Category Archives: Blog

  • 0

Reorganizing your IT Staff and Equipment to Maximize Organization Security

Retrain IT Staff, IT Staff Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity Staff, IT staff

The problem with the tech industry is that it moves at the speed it takes to download a webpage. New, bleeding-edge technology such as Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) didn’t even really exist 5 years ago. What this means is that it can be extremely hard to create a long-term plan for your organization’s IT systems. Luckily, our experts here at Logical Front have put together some tips and advice to help you pave the path to IT assurance.

Embrace New Technology

Revolutionary technology like HCI is changing how your IT team manages storage, networking, and security. By combining these functions into a single system, you reduce bottlenecks, streamlining processes that ensure maximum performance. Additionally, utilizing cloud functionality to manage things like backups is a great way to create a safety net should anything go wrong.

An added benefit is the reduction of maintenance work; HCI can all be managed by one team member. This in turn frees up the rest of your already-established IT staff to help bolster an integral system: security. 2017 has been a bumper year for cyber attacks, so why not focus on securing your data correctly?

Retrain your IT Staff

Retrain IT Staff, IT Staff Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity Staff, IT staff

Instead of hiring completely new people, consider instead metaphorically sending your existing staff back to school. Re-training your team to tackle ever-increasing issues such as cyber security can pay huge dividends. According to a 2017 IBM study, the average monetary loss from a hack is $3.62 million, a sum of money surely no one wants to part with. Don’t think it’ll happen to you? Everybody is vulnerable, even elementary schools.

This approach is also beneficial because of the growing gap between college IT security curriculum and the real world cyber-security threats that are constantly evolving. Veteran IT security experts can be extremely hard to find, but growing your own can be equally beneficial (and cheaper).

Converge your Datacenters

This last one may not specifically apply to your organization, but the principle does. If you operate multiple datacenters in separate physical locations, a datacenter migration can drastically reduce costs and system disconnect. With one central location, one team manages one set of IT equipment, simplifying operations and lowering the possibility of annoying system downtime. Another resulting perk is that of security; less complexities mean fewer access points into your network via remote clients. Backups can be moved to the cloud to ensure you have a safety net.

Looking to retrain your IT staff, but don’t know how to get the ball rolling? Contact us for a free assessment.

Written by Harry Herzig

  • 0

6 Strategic Uses for End of Year IT Budget

IT Budget Uses

As the year draws to a close, November presents an opportune time to review your year in IT. What new equipment was brought online? Did your staff receive any new training to maximize the benefits? What goals were accomplished and what tasks still remain to optimize your environment? The answers to these questions provide an effective gauge on the health of your IT department and a perfect indicator of what can be improved should you have any unspent budget. Here are six ways to utilize your end-of-year budget and tick all the boxes.

 

1) Start the Quoting Process ASAP

Scrambling to get pricing as Christmas gets closer is a gamble with people out on PTO- even if you don’t know if the project is likely to happen. Alternatively, if budget opens up and you already have a quote, you are set. Pick 2 or 3 items that may go through and get the quotes ASAP.

2) Leverage a Partner to Take Advantage of Year-End Discounts

Some providers such as Dell EMC don’t actually end their fiscal year in December. This means Dell reps have not filled their quotas. A platinum partner such as Logical Front can leverage their year end with partner reps in December to get special pricing.

3) Support Contracts

While it won’t affect the current year, support contracts are a great way to build a solid platform for future projects. Logical Front is able to negotiate year-long contracts of variable size to assist customers with their datacenter and other IT issues. Support contracts are great if a customer knows that they will need some expert help in the coming year. With proven IT experience, setting up a contract for the coming year is a great spend.

4) Education

Dell EMC offers an all-inclusive education bundle that can be added to any purchase (or purchased separately). It offers training courses on everything in the Dell EMC portfolio. Consequently, it provides great value for customers looking to reduce training costs on emerging technologies.

5) Take a Look at Incremental Performance and Storage Upgrades

IT Budget, End of year IT discounts, Maximizing your IT budget, Strategic uses for your IT budget

Memory upgrades for servers and storage disks that may be important, but not urgent are a great house-cleaning type of end-of-year purchase. While they won’t revolutionize your performance, they will help keep your systems running smoothly. Solutions such as Dell EMC’s all-flash arrays improve system efficiency.

