Archive for January, 2016

What IT Leadership Must Learn from George Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware

Posted on: January 27th, 2016 by webadmin No Comments

When was the last time you heard IT Leadership compared to George Washington?  Get ready, you're about to.

George Washington had just had his butt kicked out of New York, and he and his men were on the run.  His “group” at the time consisted of 5400 men.  On Christmas Eve, he had a hunch (and some first-hand experience, I suspect) that the Hessians (German mercenaries hired to fight on behalf of the British) that were in Trenton at the time would be a bit “happy,” celebrating a holiday away from their homes and their families.

In other words, they would be drunk.

Washington broke his troops into three waves.  He took 2400 of them, himself, and they crossed the Delaware River on their way to Trenton.

Once he arrived, his discovered that the other two waves didn’t make it.  He decided, with his 2400 man Army, to initiate the attack, all the while gambling that the opposition would be in no position to return any punches.

Washington’s men captured all the Hessians while only losing 4 men of their own.  This also gave them control of Trenton, NJ.

This was a relatively useless victory, in the grand scheme of things, but three things happened that display what leaders do.

  • He took risks, despite having just lost a major battle that literally cost people more than their jobs. It cost them their lives.
  • Washington brought attention to the victory, albeit a small one, knowing that a story of success would give hope to others.
  • Washington didn’t wait for his surrounding cast (in this case, his generals) to do their jobs. He did his job, despite their shortcomings.  If you dig into it, he proceeded with the  attack without their knowledge or approval, considering the communications technology in place during the war, at that time.

There aren’t a lot of leaders in IT.  Things like job security, the livelihood of others and the ever-too-important approval of our supervisors guide IT leadership to play it safe.  We take the path of delay.  We seek to establish internal champions in our organization before implementing a technology that could help, literally now.

Just ask executive management how often they get IT involved in business planning.  IT is now expected to be support for the lines of business, not be a part of the business.

The results of this show.  IT people make no lasting impact.  How often to you hear the media interviewing IT leadership?  They don’t.  It isn’t that they are dumb or have nothing to say.  They just don’t know how to lead, and they become forgotten support.  Even if one of us could be a Betsy Ross equivalent, that would help.

So, my message is: Don’t be like everyone else. Be like Washington.  Be like Cam Newton.  Be like Lebron James.  Take some risks.  Let the attention due your successes be a sign of hope for others.  And don’t let something so terrestrial as your job security or the opinions of others determine your choices.  Have some confidence and grow up.

 

Post by: Jeff Gaura, TNT president

Fewer Network Security Tools Used by SMBs Creating Dangerous Trend

Posted on: January 21st, 2016 by webadmin No Comments

Cyber criminals are becoming more efficient, and SMB’s are increasingly becoming the weak link in regards to network security tools.

Those are some of the findings in Cisco’s 2016 Annual Security Report released this week.

The report encourages security professionals to rethink the network security tools they are using to protect their customer, employee and internal data.

Key findings include:

Aging, unsupported infrastructure is growing creating a playground of vulnerabilities for cyber criminals.

Cisco analyzed 115,000 Cisco devices on the Internet and made some startling discoveries:

  • 92% of those devices were running software with known vulnerabilities
  • 31% of the devices were “end of sale”
  • 8% of the devices were end of life
  • Nearly 20% of devices studied from the healthcare industry had reached “Last day of support.” Those devices are not receiving patches for identified vulnerabilities and they cannot be updated to be more secure.

The IT infrastructure has long become the lifeblood of many organizations. However, far too many are willing to delay updating because of fears over both the amount of time it takes IT staff, and the potential for lengthy downtime. Managed IT Services can mitigate some of those concerns by using network security tools automating tested updates, and installing them remotely, limiting downtime and freeing IT Staff up to focus on other tasks.

SMBs are increasingly becoming weak links, in the security chain for Enterprises, leaving open doors and windows for cyber criminals to enter in through.

SMBs are doing a poorer job in the area of threat defense compared to 2014.

  • 48% of SMBs said they use web security in 2015 vs 59% in 2014
  • 29% said they used patching and configuration tools in 2015 vs 39% in 2014

The lack of security in SMB networks could translate to a risk for larger enterprise customers. The report indicated criminals will use their entrance into one network to get into another, larger one.

Researchers found that more SMBs are outsourcing their security needs. Managed IT services in this instance give SMBs tools to secure their networks without additional burden to their smaller staffs. These tools analyze security breaches to help eliminate the root causes. Plus, the reliable monthly pricing is beneficial for their budgets.

