From Our End

A new story begins..


one day it happened…  I was working for a local non-profit as an it director in the middle of an infrastructure implementation project…  before I knew it my world changed.
I was tasked to implement a wisp infrastructure at 2 of our 5 locations.  This was an exciting project as we would be moving from a 3 Megabit per second (mbs) internet connection to an 85 mbs connection.  The change would be a significant positive advancement for the business.
We had 69 full time regular users that worked year around.  In the summer with seasonal employees the number grew to be close to 120 or more people. As part of the project, we identified products, configured them, and placed equipment around the sites to provide network connectivity from one end of a site to the other.   We upgraded physical network and Wi-Fi infrastructure adding guest wireless at all sites, while maintaining security to provide good customer experience for the many end users we would be serving.
As part of the project, we migrated our exchange environment to office 365, implemented SharePoint and Microsoft teams. we upgraded our VMware virtualization and our SAN storage as well.  finally, we upgraded our phone systems and were able to conduct a total rework of the budget, which ended up saving a large sum of money – life was good.
Soon after project completion the CEO of many years retired, and a new CEO was named in his place. With the new person in charge, we all heard the speeches about nothing will change (except we will do better), how great each of the staff members are, and what a treat it was to get to work with such an amazing staff. An announcement came that no changes with be made in the first quarter.  Great!
March arrived, and I found myself on an employee improvement plan. Looking back, I had 5 years as the IT director with no issues, and all my performance reviews had been good. I was told that needed to improve my communication skills. I was told this is not punitive as it was a tool to help us work better together.  This was to be in effect until July of that year, after the migration to office 365 was fully complete.  My supervisor, the new CEO, and I decided to do a network assessment. I toured the MSP (Managed Services Provider) around all sites and helped them gather needed information to complete their assessment. We used tools to dig deep into the bowels of active directory, hardware, and software which took 4 or 5 weeks to complete.
Upon completion of their work, we were supposed to be getting their results back for review. It was a Monday, my day to meet with my supervisor as we did every week to talk about how things were going. I clearly remember getting a text message from him, asking if we were still meeting?  I said yes but I needed to be on site to replace a piece of network equipment that had failed.   He let me know he only had an hour and would need to be elsewhere in the early afternoon.  I completed my task and headed to the meeting.  once in the office, I noticed that HR in the room with us. my boss unceremoniously told me I should go look for a new job and the HR director slid the termination documents across the table to me.  I was asked if I had any questions – to which I had no answer due to the shock of the situation unfolding in front of me.  Later, I was to learn from a coworker that earlier that day, a year-long agreement had been signed with the MSP I had selected to assess my technical infrastructure.
One door closes, and another one opens.
A new story begins…

Technology Solutions for the Small Business on the Go

Information Technology services are essential to the success of every organization, large or small. With increasingly competitive business environments, CEOs and small business owners are under great pressure to maintain a highly qualified staff and to make sure their technology is obtaining a better ROI than their competitors’. These goals are not easily achieved, particularly for young or small businesses with less financial resources and time available. Having your own successful information technology department can eat up too much of the company’s budget and time resources, and eventually cause a loss of its competitive edge. These disadvantages of maintaining an in-house IT department are why companies of all sizes have turned to using managed service providers to either assist their existing IT department or become their virtual IT department, handling all of the technology involved in keeping their businesses running at optimal levels.

The benefits of using a managed IT services solution are numerous, but the top 5 benefits of managed services for business include:

Benefit from the expertise of a specialist, without having to spend time and financial resources training your staff to become experts

Decrease your technology risks with Managed IT Services. Your company doesn’t have to worry about losing and trying to replace trained staff members, or about repairing, implementing or replacing complex technology solutions with Managed IT Services

Enjoy access to the most up-to-date, sophisticated technology solutions without having to invest in expensive equipment.

Experience ultimate control over your business technology without having to manage an information technology department. This gives you the time you need to focus on what you do best: your business functions.

Reduce stress and improve efficiency of your staff. When you make good use of Managed IT Services resources, your staff isn’t tied up with IT concerns and they have more time to focus on tasks that are productive for the business.

Try Mobile Banking

It’s important to keep an eye on your business’ finances while on the road, so try out your bank’s mobile banking app and have all your financial information at your fingertips. Additionally, invest in a mobile credit card reader so you can have customer purchases transferred directly into your business accounts without needing to visit a bank to deposit checks or cash.

Manage via Apps

People are essentially glued to their phones these days, and with that has come a surge of new and helpful apps for small business owners. These applications have the benefit of being completely mobile and can be excellent ways to keep your business operating without printing out paper schedules that would likely be lost during travel anyway. Some of the most popular business management apps can do things like set schedules, create agendas, and send and receive invoices.