 

6) Security with Antivirus/Anti-malware

Generally, costs for replacing aging AV products that customers aren’t happy with is a lower cost item than big hardware purchases. Because of this, getting the jump on next year by knocking out cybersecurity in 2017 is a great way to free up budget in 2018 for other purchases. Vendors such as Bitdefender provide solution packages to protect you against every threat.

For all your IT budget needs and questions, the team here at Logical Front is always happy to help. Check out our free Get Modern Assessment.


  • 0

Data Storage Devices: All You Need to Know in 2017

As technology continues to improve, data storage solutions increasingly allow users to store more data in ever more convenient places. As the capacities of data storage devices continue to scale up, and Internet connection speeds grow faster, users have more options than ever when it comes to where they keep their data.

Here’s a quick look at three of the most important data storage platforms of 2017.

Data Storage, Cloud Storage, SAN, SAN storage, Storage Area Network, Local Storage, Data Storage Devices

Storage Area Networks (SAN)

A Storage Area Network, or SAN, is a local area network dedicated to data. SANs facilitate bulk data transfers and storage. Additionally, SANs differ from common client-server networks in that users don’t need SANs for simple tasks like Web browsing. A SAN specifically handles large amounts of information without suffering significant data loss.

SANs consist of clusters of servers and disk arrays operating across a local network. SANs are ideal for business applications that require data retrieval, duplication, and storage.

Cloud-based Data Storage

Remote data management over the internet, commonly known as cloud storage, continues to grow in popularity. Perhaps the most attractive feature of cloud storage is its scalability. The cloud gives you access to virtually unlimited storage for your data, which can expand and contract with your needs.

Cloud storage uses remote hard disks to store massive amounts of data securely. Thanks to modern high-speed internet connectivity, the rate of data transfer from the computing cloud is sufficient for nearly all business and consumer computing needs. Cloud storage allows users to eliminate the physical space necessary for hefty storage hardware. Consequently, cloud storage reduces the overhead costs associated with those devices.

Local Storage

Physical media is by no means dead, though in this era of cloud computing, it has certainly lost some of its luster. Hard drives, as well as flash and USB storage devices, remain popular. However, portable media, such as optical storage platforms, continue to decline in relevance as more data moves to the cloud.

The real issue here is that with physical media, if the device fails or is lost (or worse yet, stolen), the data is gone. So, to avoid disaster, we need to back up data from local storage devices to the cloud. This, in turn, creates a redundancy that wouldn’t occur with one of the other types of storage.

Need help with your data storage? Contact us

Written by: Marie Ferguson


  • 0

Desktop Virtualization: 5 Key Performance Indicators

Desktop Virtualization

What Are The Key Indicators Of Success For A Desktop Virtualization Project?

 

In many ways, a desktop virtualization project is no different than any other project. Namely, successful projects must have a timely delivery, stay within the estimated budget, and above all, the quality must meet the business requirements.

Ensuring that you use the virtualization methods that are best for the client will determine much of your success. In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the key performance indicators for a desktop virtualization project.

 

1. Business Objectives

Arguably the most important, focus on meeting the business objectives of the project. A project that meets this goal has served its purpose. Always start by asking what the expected outcomes are. For example; remote access, security, centralizing applications and data, cost controls, simplifying desktop management, etc. Next, you have to take into account the needs of the client. Then select the ideal virtual desktop solution that with enable your client to produce your desired business outcomes.

 

2. Network Capabilities

Secondly, be sure to thoroughly assess the network before deployment. Examining the network and verifying adequate bandwidth and latency will give an idea if the network is capable of supporting the peak load of the virtual desktop infrastructure. Often, the constraint is around WAN bandwidth and remote access requirements.

 

3. Server Precautions

Servers remain the hearts of desktop virtualization. Without proper planning, server failures can cause downtime in the whole virtual desktop infrastructure. For a successful desktop visualization deployment, deployers must take necessary precautions to prevent downtime. A good approach is to spread the virtual desktop across multiple servers and configure the environment for high availability.

 

4. Storage Upgrade

Many solution providers have a habit of over or under scoping the storage during desktop virtualization deployment. The issue is that they entirely neglect to take into account storage needs. Therefore, solution providers should estimate the storage requirement of their clients during the planning stage. In that case, the provider can acquire additional storage before the project is deployed.

