8 10, 2020

Abandoned Cables – A Forgotten Fire Hazard

2020-10-08T16:22:03-05:00October 8th, 2020|Tags: , , , , |

Every year client businesses all over the nation spend thousands of dollars in technology to expand and upgrade their network cabling infrastructure to improve productivity. Every new installation means an increased number of low voltage cables that are cut and left in ceilings, floors, and walls. Miles of abandoned network cables have accumulated in hospitals, schools, and office buildings. From a tenant or building owner’s point of view, removing abandoned cable has been seen in the past as more trouble than it was worth. New cables were added wherever there was space, as it was easier to ignore the old wires rather than bringing in a professional to remove it. Cable abatement can be a difficult and confusing task, since over many years of occupancy a variety of voice, data, fiber optic, and electrical cables can build up. Removal by an inexperienced worker risks the chance of disconnecting a critical network’s operation and poses safety concerns, particularly when the weight of the old cables is not properly supported. However, this abandoned cable is now coming under more and more scrutiny by local governments and commercial property owners. Most outdated cable contains toxic and highly flammable materials that, if caught on fire, can be fatal and cause extensive property damage. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) revised the National Electrical Code in order to address this issue. The rules make it a violation to have abandoned wires that are not terminated and/or identified for future use. Because of this, abandoned cabling can render your property [...]

24 09, 2020

Public Cloud’s Impact on Enterprise Networks

2021-02-19T16:45:55-06:00September 24th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Corporations are moving to public cloud in growing numbers, and the increasing use of these services is having an impact on enterprise networks. Potential bottlenecks are shifting away from the company data center to network entry and exit points. Corporations must understand why the changes are occurring and their impact, and then take steps to ensure their networks deliver acceptable response times. Organizations are embracing cloud computing. Worldwide spending on public cloud services was forecasted to increase from $227.8 billion in 2019 to $266.4 billion in 2020, a 17% annual jump, according to market research firm Gartner, Inc. As workloads move from the company data center to the public cloud, enterprise network traffic patterns shift. The first change is corporations are deploying more applications: mobile, social media, data analytics, and artificial intelligence and machine learning. The result is they work with more information and need to carry it over their corporate networks. The volume of data generated annually is expected to grow from 33 zettabytes (1 trillion gigabytes) in 2018 to 175ZB in 2025, a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 61%. Changing Traffic Patterns Faster networking techniques are required as more information flows over enterprise networks. Recently, vendors started to roll out Wi-Fi 6, which increases wireless networks’ top speed from 1G bps to 2G bps to 10G bps. In addition, traffic flows shift. In the past, processing was monolithic: almost all was done in central data centers. Cloud distributes computing infrastructure: keeping some work on site but moving some off to public [...]

12 09, 2020

Stories in the Spotlight – September 2020

2020-09-24T20:40:08-05:00September 12th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , |

Contact tracing apps are finally coming Contact tracing is a popular method to track who's been exposed to Covid-19. It's been done manually, up to this point; however, several months ago Google and Apple announced that they were joining forces to create technology that automates the process. Netform is one company that creates exposure notification technology that uses Bluetooth to track who you've come across and whether or not they've tested corona-positive. Netform's app has been successful in the UK and is coming to America next month. The Oracle of Tiktok Tiktok chose Oracle as it's "technology partner" in an attempt to avoid being banned by the Trump administration. Why Oracle?  It could be because Oracle already has a large database infrastructure and a deep pedigree in software applications. It could also be because Oracle executives are ultra buddy-buddy with Trump. Either way, Tiktok sees an Oracle partnership as the best chance to not be deported (virtually speaking). The deal still has to be approved by federal regulators so we'll see what happens. Biden/Trump auto-complete controversy Google has removed autocomplete functionality for Biden and Trump. Google's auto-complete feature attempts to predict what you're going to search for based on the popularity of searches that start with similar words. They've removed this feature, exclusively for Biden and Trump, to avoid being seen as attempting to influence the election. Users can still search for whatever they want...Google just isn't going to make any suggestions through auto-complete. Portland bans facial recognition Portland became the strictest US city to ban the use of facial recognition. Facial recognition [...]

