Connector Spotlight: Sheranga Balasuriya

September 9, 2022

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

With a hair flip that no celebrity can match, Sheranga Balasuriya, Information Security Manager, heads the IT department at Connected. By making IT systems seamless, he ensures that every Connector is able to do their work with ease. When he’s not handling the management of data, he’s playing the guitar, reading, and gaming. But nothing makes his heart happier than capturing raw emotions through a camera, especially the shots he took from his trip to Iceland. Can you guess his favourite product as a tech and gaming enthusiast? 

Tell us a bit about the projects you’re working on?

Currently, I am working on a long-term project where I better the management of data from end devices to the cloud and everything in between. This includes everything from laptop and browser management, to establishing secure VPNs, authorizing single sign-on (SSO)for accounts, and managing geographical locations of cloud infrastructure.

Simultaneously, I am supporting the integration of our IT systems after learning that we have been acquired by Thoughtworks.  Having never gone through an acquisition nor an integration of systems at this scale, every day is new and challenging, as I navigate high-level policy integration to technical laptop management switchovers.

What’s the most interesting challenge about the project?

Leading the IT department results in my work impacting all other departments and individuals at Connected. Hence, it can be challenging at times to adequately address the unique needs of individuals within specific departments and managing the necessary coordination. But, it’s a challenge I am up for and continue to enjoy to this day!

As I support IT integration efforts, I remind myself that ultimately IT should be seamless and should help ease every individual’s work, not further burden it. Keeping this goal in mind, it can be difficult trying to change core backend systems. It’s akin to changing the wings on a plane while it’s still flying. I think the keys to any successful change is plenty of research, testing, more testing, documentation, and plenty of communication.

Where did you work before Connected?

Prior to Connected, I worked at Humber College in their IT department. I started by looking after computer labs, eventually moved to general IT support, and finally was responsible for procurement. Before my time at Humber College, I worked as a Customs Officer at Pearson Airport for the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). It was a unique summer job and I got to meet several celebrities during my time there including Arianda Grande, Venus Williams, and Snoop Dog.

What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?

While this isn’t a single achievement, I am very proud of what I have been able to achieve at Connected in regards to IT over the last 6+ years. Building an IT department from scratch that was secure, accessible, and integrated seamlessly with Connector’s work streams was no easy feat and I am proud to have accomplished that.

Do you have a mantra you live by?

Have you tried turning it off and on again? (can you tell I head the IT department)

What do you love to do outside of work?

While I have several hobbies including playing the guitar, reading, and gaming, I absolutely love photography. I have always loved the idea of being able to capture an emotion in a still image. I try to do excursions specifically for photography, with my favourite being a five-day trip to Iceland. Whether it be taking photographs of really small things such as bugs and small flowers to very large things like landscapes and space, I am always capturing it all.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?

Movie – Can I bring a series? Yes? Then it will have to be Alien. It’s an amazing movie series which spans over a long period of time so you can see how the movie production technology improves as the series progresses.

Book – A Promised Land by Barack Obama. It’s amazing to get a first-hand account of how the president of the United States of America goes about their day. While I’m trying to figure out groceries, Mr. Obama is figuring out peace in the Middle East.

Album – I don’t listen to enough music to name an album, but something early Coldplay

Describe yourself in three words. 

Guardian of Secrets, genuine, and coolheaded.

And finally, what’s your favourite product and why? 

For a long time, my favourite product was the Google Chromecast. It was simple, cheap, and made any TV smart. There was a level of “it just works” with the Chromecast that made it perfect for anybody. Currently, my favourite product is the Steam Deck as I can play most, if not all of my PC games no matter where I am. I am a PC gamer through and through, and the Steam Deck gives me the advantages of a TV console and mobile console and allows me to keep my existing game collection.

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