 

5. Phase Deployment

Even with thorough monitoring and planning, there are times that the success of the desktop virtualization project will not be easy to predict. Often, it is why it is advised to deploy in phases. This will make it possible to make necessary adjustments, train potential users, and demonstrate values before full deployment. Keep an eye on the KPI’s throughout the process for the best chance of success.

These are some of the key indicators of success for a desktop virtualization project. You may also be looking into data storage & desktop virtualization consulting services that will ensure that your desktop virtualization project turns out to be a success. Logical Front has the experience to deliver. Our experts will ensure that your desktop virtualization project goes as planned. Contact us.

Written by: Marie Ferguson


  • 0

Data Management Platforms: 3 Costly Errors

Comprehensive, stress-free data management platforms are essential for effective business operation. Unfortunately, the selection process is not particularly easy.

Too often, businesses face situations like this:

At first, you think you’re getting a data management platform well-suited to your needs. But, in application you find the entire platform fails you. You are left scrambling to control the damage. In times like these,  you need expert counsel to patch the holes in your platform. Certain cases even require entirely new platforms.

Ideally, you’d have smooth sailing data management in the first place. For better or worse, it’s not everyday that you get a new data management platform. So, to mitigate possible losses from your current platform, look out for these three most common data quality issues :

Data Storage Solutions, Data Management, IT issues, Data Management Platforms, Duplicate Data, Inconsistent Formatting, Incomplete Data Storage

1. Duplicate Data

Certain management systems have issues that result in multiple copies of the same file or record. Duplicate data is inconvenient on a good day and an all-out nightmare on a bad one. Tracking down which files are duplicates is tedious. Plus, you shouldn’t have to worry about your storage space disappearing due to unnecessary copies. If you find that you have less storage than you estimate you should have, check for this error as the culprit.

2. Incomplete Data Storage

Sometimes, data management platforms save files without all of the correct information. When records or documents don’t harbor all of the attributes you created, it destroys the validity of the file itself. If left undetected, you could lose a devastating amount of data. And no data means no business. Any suspicion of this error should undergo investigation by an expert ASAP.

3. Inconsistent Formatting

Formatting issues are just plain messy. All the data is there, but it is confusing and therefore nearly useless. For example, let’s say you need to store all of your clients’ contact information in an easy-to-check manner. However, inconsistent formatting plagues your data. The string of digits aren’t broken up in a standard way and saved in the correct label. You end up with confusing strings of numbers. Phone numbers and extended zip codes are indistinguishable. Now what? Such inconsistencies cause endless amounts of confusion and distress, especially in time-sensitive situations.

Logical Front can rapidly resolve these errors so you can utilize your data to the fullest. Contact us.

Written by: Marie Ferguson

 


  • 0

5 Steps to Firework-Worthy IT Project Success

 

Fourth of July celebrations are synonymous with fireworks. Whether you get a brilliant display or an explosion gone wrong, fireworks are extremely entertaining. IT projects, like fireworks, tend to have one of two outcomes: booming success or flaming disaster. However, IT projects that take a turn for the worse have all the mess without any of the spectacle.

Logical Front CEO, John Lane, shares the 5 questions you should ask before launching a new project:

Project tips from our CEO

“When a client is considering a digital transformation, large or small, we present them with five important questions. Understanding their present state, goals, obstacles, and unique internal processes gives us the foundation of their solution.”


The first two questions are pretty straight forward. They reveal the gap between the current and desired digital presence:

1.       What is your organization’s digital presence today?
2.       What do you want your organization’s digital presence to be?

The final three questions deal with project expectations. Typically, these questions lead to more lengthy and detailed conversations. “As a result, it’s easy to focus too much on educating a client about what items their project requires. But, it’s equally important for us to understand what additional pieces they are expecting.” 

Aspects of expectations include foreseeable roadblocks and risks. However, the most under-discussed factor is the company’s internal processes. Without this discussion, different parties involved in the project will have very different visions of the path and destination. 

3.       What stands in the way of obtaining your organization’s desired digital presence?
4.       How does your organization manage technological change?
5.       What risks (if any) would you encounter at each step of the way?

With these guiding questions, your project can light up your organization.

Feel like your project is turning into a dud? Contact us.

