Archive for the ‘Technology Trends’ Category

Why a Phone Company Merger Will Mean Cybersecurity Concerns for Your Office

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

When Sprint announced it merger with T-Mobile, the primary message given to the press was the following:

  • Lower Prices
  • Better coverage
  • Fast creation of a 5G network

Most people can understand the first two and see only good things.  However, the 5G deployment coming at a faster pace will impact everyone’s network, whether you use 5G or not.  Let me explain.

5G and Mobile Devices

5G networking gives mobile devices faster access to broadband than anything provided at your work.  For example, a 1 GB hardwired office connection is 200 mB slower than using your phone to connect to the Internet.

The first question that any thoughtful user will ask when they have 5G on their phone is "Why would I want to plug in at work when the outcome is slower access to everything?"

5G Cybersecurity Concern

5G represents a security concern beyond current thinking.  Currently, network and systems managers have not struggled to implement a strategy that imposes rules upon you when you use their networks.  They make you run the latest software, they log access to the Internet and they apply updates, with all these services built upon the assumption that you are using their network.

Who will apply rules to keep your users safe, if the networks that you expect them to use aren’t as good as the competitor?  Sure, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T have never been considered competitors, as they only offer tools to help with communications.  Now, though, their networking speeds beat in-house wire and wireless networks.  This will require a response unlike any we have recently seen.

What is your response?  Offer 10 GB to your users, making sure that there is still motivation to use the wires in your walls or leave the 1 GB in place and pretend that a rule that says, “You MUST use the corporate network to access network resources,” will somehow be followed.  Sure, there are people that think speed limits keep everyone from speeding, but do they really do that?

How will you penalize people from wanting to do their job more efficiently and quickly?

At TNT, we think the answer is to be “better” than the competition.  Get an assessment of where you are currently at, and get us to help you create a pathway to be ahead of the 5G wave.

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TNT Now Offers SharePoint Online Services

Posted on: April 5th, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

The Network Team has started helping its customers with file and security access management using Sharepoint online services.

Joey Grissom, TNT’s head of cloud engineering, recently helped a customer with multiple retail and vendor locations migrate their file system to SharePoint online services.

The business justification was simple.  The company had already invested both in Office 365 for productivity apps and Azure for their primary business accounting application.  Since their email, office and accounting were already in Azure, why not put the file system to simplify management and streamline administration.

Of course, it only helped that migrating didn’t change their costs and helped them remove the requirement of relying on their file servers and backup tools to maintain 24 x 7 availability.  Now that all the files are in SharePoint online, file security and backup integrity can be managed via an online portal.  Backup appliances, special software installs and proprietary knowledge are no longer a part of their file system management.  It is all in the cloud.

Come talk to TNT about moving your files to the cloud.  Many versions of Office 365 already include the cost of this feature, and you may not be getting the full value of your investment in Office 365.

We are here to help.

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TNT Supports NC Community College Networking Academies

Posted on: March 19th, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

The Network Team is proud to support the Cisco Networking Academies in NC, SC and VA.  In addition to providing access to Cisco gear at a heavily discounted rate, TNT also provides network installation and management services as well as help with all things servers and storage for the Community College Networking Academies.

Community College Networking

When a multi-server/multi-storage environment was recent phased out, TNT donated the equipment to Stanly Community College’s networking academy staff.

TNT’s president, Jeff Gaura, said, “students who continually work on servers and storage in a virtual only environment miss out on learning some of the key skills needed when recovering from a disaster or performing an upgrade.  When our equipment was ready to be replaced, I couldn’t think of a better place to put it to use than in our Community College system.  The students there were always in a flight simulator equivalent environment, and they just needed a chance to practice flying a real plane.  With this donation, I hope that they get to do that.”

The servers and storage were HPE proliant servers and the storage was HPE/Lefthand networks.

Kelly Caudle, Program Head for Cisco Academy Support Center said, “Stanly Community College is very grateful for community partners like The Network Team who through donations of equipment allow our students to practice real world skills.  The donation of servers and storage networks from The Network Team will allow SCC Network Management students to setup a VMware environment with realistic network storage.  These types of lab experiences make SCC students ready to take on the challenges they find in the businesses where they find employment.”

 

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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.

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The Network Team