While running a small business on the move comes with a host of challenges to overcome, there are plenty of technological solutions to help you maximize your efficiency and keep your business running smoothly. Use the suggested solutions above to keep your small business operational regardless of where you are.

Redundancy isn’t backup


I’m a guy who knows stuff.  Knowing stuff in my line of work means that I get calls for help from desperate people just before they spend big money trying to retrieve their lost data using data-recovery companies.   Sometimes I feel like the guy people call when their parachute wont open – AFTER they have jumped out of the plane…

The latest call was from a man who had an equallogic system with two storage nodes setup in a pool. At this point its important to note that just because you have redundant controllers doesn’t mean your data is protected (or fully redundant) – it really only means that if one controller fails the other will (should, with luck) pick up where the other left off – but…  If your controllers get out of sync and you didn’t check them or have alerts setup, You will likely have an outage.  Normally this is a recoverable event, but if an outage occurs  AND you reset your configuration, bring out the clowns to party because now you have likely lost your data.  Its OK though because you have backups…  Uh-oh you didn’t back everything up because you thought your configuration gave you redundancy.  Probably should have read the manual…

Just when Client ‘X’ and I thought things were bad – they got worse – kind of like that feeling you get when you realize your porta-potty has no toilet paper and that line of people waiting to use it are getting restless…  Impending doom…  After recovering the data on one of the Equalogics, it couldn’t rejoin the pool.  Because of this, data was spread across two units, but not mirrored – the data was there but strewn about 2 storage arrays in tiny bits – recovery from this would be like making a sheet of tin foil from a jar of glitter – good luck with that…  No unicorns at the end of this rainbow… At this point data has simply been lost, with the very likely reality being that this person is literally out of business.

I believe introspection is important.  We all fail, some more than others, but we all do it.  The real differentiator is that winners learn from failure, theirs and others.  In this case the main lesson is to back up ALL your data, test those backups to make sure they are viable when needed, and keep a copy offsite.  Finally remember to save your configs (for the Array and Group Manager in the case of Equalogic)**.  Once done you can move this offsite as well and truly simplify your life in the event of a failure

** Sample:The short version login to the CLI as grpadmin

•Run save-config {filename.ext}

•E.g   GrpName>save-config GroupName.config.cli

*Then you can use FTP or SCP (I.e. WinSCP)  to copy that file off the array and wherever you want to save it.

Not just backup

With the on-set of the always on and available data center, the technology landscape is rapidly changing in order to address the ever-looming threats and challenges faced by today’s IT professionals. Tried and true methodologies are supplanted by new more athletic solutions. With the need for immediate recoverability becoming paramount in today business, the old standby of tape backup has been transitioned out of the leading role and today is a supporting character used in archival. In order to support this new and insatiable need for instant recoverability, we now look to new companies such as Rubrick to change how we treat our data.

Recently I was able to spend several days engulfed in some intense sessions discussion backup solutions and strategies with the Rubrik team reviewing their Polaris product. Technologies such as Polaris are propelling forward looking organizations to the ‘next level’ of recoverability, security and data awareness. Polaris is different in that it allows us to consume and understand data in a different way. First it pulls in all of the available data, then it adds to that a layer of data governance, allowing information to be secure and available in a vary consumable fashion. Organizations who are able to leverage data in this way are the ones who will be propelled into the future of backup and data governance technology.If you’re operating a small business on the go, you’re guaranteed to face some issues unique to your situation. Whether it’s getting where you need to be on time, making due with limited resources or technology, or trying to get work done on the road, all entrepreneurs know the feeling of having a lot of their plate. Knowing how to manage your time is an important skill to have. You can use the following technology solutions to keep up with your business’ mobile operations without spending beyond your means.

Create a Mobile Website

Since your business is on the move, people will likely be viewing your website before they have time to get home and access a laptop or desktop. It would be wise to invest in a site that can be viewed from smartphones and tablets, as this will give your clients an opportunity to look at your services regardless of where you, or they, are. Many different managed IT services can help you get the necessary modifications and help to create a better-looking website. Business on the move comes with a host of challenges to overcome, there are plenty of technological solutions to help you maximize your efficiency and keep your business running smoothly. Use the suggested solutions above to keep your small business operational regardless of where you are.

Protect Your Hardware

It’s nearly impossible to do business without access to a computer or the internet these days, so it’s best to minimize your risk of finding yourself without access. Mobile hardware like laptops are essential for operating as a small business on the move, and that means you can’t afford to have your equipment broken during travel. By purchasing hard shipping cases for your and your employees’ laptops, you’ll be able to work from anywhere without concern that you’ll suddenly find yourself without your operating equipment.

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