What is my job, really?

Over the past decade, "follow your passion" has become a ubiquitous phrase that for many, induces nausea. With the rise of social media and Facebook, anyone and everyone is constantly bombarded with others’ so called "passions" through excessive and egregious photo sharing. So let’s assume you are not a traveling blogger on assignment in Machu Picchu assessing the best sherpa service - Does that mean your job lacks purpose? Not at all. On the contrary, following opportunities and developing skills can lead to passion for just about anything.

More than ever people are craving contribution, and by implying that to be happy and successful a passion must be followed, that information is as useful as the original food pyramid or suggesting a lobotomy. It’s just nonsense. So how does one go about being happy and finding real value with their on the job contributions? It starts with businesses truly defining their purpose - What is your reason for existing? Why is your software unique? What value are you providing your customers? A powerful purpose statement gives workers the chance to embrace the big picture vision, induces inspiration, and motivates them to go above and beyond what is required of their job duties.


What is NSA NIAP?

The mission statement and promise of Consumer Reports: Equip consumers with the "knowledge they need to make better and more informed choices." After testing and evaluating more than 3,000 products a year, the results of these impartial studies are then gathered, examined, and published to equip consumers with purchasing power for everyday items, big and small. But what about the cybersecurity marketplace? Where are the Amazon reviews for advanced cybersecurity needs?

Enter the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP). A U.S. Government initiative designed to meet the security testing, evaluation, and assessment needs of both information technology (IT) producers and consumers. NIAP is a collaboration between the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) and the National Security Agency (NSA) with the intent to provide neutral third-party security testing of cybersecurity products for use in both the private and public sectors. NIAP’s long term goal is to increase the level of trust consumers have in their IT systems and networks through the use of cost-effective security testing, evaluation, and assessment programs.


Tactical Edge with Snowball Edge

There have been a few tactical edge cloud computing devices appear over the past couple years, but because of Amazon Web Services dominance, the Snowball Edge "Cloud in a Box" is undeniably the market leader. With its storage capacity up to 100TB, 52 vCPU/GPU, and 208GB of memory, every Edge device can transport data at speeds faster than the internet, and for organizations that do work at the edge, this device has enough horse power to do virtually anything—you can build a cluster with 5+ SBE and maintain 99.999% data durability. But how does the Snowball Edge Work?

How the Snowball Edge Works

The SBE is ordered via the CLI (Command Line Interface) or the Web Console. Before you can order a SBE, you must (should) define at least one AMI to use with it. We generally choose Ubuntu because it has the most options available. Our typical distribution involves simply installing Docker CE to run containers within the SBE.


CI/CD with AWS Lambda and GitLab

When we wanted to start blogging for Monkton and Mission Mobility - we could not settle on blogging software we liked. Medium has issues in preventing users from reading your posts. WordPress is a security disaster. Blogger is too expansive.

Our goal wasn't to write an heavy piece of blogging software, but something that was nimble and we could control.

More so, we wanted to leverage Amazon Web Service Lambda - AWS's Serverless Platform as a Service. Our bill for hosting this blog in Lambda, at the high end, will be a crazy $1.05 a month.

AWS Lambda

We have built our Blog leveraging .NET Core 2.1 and AWS Lambda. Lambda enables developers to deploy Serverless code without having to manage infrastructure. From scratch, the blog can deploy in a total of two minutes. Two minutes.

.NET Core has been Montkon's server language of choice since it was created - due to the fact that .NET Core can run within a Linux Docker container, on macOS, oh and Windows. Due to this, .NET Core can be deployed within AWS Lambda with little work.


Migration to GitLab

We at Monkton began working closely with the GitLab federal team late in 2018. We chatted with their fantastic federal sales and SA teams and decided to “pull” (har har) GitLab into the Mission Mobility offering.

People many still get confused by GitLab… Everyone was probably more familiar with GitHub that got acquired by Microsoft earlier in 2018. But that is quickly changing.

We were big GitHub users, but with GitHub, you only get part of the equation. We had to string together Jenkins to perform several functions. It became a headache on some levels to manage it all.

GitLab for us, has become so much more. Besides source control, the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) that GitLab offers integrated into its product are unmatched.

We are now even using GitLab to house our HR information, Board Meetings, the whole gamut.


Monkton Blog is Serverless

This blog is to document Monkton engineering efforts, marketing efforts, DevSecOps efforts, and various other things.

This site is actually a custom built .NET Core project that we deploy with AWS Lambda. A million requests a month will cost a whole $1.05. It really can't be beat as far as pricing. This includes Lambda, API Gateway, Route 53, and S3.

We evaluated using Medium but disliked their model that prevents people from viewing posts freely, WordPress is a security disaster, Blogger was too heavy. So, the answer was to write a lightweight framework to do blogging. The software is simple, it just renders content in markdown files. Is this perfect? No, but it suits our needs, is lightweight, and helped us better understand CI/CD and Lambda/Serverless.

We will write more on how we built it, how we deploy it using GitLab's CI/CD pipeline, automatically to Lambda. Once we check in code to GitLab, the CI/CD pipe does all the work. There is nothing to configure or manage.