Archive for the ‘Network Design’ Category

How Your Computer Network is like a Dishwasher

Posted on: January 24th, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Every house is full of items that you expect to “just work.”  The roof should not leak.  If it doesn’t leak, you don’t celebrate that, you expect it.

Same goes for the hot water heater, the light switch and the ceiling fan.  Perhaps we should express gratitude, but we don’t.

The dishwasher, when it works, is no different.  That said, every few/several years, the dishwasher breaks.  The most common response to its failure is to replace it. When it is down and doesn’t work anymore, you are upset, as the flow of kitchen processes is broken.  No more rinsing and stacking in the dishwasher after the meal.  When the dishwasher is down and there isn’t a replacement dishwasher or dishwasher repair on the horizon, you hand wash the dishes.

You never get used to it.  You look forward to having a new one.

When the dishwasher worked, you ignored it.  You didn’t spend any money and probably no time, either, maintaining it.  The only time you spend money on it is when it doesn’t work.

Your Computer Network is Similar

We conclude that businesses treat their computer network the same way that they treat their dishwasher.  They spend money, albeit reluctantly, when it is first installed, then they spend near nothing at all keeping it secure and up to date.  Only when it breaks and is unusable do business leaders respond to maintenance and security issues seriously.  In the meantime, users who make the money for the business yearn for the days when the technology works the way it used to work.

Normally, when something mission critical fails to perform, people ask, “what can we do to prevent that from happening again?”  The answer is a consistent, “we need to take care of it before it breaks, to reduce the risk.”

No one challenges this thinking.  Today’s response of asking an already overloaded IT department to “stay on top” of computer network issues results in more of the same, with perhaps the addition of some monitoring tools that claim to keep you informed.

No one has the time to review those tools.  Heck, they don’t even have time to finish the projects that are top of mind to everyone in the company, let alone the maintenance tasks that may or may not make a difference.

TNT’s Fully Managed Network means just that.  We “fully” manage it.

We provide equipment at no cost to you.

We put the equipment in, again, with no cost to you.

We do all the updates, moves and changes as part of our monthly fee.

We keep your network secure with patches on the firewall, network switches and access points, sending you only monthly reports of our findings.

We don’t want you to treat your network like a dishwasher.  We want you to have a predictable race car, where we do the oil changes, tire rotations and the like.  Use our stuff to go fast and let us worry about the rest.

Learn more about TNT's Fully Managed Networks here.

7 Technology Predictions for 2018

Posted on: January 18th, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

This blog is misnamed.  Instead of '7 Technology Predictions for 2018,' it should really be “what are the technology trends between now and the end of the 2nd decade of the 20th century.

As I view the last third of the decade, I see that there are political drivers outside that will impact our IT focus.

1.  Political and Technology Gap will Widen

More than ever, the gap between political power and knowledge of the current state of IT widens.  The average age of a House member is 57 and a Senator is 62.  This demographic embraces technology at a marginal rate compared to groups only 10 years younger.  They will not see the importance of standards for cybersecurity, Internet of Things, and crypto currency until others have already made decisions.  To complicate matters, those providing them what they deem to be knowledge of the issues (Warren Buffet, et al) have no conviction that they need to be overly concerned with these matters.  This has nothing to do with the political party in control.  It has to do with the disconnect in values placed on technology.  Heck, I got an email from a Congressional assistant that I have repeatedly worked with earlier this week, and it was obviously a phishing attack that used information from their account to target me.  If they aren’t safe, they won’t get overly concerned whether or not we are safe.  I was hoping the Hillary Clinton email fiasco would draw a positive light to the issues associated with cybersecurity, but they didn’t.  Shame on me for thinking otherwise.

2.  Increase in IoT Devices

Human propensity to take the easy way will lead to the creation of more IoT devices, controlled by mobile devices that aren’t secure. On my cell phone (Samsung Galaxy), I have apps that control light switches, fans, a thermostat, and my garage door opener.  These apps aren’t getting updated when my operating system is, and I can only imagine that exploits are already out there/under way to make it possible for people to get into my house.  As part of this technology prediction, privacy concerns may be the only item that drives government to really get serious about creating standards and regulating communications between devices created with GoFundMe capital and my safety.

3.  Shift in Passwords

Passwords, as we know them, will go away. An ever-growing industry exists to manage the overt password management issues that we all face.  Tools that allow you to get back to a single password to get into everything are nearly as commonplace as the devices that they operate on.  In essence, we are migrating back to a world of negligible security, once you get through the front door.  As facial recognition/fingerprinting technology becomes commonplace, we will see an end of Pass@words as part of the use of technology.