21 08, 2020

Network Traffic Shifts from East/West to North/South

2021-01-27T00:14:07-06:00August 21st, 2020|Tags: , , , , , |

The growth of public cloud services boosts enterprise network traffic Public cloud has become popular because it offers organizations flexibility, lower costs, and more rapid deployment. One ripple effect from its growth is a significant change in corporate network traffic patterns. Typically, most traffic, traveled East-West, inside the data center, but cloud alters that equation so more data moves North-South from inside to outside. As they embrace these services, corporations often need to upgrade their networks to ensure adequate response time. Vendors, like Amazon Web Service, Microsoft, and Google Inc., are locked in an intense battle to emerge as the top public cloud provider. In response, they have been expanding their services and lowering pricing with the goal of attracting more customers. Their plans have been very successful. Worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure is expected to grow from $229 billion in 2019 to nearly $500 billion in 2023, a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.3%, according to market research firm International Data Corp. A Lack of Focus When examining these services, businesses often focus on the impact on their applications and data center staffing. With public cloud, organizations deliver software updates more quickly. In many cases, businesses also reduce their data center operations staff needs. While the business drivers are compelling, one area that is often overlooked is public cloud’s impact on the enterprise network, which is quite dramatic. The perception that public cloud makes computing infrastructure invisible is a misconception. Whether organizations themselves deal with the computer infrastructure or someone [...]

19 07, 2020

Stories in the Spotlight – July 2020

2020-09-24T20:40:47-05:00July 19th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , |

Twitter hacks Twitter was hacked by a group with the intention of running a bitcoin scam. We're assuming they were Nigerian princes, but that hasn't been proven....yet. They targeted 130 accounts of high profile people such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, and Kanye West and sent bogus messages that encouraged people to send them Bitcoin. All told, they gained about $120,000 in currency. It happened from the inside The investigation is showing that the group gained access to the accounts by targeting mid-level employees at Twitter. Two scenarios: 1. The employees were victims of complex phishing schemes (social engineering attacks designed to get people to give away sensitive information like user names, passwords, etc.) 2. An employee was in on it. Neither situation is good for Twitter as it reveals significant security vulnerabilities. Twitter released a statement saying that they have "taken significant steps to limit access to internal systems," but that's easier said than done. This type of mess isn't easy to clean up and often creates additional vulnerabilities. Word of advice to all: Don't click a link (any link) unless you know exactly what it is, who it's from, and where it's taking you. Clicking on mystery links is a great way to get your information stolen. 5G: What should we expect?  Let's start with a quick overview of 5G. There are three aspects to it: Low-Band: Transmits on the 600mhz frequency and has a very long range. Useful for covering rural areas where towers and antennas are sparse. Speeds can be around 300 Mbps if you're close to [...]

14 07, 2020

Edge Computing in 60 seconds

2020-07-23T22:11:11-05:00July 14th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , , |

Get Smart: Edge Computing Let's face it, we only use apps that function well. We like smooth, well-functioning apps that get and send our information quickly. We don't like buffering and we don't like delays. The reason why some applications and websites function better than others is because of how much money they're willing to spend on edge computing. Edge computing is all about how to bring the data closer to the end-user (you). Think about it as if a Costco opened up down the street. Now you don't have to drive an hour away to get your supersized bag of chips. The information sits in data servers at physical locations (the cloud). When you click on a link, that request has to go through multiple processes to get to the cloud, which then has to transmit the information back to you. As the amount of data grows and more requests are generated, this can result in a delay or latency. This is when your video takes more than 2 seconds to load. Edge computing is more important than ever because it figures out how to bring the data as close to the user as possible to make the experience better. By conducting operations on the edge, systems and networks can perform more reliably, swiftly, and efficiently without compromising functionality. Companies like Cloudflareand Fastlyare hired by Big Tech to use their technology to bring the data as close to the edge (end-user) as possible. Edge computing is currently a $20 Billion industry that is [...]

