First things first — I want to say that this blog won't be like any other typical Rotaract blog. This could be much more techy. This can be, hopefully much interesting (or not). So brace yourselves, to read about how we transformed our digital arm of RotaractMora during the past year, what we known as "The Year of the Rotaract Mora's Digital Transformation".
At the beginning of the last Rotaract year, the biggest challenge we faced, was the global pandemic situation. With the prevailing situation, every organization had to undergo a rough time while figuring out how to drive their workforces virtually. As Rotaract Mora we were not different, we faced the same issue. We had to figure out new ways to do stuff, come up with new strategies to overcome the problems we already had. In here, I should mention two very special individuals. The first person, the one who is humble and intelligent (and many more amazing qualities), My loving senior director — Ramith Ayya and Ranul, the most dedicated as well as the hungriest one in the avenue. As the IT avenue, I can proudly say that we were able to withstand those challenges plus come up with better solutions to address them. So, Introduction is over now. It's.... storytelling time!
RotaractMora Servers and Cloud Infrastructure
When starting the year off, the first task that we were assigned to was revamping our website and blog. Earlier we were using a shared hosting service for all our web servers, but at the moment we needed more control over our servers. Due to that requirement, we decided that shared hosting is not the right server to go forward with; therefore we were looking for dedicated servers which can be managed from our end. And so we decided that DigitalOcean droplets were ideal for the purpose.
Before that moment I haven't even touched a console of a dedicated server, but then I had to configure a whole server. Thanks to google, documentations and other technical blogs, I was able to fulfil the task successfully. However, I made a huge mistake, which led Ramith ayya and me to have a mini heart attack. (Let's see what happened in the next section shall we?!😉) Finally, the dedicated server was ready for setting up the blog and website. This time we were thinking about a minimal, and powerful CMS (Content Management System) for the blog rather than using a traditional WordPress blog. Eventually we found that Ghost is the ideal platform for our purpose when referring to the requirements. Not only that, but also our very own co-editors' perspective on "how our blog should be revamped" also matched with this new CMS perfectly.
Since the configuring phase was done, then came the time for the design phase. I should mention a few individuals here, who worked hard, day and night to finish our website and blog designing before the deadline, which was the "25th Installation ceremony of Rotaract Mora". When the day approached, we were ready for the website and blog relaunch at the ceremony, thanks to these dedicated individuals.
I request you to read this section carefully as this is the place that I got a mini heart attack.
After two or three weeks from the launch, I got a message from Tharusha, our Co-Director, Public relations at that time. The message said something like this, "Machan poddak balapan, blog eka weda nane". To be honest, I did not take the message too seriously, I thought it was a network issue or something. But when I logged into the server, I was shocked. There was not any data on the site or blog. The whole database was hacked by someone. And that someone was requesting 0.05 Bitcoins to release the database which was worth around 120,000 LKR at that time. However, Thanks to our previous database backups, we were able to back our server up within 72 hours without paying a cent!
So if you are a system engineer or network engineer or developer, here are two free pieces of advice from my end. First, don't use passwords that are easy to guess in your systems such as "Admin1234" or "12345678" or "Apple@123" or anything else. Always try to use strong passwords with alphanumeric and symbolic combinations. The second piece of advice, always be ready for the worst, have your backups at your sight.
There are many more to discuss but, I'll pause the story here, for now. I will meet you with another blog very soon. Happy reading fellow technophiles!