 

Written by: Marie Ferguson


  • 0

Better Dad Than Darth Vader? Ask These 10 Dad Jokes

Dad’s don’t ask for much. On Mother’s Day, moms want breakfast in bed, flowers, chocolate, jewelry, a professional massage, and homemade gifts from every kid. Dads, on the other hand, just want confirmation that they aren’t messing things up. Here’s a little Father’s Day pre-game for you as told by the best/worst dad jokes:

 

10 Ways You’re a Better Dad Than Darth Vader

 

1. Family is your top priority

Luke had no idea Darth Vader was his father until he was well past his childhood. If your kids know who you are, give yourself a point.

2. You’re cool, even if your kids don’t know it

In the school pick up line. Windows rolled down. Singing at the top of your lungs. Has DV ever even cracked a smile?

3. You get the important things right

Did you forget to take pictures when your daughter left for Homecoming? Ok sure. But have you ever cut off your kid’s arm? If not, you’ve got daddy Darth beat.

4. Honesty is (sometimes) the best policy

Am I the only one who only learned my parents WEREN’T straight “A” students until I AFTER graduated college? Sometimes it’s ok to push them higher… at least you’re not pushing them to the dark side. *Bonus points if you use Santa threats year-round to discipline your kids.

5. You take pride in your troops

Even if they don’t obey your every command or defeat their opponents on the (soccer) field, you’re still just in awe that you MADE them. In contrast, Vader’s love is definitely conditional. Ten points to Gryffin-dad!

6. You’re a full-time cheerleader

Sometimes, you’ll defend your kid 100% to the point of getting kicked out of a little league game. Other times, you see a kid knock down a whole display of cans at the grocery store and think, “That poor kid’s parents…” Then you realize it’s yours. But you can’t really complain- he got it from you!

7. Your kids get fed

Ok maybe you just ordered a pizza, but that’s why they love when you’re in charge of dinner.

8. You buy the toy, even when your feet beg you not to

If you’re Batman, LEGOS are the Bane of your existence. Despite the fear of permanent nerve damage in the arches of your feet, you sacrifice for their creativity and development. One good lego building session might have changed the future for Luke and Leia.

9. You turn disaster into adventure

When the iPad dies and the charger is AWOL on a road trip across the country, dads know how to spontaneously create car games. Those memories end up being the best anyways. Which is why you forgot the charger on purpose. At least, that’s what you can tell your wife.

10. You blur the lines between embarrassing and hilarious

First off, you left your cousin’s wedding to get hamburgers for you and your starving kids. You also snored loudly during the principal’s endless speech at the PTA meeting. Oh, and you made a make-shift hair tie out of a candy bar wrapper for your daughter at field day. Plus, you put an eye pad and some rocks in an iPad box and gave it to your teen for Christmas.

Overall, you do both the unexpected and the cliche, and it works. And yes, this includes dad jokes.

Happy Father’s Day!

 

Written by: Marie Ferguson

Sources:

https://me.me/t/ella-vader?s=new

https://jdwaggoner.wordpress.com/tag/star-trek/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/tabathaleggett/18-jokes-only-harry-potter-fans-will-find-funny?utm_term=.ojGAEJx0X#.jx15evX29

http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/3151159/Son+and+dad

http://www.aminoapps.com/page/lotr/9253931/the-9-best-lord-of-the-rings-memes

http://www.howtobeadad.com/2016/32620/dad-jokes-hall-of-shame-part-5

http://www.sonic1029.com/2016/06/19/finish-dad-joke/

https://twitter.com/adtechdadjokes

http://www.paltalk.com/blog/7-dad-jokes-your-technology-loving-father

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/meme-time/82975829/


  • 0

4 Ways Your Wireless Network is a Security Risk

Companies across the globe are going wireless. However, as wireless networks gain more popularity in the technological world, companies that provide data storage and network security consulting still prefer wired networks. While there are several reasons for the preference, network security is perhaps the most important.

This article explains the four main security advantages wired networks have over wireless networks:

No Physical Security Layer

To start, most companies recognize that network security has layers. While it is true that layers do not necessarily make it impossible for attackers to compromise a network, they do make attacks extremely difficult. When attacks take more time than they are worth, attackers move on to easier targets. Thus, data protection and security become achievable feats for any company.

Unlike the wireless network, wired networks provide huge barriers to a would-be attacker. Wireless networks are mostly omni-directional. Hence, encryption is all that keeps them private. For any attacker to successfully compromise a wired network, he/she must plug in to it. If you have well-controlled building access, you have a significant physical barrier from attackers that wireless networks cannot match.

