As part of my job, I evaluate technologies and help businesses decide on what technology solution is right for them. Often times, this is done by evaluating an existing network infrastructure. By understanding what is currently in place, I am able to work with management to understand how the business needs compare to the capabilities of the current systems. In many cases, I find that businesses aren’t taking full advantage of the technology solutions they have already invested in. Therefore, they aren’t getting full value for their technology investment. By not using, or at least trying to use, the majority of the new features available in a product, you may not get full value for what you paid for.
This week I would like to list the Top Features in Windows Server operating systems that go overlooked or not fully utilized.
Most Overlooked/Underused Features in Windows Server Operating Systems
Join us on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA to learn about latest technologies that can help your company succeed in today’s changing business climate.
This will be an intimate trade show format with a morning and an afternoon session, allowing for the maximum number of interested companies to attend. Hear from industry-leading experts on topics like:
- Complete Data Protection – Breakthrough technology to consolidate Data Back-up, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery into ONE service.
- Virtualization and Cloud Computing – Could Virtualization help my business? What does cloud computing mean and how does fit into my technology plan? Learn more about the path you should take and the products that best-fit into your technology plan.
- Email Archiving – You can’t live without email! Protect it, store it, recover it and satisfy the new compliance requirements.
- Network Security – As the number of malicious threats to your network continues to rise, the time you spend managing your firewall doesn’t have to.
- Hardware Performance - Slow hard drive? Learn how you can get faster, more reliable performance out our your existing hardware.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
At the conclusion of the afternoon session, stay and network with the areas other small business leaders. Open bar and food will be provided from 5:00–7:00pm. Every participant will be registered in a raffle to win:
- Apple iPad
- Tickets for the Boston Celtics/Miami Heat game in February
- Tickets for the New England Patriots/Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday, October 31st
Attendance is limited. Please Register Now so you don’t miss out.
For more information, please visit: www.ThriveNetworks.com/TechConference
Almost seven years ago, I joined Thrive Networks as an Account Manager. I had come from a purely administrative background. I knew nothing about technology. I even remember during one of my first interviews being asked if I knew what “XP” was and had to answer honestly, “No”. Really, I knew absolutely nothing.
Being a non-technical employee surrounded by network engineers had its challenges. Over the years, I have learned a lot from being around technology. I now know what Raid 5 is, what Virtualization means, and I can tell you for certain the Internet is not a series of tubes. Can I build an Exchange box? No. Can I troubleshoot your bandwidth issues? No.
What I can do is give you the Top 5 Things I have learned being an end-user just like you working at an Outsourced IT Firm.. These tips won’t get you promoted to CTO, but they will surely help you make your own IT experience better.
Top 5 Things I Have Learned Working at an Outsourced IT Service Company
“Remote” is a common term used today in the workplace. Whether it be a remote office or a single user at home, today’s technologies have given us the capability to virtually work from anywhere and be productive. But just how productive is your remote office?
Here’s a scenario…
You have a group of accountants that continually work on Excel spreadsheets that they access via a mapped drive. This mapped drive points to a server at the headquarters with a T1 connection (1.5Mbps). Today’s standard bandwidth requirement when connecting to servers locally is 1Gbps, so right away you can see where the inefficiencies would lie.
One solution that Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 can offer is Transparent Caching.
Recently, one of our clients had a Web Presence issue. The issue wasn’t with their company’s website, rather with the CEO’s name. Let’s call him Fred Fakename. When Freddy did a Google Search for “Fred Fakename”, he couldn’t find himself. Even worse, the top result didn’t point to Fred. It pointed to a Dentist in Canada, Dr. Fred Fakename. Fred had no control over his Web Presence.
Fred’s dilemma made me think about how many other people out there are like Fred. Am I like Fred? I’ve spent very little time social networking, but I’ve written a couple of blogs, and I’m the only John Dilthey I have ever met. It was now time to see where I stand.