24 06, 2020

Wi-Fi 6 Supports Faster Speeds & New Naming Conventions

2021-01-27T00:14:11-06:00June 24th, 2020|Tags: , , , , , |

Technology constantly improves: more processing power, more features, and more options. Consequently, a need for more bandwidth follows. Wireless connections are quite popular, so recently, the Wi-Fi Forum completed the latest version of its standard, Wi-Fi 6, which increases the top speed to 10Gbps. Wi-Fi standards have been evolving since the first version was created at the turn of the millennium. The solutions are popular because they support a diverse group of devices: desktops, tablets, smartphones, and notebooks and a growing variety of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, such as sensors, health care monitors, and video cameras. The latest iteration, which is the first upgrade since 2014, differs from its predecessors in design, bandwidth, features, and naming conventions. Two Bands are Better than One Traditionally, Wi-Fi solutions operated over the 5GHz wireless frequency band. Wi-Fi 6 runs over two bands: 2.4GHz in addition to 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band was selected because it offers flexible, high speed connections, but it is not backward compatible with previous iterations of the standard. Speed is often the main attraction with new network options, and Wi-Fi 6 operates at 10Gbps compared to the 3.5Gbps available with Wi-Fi 5. When examining top speeds, the listed high water marks are usually more theoretical than actual because they focus on best case network design scenarios. Enterprises usually do not reach the maximum, but they should gain a significant boost in raw performance with the new networking approach. Design Changes Wi-Fi 6 supports a few new features that provide the extra speed. The [...]

3 10, 2019

Application Changes Drive Need for Network Upgrades

2021-01-27T00:14:14-06:00October 3rd, 2019|Tags: , , |

Application Changes Drive Need for Network Upgrades An influx of new applications slows down enterprise networks The signs sometimes are subtle but increasing. The time needed to complete a transaction takes a bit longer, the number of user complaints rises, and web site performance diminishes. The corporate network, which has hummed along without incident for years, suddenly needs a tune up. What is driving the change? The nature of business applications today is evolving. New solutions are being deployed on a continuous basis. In addition, they are built on different foundations than in the past. They are more network and less server centric, so the end result is corporate networks require more bandwidth. Here are several increasingly popular applications that are pushing organizations toward network upgrades. Public Cloud This design approach has become very popular. Revenue spent on these systems has been increasing at a rapid clip with no signs of a slowdown. In fact, worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure is forecast to reach $210 billion in 2019, an increase of 23.8% over 2018, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Here are a few reasons for public cloud’s popularity. These systems are simple to deploy. They are based on a modern architecture, so making a change requires a few clicks rather than several steps. These solutions include high levels of automation, so they are easy to manage. Because of these benefits, vendors need less staff resources to manage them and pass the savings along to customers. While beneficial, these applications generate [...]

14 12, 2018

CompTIA State of the Channel Study Highlights Need for Partnerships

2019-05-16T19:00:28-05:00December 14th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

CompTIA’s yearly State of the Channel report covers trends in the technology ecosystem by surveying hundreds of U.S. IT businesses. We looked at their 2018 report as it pertains to channel partnership trends and found some key information that we’d like to share with you. Optimism for the Future CompTIA reports that businesses in the channel are very optimistic for the future. The report states, “Nearly across the board, respondents in 2018 ranked factors that bolster good feelings about the channel’s future significantly higher than they did two years ago. The broader use of technology among customers, for example, inspired optimism for the future in 37% of 2016’s respondents; in 2018 that figure jumped to 52%.” However, businesses face concerns when it comes to the availability of skilled IT workers, a gap that CompTIA says the channel hopes to “tackle with the help of third-party experts.” Creating Agility Within the Channel As the IT channel grows and gains momentum businesses must be agile to maintain growth. More and more clients are looking for a technology provider that has expertise in a broad array of skills and can provide comprehensive support. Despite the fact that it is nearly impossible for one provider to effectively deliver on all solutions and services, the client wants “one throat to choke” and will look for a provider who can fully manage their technology. Organizations miss out on valuable business when they are unable to meet specific needs for their clients and may even face losing the client completely to [...]