Time to detection faster

One of the most positive elements of the survey showed that Cisco has greatly reduced the time it takes to detect a cybercrime. The current industry estimate is that it takes 100-200 days to detect a cyber crime. Cisco’s network security tools have reduced the time to detection to 17.5 hours, significantly minimizing the damage and impact to customers when an attack occurs.

Contact The Network Team to speak with CCIE Vitaliy Greben and president Jeff Gaura who have nearly 30 years of experience between the two of them working with Cisco. Allow them to help you secure your network.

Elite-Level Business Lessons from an Olympic-Level Athlete

Posted on: January 13th, 2016 by webadmin No Comments

“30 seconds into my first World Championship, I was in last place.  All that was behind me was a motorcycle, with a camera, rolling.

My first thoughts were all correct ones, based on evidence.

  1. You are in last place.
  2. You have an injured right foot that you have not run this far on literally, this year.
  3. You could make things worse if you continue.”

Along with vision setting and managing The Network Team as its president, Jeff Gaura competes internationally in the Olympic-level sport of Duathlon. (That is a race comprised of cycling and running components.)

The realization that he was in last place led to an onslaught of fears including asking himself, ‘Aren’t there better uses of your time right now, rather than taking this risk?'

Risk, reward and success were some of the business lessons of a talk Jeff gave to the inaugural lunch for the Young Professionals of Union County.

Gaura wove together stories of his training for the World Championship with lessons on what it takes to run and grow a successful business.

Good Relationships

He started where most of our actions start, with our goals.  Quoting a Tedtalk by psychiatrist Robert Waldeinger, he noted, “a recent survey of millennials asking them what their most important goals were, over 80 percent said that a major life goal for them was to get rich.  And another 50 percent of those same young adults said that another major life goal was to become famous.”

Waldeinger is part of a 75-year study on adult development. His research shows it is not money and fame that keep people happy.  Those nearing the end of life who have good relationships are the healthiest and happiest.

For Jeff, in racing as well as in business, this means support from his wife and whole family. Jeff showed a picture of himself just before that first World Championship wearing a leg brace. Standing beside him was his wife, Linda.  Next to that was a picture of Jeff at the finish lines of one of his races. Again, Linda was there beside him.  Linda also owns The Network Team, working with Jeff to set the vision for the company and handling much of the finances.

On the racing side of things, Jeff had to find and listen to good coaches.  He stressed the need to find those who have gone further than you, and be open to their honest, often brutal, feedback.

Facing and Overcoming Fears

When Jeff was in last place at the World Championship, he had two choices. He could’ve let the fears win, or he could have faced them, made a plan and overcome them.  He chose the latter.

“I began the task of picking off the next runner.  The first guy was a Spaniard.  Then a Russian.  Then, another American.  Now, I was no longer in last place!”

Jeff could’ve given up in the race; not given his all and blamed his injury.  Instead, he went all in, and even managed to finish the race ahead of the number one athlete from South Africa.

In one’s professional life, the things we fear may not always be as clear as an injured foot, or seeing all the other runners ahead of us. Not giving your all in business can look like this: making decisions based on the bank balance instead of opportunities. Or spending too much time going after that which will pay now vs. that which will be most profitable in the future/long term.

Among the important business lessons Jeff encouraged the Young Professionals of Union County with was saying successful people often don’t know what they are doing…but they do something anyway.  Action always beats inaction.

Getting “A Round to it”

Jeff’s final point centered around action.  He spoke about how many professionals subscribe to a belief system that goes something like this: Work hard for most of your life so you can get around to relaxing when you retire.

This idea of spending most of your time with your head down, working until you can get ‘around to’ reflection and/or planning can be dangerous for a business.  How many times have you gone to a seminar, or read suggestions in a book on how to improve productivity, but never actually taken time away from the day to day grind to reflect on those learnings, and plan out how you will implement those business lessons?

Jeff handed out coasters made by the Union County Chamber of Commerce with “Round To IT” written on them.  He told attendees that now they had gotten ‘Around To It’ and no longer had an excuse for the things they were putting off doing.

As part of his talk, Jeff encouraged each of the attendees to take out their calendars, and pick a day in the next few weeks, and block out at least 4 hours to do just that. He encourages those of you reading this to do the same, and would love to hear how it goes.  Contact us to let us know what you are working on, what business lessons have come to you, and what you learned from your reflection.