As an Operations Manager for the past 3 years, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is generating a perfect round of managed services invoices for our clients each month. Without flawless communication each and every day (which I’m pretty sure is yet to be invented), this can be very difficult to ensure. The more devices being managed, the more difficult this can become. Here’s my take on the problem and what Thrive has done to overcome it.
One factor that has always created the biggest difficulty is when managed machines are moved around at a client’s site. There are many times when our clients may decide to power down machines, replace them, repurpose them as paperweights, or maybe even give one to a responsible employee as a new personal machine. And why not? Those machines do belong to them after all. It’s understandable that they may want to make changes on their own. Well, here’s a real life comparison as to how it’s not always quite that simple.
Every now and then, a shortcut comes along and changes the game forever. Until recently, the last time I came across a trick of such magnitude it was:
(If you don’t know what that means then you are under 25, over 45 or lead a very, very sheltered childhood.) The tid-bit I am about to share won’t give you the Spread Gun or Infinite Lives; but it will save you some time and make your job easier.
If you spend any amount of time trying to coordinate calendars with people outside your office, then you probably know that pain of browsing back and forth, toggling from the calendar view (squinting to see which time slots are free) and then clicking back to the body of your email and manually typing out the day and times your available to meet.
As a Salesperson, I used to spend lots of time typing out emails that ended in a bulleted list of my availability for that next conference call or meeting. I can’t tell you how many times I have said to myself: “I wish I could just click a button and have my availability just show up for the next week or two without having to look at my calendar.”
Until recently, I did not realize that this functionality was built right into Outlook 2007 and 2010. If you ever spend more than 2 seconds outlining your availability for others, then you are going to love this.
In June, we talked about the different types of clouding computing – the public cloud, the private cloud and the hybrid cloud. This month we’re going to dive into the private cloud.
Did you know that, in most cases, using the traditional one operating system per physical server model only 10% of the systems resources are generally consumed? That’s right, only 10%!
How much did you pay for that single server? How many of them are in your environment? If you need to add another application, what do you do? You go out and buy another server, of course. What if you could get a smaller server environment that can grow on demand, utilize more of the resources you have invested in and have better resiliency? Virtualization provides the platform to accomplish all that and more.
By moving to a virtual environment you can…
Multiple Vulnerabilities in Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliances
Cisco Systems has recently released a Security Advisory regarding the ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA), more commonly known as your firewall. This firewall device is a security appliance that sits between your private network and the Internet, protecting you from would-be attackers and other malicious activity. On rare occasions however, even an extremely robust security appliance such as the Cisco ASA can suffer from vulnerabilities.
This Security Advisory applies to the Cisco ASA 5500 Series firewalls and the Cisco Firewall Services Module (used in the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series switch chassis) only. None of Cisco’s other firewalls are affected by any of the vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are:
- Three SunRPC Inspection Denial of Service Vulnerabilities
- Three Transport Layer Security (TLS) Denial of Service Vulnerabilities
- Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Inspection Denial of Service Vulnerability
- Crafted Internet Key Exchange (IKE) Message Denial of Service Vulnerability
What is a Denial of Service Vulnerability?
Simply put, a Denial of Service vulnerability is a weakness in the operating system of a server or network appliance. When these vulnerabilities are exploited by a Denial of Service attack, the resource are unavailable to its intended users.
After my last Blog entry, Brian P. labeled me as an “Early Adopter.” I see myself as more of a “Futurist.”
Early Adopter, Futurist. Tomato, tomahto. Let’s call the whole blog off!
What’s the difference, and why should you care? The key difference is that I don’t care about the technology; I care about the Big Picture.
Let’s look at the multi-touch Smartphone. Specifically, let’s talk about Apple.
Let me start off by stating that I’m not a marketing person. I have no desire to be a marketing person and in fact, I personally can’t stand sales and marketing in general! Now all that said, I’m a complete social media junkie. I’ve got accounts with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare and I’m sure when the next cool thing comes out, I’ll probably jump on that bandwagon too! What I’ve learned about these sites is that while most of them are for personal use, business owners can and should take advantage of the tremendous reach of these sites.
Let’s take a brief look at each of these tools and how some businesses are taking advantage of them.
A new buzzword emerged in the last few years and it has promised to take IT headaches away. It has assured business owners that they can save money and resources, while making their lives easier with unlimited scalability.
What is this solution?
As I laid out in my last blog post, there’s a lot of data involved in managing IT assets and services that’s not only important to keep track of, but also critical to take action on. In your business, who does that? If you’re running a 20-50-person shop, you likely have, at most, 1-2 IT folks who keep your computers humming and connected to the networks and Internet.
Your typical on-site IT tech’s days are spent:
- Troubleshooting existing issues
- Upgrading systems
- Patching operating systems and other software
- Maybe testing changes before implementing them (if they have time)
- Maybe analyzing and closing security vulnerabilities
- Hopefully taking and verifying backups, and also securing those backups – Backups are a major data theft vulnerability, and also should be securely kept offsite in case of widespread catastrophe such as fire or flood.
It’s very unlikely that a small team has the time, training, or expertise to capture the kind and detail of data they should in order to properly manage your IT investments. It’s extremely unlikely they put what data they do capture to use for you.
If you are running a Microsoft Exchange environment and have been for a while, you have probably at some point had to run an offline defrag of the Exchange database. This operation is particularly critical with database growth, or with frequent deletion and creation of mailboxes. It is also prescribed by Microsoft to fix certain issues that an Exchange database can experience. However, almost all Exchange databases require this maintenance at some point in their life cycle.
What is an Offline Defrag?
Essentially, an offline defrag creates a new database and copies all records and tables from the old database into the new file. It then deletes the original database file, renames the new database and then copies it into the original database’s location. One of the main reasons for doing this is