During the course of a given week, I will speak with anywhere between two and six companies regarding their Information Technology needs. A common issue I have is obtaining some simple information regarding their environments. Most companies seem to turn a blind eye to their networks, so long as everything is working properly. This is inherently a bad approach given that the network is usually the home to an organization’s most critical information and systems. It continues to surprise me how often businesses don’t even know the administrative passwords to their network.
Given that this is YOUR NETWORK, you should hold the keys to the kingdom.
Things you should know about your network
As an IT administrator, you should maintain a working understanding of the following network components:
Click here to read “SMTP Lockdown: Inbound Protection (Part I)”
In SMTP Lockdown: Inbound Protection, we discussed controlling who can send email into a mail server. In an effort to reduce spam and avoid being blacklisted or labeled as a spammer, it is equally important to restrict who can send email OUT from a domain. Why? Because if SMTP traffic can flow freely outwards from anywhere on the internal network, a spammer doesn’t necessarily need access to your mail server. And if the domain’s IPs are seen generating abundant amount of Spam SMTP traffic, those IPs and their respective domain name may become Blacklisted (i.e. other email servers will not accept your email anymore).
Spambots and You
Now that inbound SMTP is locked down and nobody can relay off of the mail server, can Spammers still take advantage of your domain? Well, do the employees use the Internet? In most cases, the answer is a “Yes”. Unless HTTP traffic is very thoroughly monitored AND all client Antivirus definitions are in tip-top shape (a whole different article entirely…), then those users and their workstations are vulnerable to become Spammers.
Users Becoming Spammers
A user may browse to their favorite social networking site, get a pop up, and click a link they shouldn’t have. Suddenly, a small program known as a Spambot installs. The Spambot may attempt to harvest email addresses from its infected host. It may also seek to infect other machines and create a Spam BotNet. A Spam BotNet on a network will search for open Port 25 connections and try to send outbound Spam messages by relaying off machines running SMTP.
If you have properly locked down the mail server so that no IPs (or strictly controlled ones) can relay off of it and take the extra step of only allowing Outbound Port 25 traffic from the mail server at the Firewall, this BotNet will not be able to relay off the mail server. Only the mail server will be able to send email out and your domain’s IP addresses will remain in good standing. That being said, there would certainly still be some internal cleanup to do if a Botnet is installed. However, at least it wouldn’t be your Internet domain reputation that suffers.
Email. What began as a novelty, an interesting alternative to the physically written word, has now evolved into the hands-down single most important universal set of applications in the business world. As such, people tend to get very angry if their email is not working correctly. There are a lot of moving parts involved in moving email traffic throughout the Internet, the majority of which can break and result in an email outage if not properly maintained. So why chance a threat to email functionality which can be controlled? No good reason, right?
Meet SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). SMTP is the Internet Protocol which very nearly ALL email travels over, and has a specific TCP/IP Port (25) which its traffic runs on. Spammers use vulnerable SMTP servers and Port 25 openings to spread their content anywhere and everywhere, often without using their own servers to do it. Access to Port 25 can be restricted both at the email server and at the firewall at the edge of a network. An inbound email to a domain name requires a connection to go through the firewall and end up at the email server.
In the days of rampant Spam Attacks, it is critical to control who can connect to, as well as relay off of, an email server. Here are several important ways that businesses can protect themselves from inbound email threats:
Bob Dylan recorded the song (and the album) in 1963. It was written two years before he went electric. If I could speak to him today, I would like to know his take on how different things are today. I am sure he could draw several political and cultural similarities between the present and 1963. But the differences are quite vast. Technology has become the driving force of everything around us.
Consider, if you will, the large number of changes that the music industry has been through because of technology. Think back as far as you can and think about every piece of equipment you have owned in your lifetime that simply allows you to listen to music. Personally, I can remember owning a record player, a walkman or three, many tape decks, four or five CD players, three iPods, and an Android. It is amazing how much media I have owned and do own. (Believe me, I just moved…there’s too much). The best part about the improvement of entertainment media is the decrease in size and weight. I really want to get rid of all of the plastic junk I need to lug around just to enjoy a song. I pity the people who had to dedicate entire living rooms to their record collections.
We don’t need to do this anymore though, do we?