Svitla Systems of Marin County prepares for threats to its operations in Ukraine

As tensions mount along the Ukrainian border in the event of a possible Russian invasion, a multinational custom software developer and testing provider based in Marin County and operating in Ukraine is “hoping for the best but preparing for the worst”.

“We are listening to reports of impending aggression and Russia’s ultimatum, and know that we need to be alert and prepared if diplomacy fails,” said Nataliya Anon, President, CEO and Founder of Svitla. Systems Inc., headquartered in Corte Madera.

Anon, a Ukrainian-born Stanford Business School graduate who is fluent in several languages, said she was very concerned about the safety of her 500 employees in five Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv. The company has more than 800 employees worldwide: Costa Rica, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland and 20 in the United States.

“The border between Ukraine and Russia is tightly controlled but not completely closed, with only a passport needed to travel between the two countries,” Anon said. “Ukrainians can freely travel to Europe, the United States or anywhere else in the world – but few travel to Russia these days. We see investors and capital fleeing Ukraine, while we and most residents stand firm. »

The conflict began eight years ago, when the Russians invaded the Crimean peninsula and annexed it to Ukraine in 2014. The difference between now and then is that in 2014, Ukraine did not had no army.

Today, Ukraine has a standing army of some 250,000 troops and an equal number of reservists, according to The New York Times. The country also receives arms, material support and troops from the United States and other European countries.

Anticipating that the current conflict could escalate, Anon offered its employees the option of relocating to Svitla offices in Krakow, Poland, and Guadalajara, Mexico.

“We considered chartering an Airbus (plane) that could ferry our staff out of the country, but the majority of our employees decided to stay, and there were few moves,” Anon said. “A hotline has been set up so that employees can express their concerns and obtain more information. Only eight called. Ukrainians are tough and resilient people. Our employees are essential to us.

Anon believes its company has successfully preempted this impending crisis. Six years ago, the company created a strategic plan that examines all eventualities, including the preservation of sensitive Svitla administrative and human resources files, proprietary employee and customer information, and critical records. payroll and financials stored in the cloud.

The company uses point-to-point security measures, encryption technology and uses multiple Internet service providers. Svitla has increased redundancy among its critical network systems with distributed backup in multiple centers around the world, including Amazon Web Services in the United States.

Beyond the escalating war of words between Russia and Ukraine, Anon said his company has so far not encountered any supply chain issues.

“We anticipated such eventualities and placed orders for additional computers and related equipment in advance,” she said. “We have extended hard-line telecommunications links and acquired cell phones for internet access and cloud storage. In addition, we have also installed more emergency backup batteries that can meet our electrical needs in the event power outage.”

Thinking back to the start of the current conflict, she said that in 2014, when fighting first broke out, Svitla was unable to acquire new customers, but which customers stayed with the company. throughout this crisis.

Svitla focuses on the business, medical and financial services sectors as well as information technology and management companies.

In 2021 and now in 2022, she said demand for Svitla’s services remained high. Customers are asking the company to provide more developers and technical support specialists to meet growing needs for custom software solutions and to help digitize mountains of hardware to put it in the cloud.

Anon said there is currently a shortage of IT and software professionals in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company continues to recruit seasoned developers from around the world.

In an era increasingly characterized by remote and hybrid work models, Svitla has been a pioneer in harnessing the expertise of a large number of IT software and IT professionals with expertise in virtually every programming languages ​​and coding platforms that reside in Ukraine to provide services. to its customers on several continents.

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