4.  Shift in Medicinal use of IoT

Medicinal use of IoT will be the catalyst behind the medical industry’s drive to address HiPPA concerns and the need to keep down costs. Health insurance costs will not decrease without the ability of providers to offer more services via automation than they currently do with office visits and procedures.  IoT is the Obi-wan Kenobi of that movement.  Expect some take-your-breath-away applications of IoT in the medical devices that we use.

5.  Networking Migration will Continue

Networking will continue on its migration away from the wired world to the wireless world. I anticipate that 5G will be immediately adopted, and many individuals will go to work and bypass the company’s network altogether as the access cloud based apps that they use to do their jobs.  Why use a 1 GB network that is being shared when you can have your own 1.2GB network that doesn’t have any restrictions?  It will demand that companies offer services to the users that are better than 5G or give up on offering anything at all.  Bring your own lunch will be as common as bring your own cloud connection.  Bank on this one happening beneath the sheets, when none of the executive management are watching.

6.  Cyber Jobs will Increase

Jobs in cyber will grow at record-setting rates, and attract far more than the stereotypical tecno-geek types portrayed in movies and on TV. Cyber and counter cyber represents a way to add another venue for social equality that folks on the edge of society living 20 years ago couldn’t dream of.

7.  Technology Services will Shift

Technology services are on a path not much different than automobile maintenance. Early on, everyone learned how to change their own oil, brake pads and alternator.  Now, with computers knowing more about what is going on under the hood than even the designers, it makes nearly no sense to learn how to diagnose issues and fix a car.  This is coming from a former motorcycle mechanic.  People will have technology services companies like mine take care of everything possible, so they can focus on business.  No more “who is going to change the oil on the network” conversations.  Folks like us will do it, every time.

Seminary Sees Improvement to Network Issues after Upgrade

Posted on: July 5th, 2017 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

“We partnered with The Network Team to overhaul our network infrastructure at our main campus. It was a decision we have not once regretted,” said Cliff Singletary, IT Manager of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary after The Network Team helped fix network issues.

The Problem

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is a four-campus seminary with just over 2000 students.  The professors at the seminary were the driving force for a recent network infrastructure upgrade. They wanted to modernize how they taught class, including having other students call in, or having classes across multiple campuses.

When The Network Team initially approached Singletary, he mentioned wireless network issues as a possible pain point and potential for upgrade. However, when TNT engineers looked deeper, they discovered that it was the wired network that was the culprit to blame for the pain the users at Gordon-Conwell were experiencing. Additionally, even if Gordon-Conwell’s wireless network was upgraded, the outdated wired network would not be able to suitably support it.

“We wanted our network to be something we did not think about, opening opportunities that were not available beforehand,” said Singletary.

The Solution

Gordon-Conwell does not have a large IT staff, and therefore needed a system that does not require a lot of management and administration.  The Network Team recommended a Cisco network with 6800 Instant Access infrastructure.  With the 6800 Instant Access infrastructure, the primary configuration takes place at the core of the network, meaning administrators don’t have to touch all the individual access switches when configuring or updating.

Singletary notes that once the new network infrastructure upgrade was implemented, network speed and access increased, and the IT department has been able to support new initiatives.  “Since implementing the Cisco solution for our entire network, we are no longer concerned with our infrastructure holding us back. We are not limited in the possibilities we can pursue.”

TNT is now working with Gordon-Conwell on moving entire systems to the cloud.  According to Singletary, it’s a necessity.

“In today’s rapidly changing technology landscape, the ability to be agile and quickly adapt is essential to not only excelling, but in surviving.  This type of agility presupposes a rock-solid infrastructure, and Cisco has been the cornerstone of that solution for us.”

 

Networking Security Lessons Learned from a Planned Walmart Heist

Posted on: December 1st, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

The Department of Homeland Security says Cyber crime is the biggest threat to the American Economy.  Networking Security can help keep your network safe.

A burglar alarm on your building tells you in real time if and when someone is trying to break into your business.  And a security officer can help stop the attack while it's happening, before the thief gets away.  But burglary and theft are not the biggest threats to your business.

The Department of Homeland Security claims the greatest threat to the American economy is not the theft of money and property, but cyber crime.   It is attackers with no face, name or even traceable citizenship attacking our digital assets. They take our customer information, employee confidential info, and trade secrets and convert the commodities in a market that we don’t know anything about. We never get to see a face, and we get little to no help from law enforcement in finding and prosecuting them. They attack daily, and we don’t even know they are there on most days.

In this video, TNT president Jeff Gaura explains what networking security you need to protect your data using the example of a planned Walmart Heist.

Find the holes in your network, and engage The Network Team to help close them.  Contact us today to learn more.

 

The Network Team