission was a success and the trip to Gibraltar was definitely enjoyable. In my downtime, I was unable to go up to the rock to see the monkeys but I’ll definitely be going back! Gibraltar is the best of both worlds, a mix between the UK and Spain. Good Weather, Good Food, Good Architecture with some lovely pebbled roads to walk around and the locals were very kind a receiving – always happy to have a chat.