Exposed Information

Tremendous amounts of broadcast information are obtainable from wireless networks. It doesn’t even require compromising the network or otherwise cracking passwords to achieve this. For example, the MAC addresses of the clients and Access Points are easily viewable. Other vulnerable information includes the quantity of frames received or sent, the SSIDs located in the client probes, etc. If an attacker associates a MAC with a particular person, they can match the time the employee is in a building with the time and amount of data they received or sent.

Additionally, wireless networks are exposed. Thus, an attacker may record wireless transmissions for future break-in attempts. This method is nearly limitless. Discovering a WPA-PSK password can enable an attacker to decrypt wireless communications and compromise all clients. RADIUS is more secure as an attacker can only compromise one client at a time. However, the threat remains.

De-Authentication

Wireless networks are susceptible to de-authentication attacks, which force clients to disconnect. Again, this doesn’t require compromising the network. Instead, attackers design a hole specifically into the 802.11 quality. Furthermore, attackers can set these attacks to initiate on demand, as scheduled, or endlessly. As a result, the clients are constantly reconnecting and productivity plummets.

Revoking Access

At any point you may find it necessary to revoke a user’s access to a network for security reasons. With wired networks, doing so effectively only requires removal of access from the premises. On the other hand, wireless access requires a longer process plus a delay before the revocation takes effect. With WPA-PSK, revoking the access of one user to one network requires the revocation of access to all networks, if not permanent, by altering the password. But with RADIUS, you’re able to revoke access on a per user basis.

When is comes to network security, wireless networks have vulnerabilities that wired networks don’t. However, there are many other factors to consider when choosing a network. Logical Front can help your company get the right network and security for your needs.

Written by: Marie Ferguson

Network Security


  • 0

Cloud Computing: Public or Private?

Anyone in tech knows there are public clouds and private clouds. What they can’t agree on is which is better. Is there a way to benefit from both? Sure, hybrid clouds offer another solution. However, there isn’t a universal cloud winner. The type of data you’re working with determines the most useful form of computing cloud for you. To know which is best for your business, you must know the following things about each cloud:

Public Cloud

The services of a public cloud are provided off-site over the Internet. The benefit of this cloud is that it’s efficient in terms of shared resources. On the other hand, they are more vulnerable than other of forms of cloud computing. We would advise you to use a public cloud when;

  • Many people use your workload in terms of applications. For example, your email.
  • There is need to test and develop application codes.
  • A vendor with a good security strategy provides you with a software service.
  • You’re collaborating on a project with another company.
  • Your engaged in an ad-hoc software project that makes use of a Platform as a Service offering cloud.

Private Cloud

Just as the name implies, a private network maintains a private cloud. They provide a higher level of security and control. However, the company has to maintain and purchase all the software. You can use a private cloud when;

  • Applications are basically the bulk of your business.
  • Your business conforms with rigid security and data privacy measures.
  • Your company is big enough to run on a next generation cloud data effectively on its own.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private options. It gives you the possibility to keep each aspect of your business intact. The disadvantage is that you have to keep track of all aspects of your business communicating with each other. Hybrid cloud is best when;

  • Your business wants to use a software as a service application, but needs better cloud security.
  • Your business provides services that have to do with vertical markets. You can use a public cloud to communicate with your clients while securing their information in a private cloud.

 

Managing cloud computing is more difficult when you have to manage private, public and the typical data center altogether. Furthermore, to complicate issues, the difference between a private and a public cloud is blurry. For instance, some public cloud companies are offering their clients a private version of public clouds. On the other hand, some companies that before were only offering private clouds are now offering public versions of their private clouds.

Each of the cloud options affect your business and applications differently. Over the years, private cloud solution has become more common, while most companies no longer use public cloud solutions. Nowadays, a hybrid cloud is most common, even mainstream. In the end, it’s up to each business to determine how they can most effectively utilize cloud computing.

Want an expert to evaluate your cloud options? Contact Logical Front for a free Cloud Readiness Assessment. 


  • 0

Which IT Superhero are You?

 

 

Even an IT superhero needs a sidekick sometimes.

Logical Front can help you keep your turf secure. So, contact us at security@logicalfront.com or call (801) 203-3141 for a free security assessment.