We would like to introduce Mario, IT System Administrator at Congrex Switzerland.
What is your position at Congrex and what activities are you responsible for?
I work in the IT-Department of Congrex as a System-Administrator. My Team and I are responsible for all the servers, clients and smartphones in the office and of course for all IT needs at event venues.
I also edit videos and help with graphic solutions.
What are the biggest challenges right now in terms of information technology for congresses?
The congress business is the champions league of event management.
The biggest challenge these days is the communication between customers, venues and suppliers. The standard in each country and congress abroad can be quite different. The congress business is the champions league of event management. To provide the best performance with minimum of hassle during the event is the biggest challenge. I think anyone can imagine the impact a technical or internet issue could have on a congress with over ten-thousand participants!
You are also heavily involved in the development of virtual and hybrid event platforms. Are you enjoying this new responsibility?
The opportunity to work with hybrid and virtual events has been a good experience. I enjoyed working with the virtual platforms as I had the chance to get more in touch with the exhibitors. Although COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact in this area, I think virtual and hybrid events will play a significant role in the future and I am happy to already be involved with it.
I think virtual and hybrid events will play a significant role in the future and I am happy to already be involved with it.
What kind of tips regarding cyber security can you share?
- Always use a password for sensitive documents and please don’t use the simplest or most obvious ones!
- Check the sender of e-mails before opening any links or attachments.
- Hackers are clever these days and their e-mails are well prepared to look like they were genuinely sent from DHL, Amazon, eBay etc.
Tell us about the most exciting, fun or challenging congress experience you’ve had during your time at Congrex.
I think each congress is a challenge and can be fun. However, I will pick out one.
It was a medical congress held in France in 2019, the first congress where I was working alone in the Congrex IT-Department. The venue’s firewalls started to block our own servers, as the traffic load had become too high during registration. This happened on a Sunday, so only one of the venue technicians was available, and he had no clue how to allow the blocked IPs. I had to prepare a work-around using smartphones and mobile data without causing any further problems. On the following day the venue’s IT technician disabled the blocking rule that had caused the problem and everything was fine!
This was quite an experience for sure. Since then we always have a 4G LTE Router at every congress, so we can use our own network just in case.