SEGI Sales Blog

Manage Your New Data Center: The Entire Internet

Tony Page - Thursday, July 17, 2014

In the boom of the digital age, the modern data center really bears little resemblance to its 'big, LED-heavy hardware room' predecessors.

Cloud computing, mobile applications, and software analysis tools have signaled the end of the physical age and given way to a whole new kind of data center: one that you can carry around in your pocket, should you wish to.

This ease and accessibility has meant that CIOs are under more pressure than ever to stay on top of their mobile data center. In theory, all CIOs can access the right information to identify and sometimes resolve the following issues in real time, from anywhere, 24/7:

  • Network problems under the business' network jurisdiction
  • Proper operation of all network aspects
  • Public internet network issues
  • Cloud network issues

While this should seem easy when most data center managers can access all relevant information from numerous channels, most data centers themselves simply aren't equipped to adequately display this information in a clear and succinct format that consolidates data with the intention of making it easily interpretable.

Of course, the nature of data presentation is only one such problem for data center managers. The other primary problem concerns change. As digital platforms are constantly moving forward, business models have to adapt and the ways in which data can be interpreted and acted upon too have to change.

This set of responsibilities can see many data center managers opting to switch to cloud based platforms in the hopes that doing so will shift a portion of responsibility to software providers. This approach, however appealing, is also a mistaken one, and should be avoided because true management lies in solid understanding.

Any CIO worth their salt should endeavor to become the master of their own data center tools and increasingly, this means getting a handle on all cloud-based applications or, if you will, getting a handle and successfully managing the entire internet.

Nine times out of ten, this requires a willingness to change, and the ability to predict and anticipate problems which will inevitably arise, even with the smoothest sailing ship in the world. By emphasizing a culture of change and constant improvement, CIOs will be best equipped to manage their data center: the entire internet, and make informed and adaptable decisions that will strive to constantly improve any operations across an enterprise.

5 Cost Saving Tips for IT Infrastructure

Tony Page - Thursday, July 03, 2014

5 Cost Saving Tips for IT Infrastructure

As part of a business' overall IT budget, infrastructure often accounts for a disproportionately high percentage, thus making it a good candidate for money saving changes as part of implementing lean business practices.

Not every financial saving need accrue detrimental costs to efficiency, however, and with this in mind, here are 5 IT infrastructure cost saving tips that have the potential to transform the way your business operates for the better.

Renegotiate Networking Costs

Telecommunications contracts are often left unexamined for years at a time, but by performing regular audits on them, you're more likely to have a strong idea of their value, and thus, how much is worth spending on networking.

Being prepared to renegotiate telecommunications contracts can result in a discounted arrangement.

Virtualize now!

Most enterprises have implemented some degree of virtualization across the company, but many more have left key business areas in physical formats, which can waste both time and money.

Don't wait to virtualize as much as you can - not only will it increase your efficiency and workflow, it will also streamline your enterprise and save you money.

Join the self-service revolution

IT support can be a huge financial burden for any business or organization, so many savvy professionals have installed self service portals which cut down on the need for trained personnel, meaning staff can concentrate on other, more directly progressive areas of the company.

Consolidate those servers!

Servers are, without a doubt, one of the biggest financial hindrances for any business. Unfortunately, up until recently, an abundance of them (and the maintenance and upgrading that they necessitate) were an absolute necessity.

With virtualization and cloud computing taking off in a big way, however, an overabundance of servers will only serve (no pun intended) to be a drain on resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

By consolidating existing servers, you maintain the benefits of in-house infrastructure, without throwing time and money away.

Automate systems where possible

There's no doubt about it: people cost money, and sometimes, the quality you get from a job performed by a person can be replicated and perhaps even better by an automated process. As a result, IT operations offers some great opportunities for financial savings.

If you're looking for more ways to reduce your IT infrastructure costs for your office, contact SEGI Sales today on 480-317-0868.

SEGI provides IT Infrastructure Solution such as Network Infrastructure Installation, Security & Special Systems Installations, and Facility Protection Installation for IT & data center projects, healthcare facilities, universities, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and any facility with mission critical network deployment requirements in the Rocky Mountain, Tempe, Desert Southwest, and Arizona area.

Contact us at http://www.segisalespros.com/contact-us.htm to get your IT infrastructure up and runnning in no time!

Top 4 Tips for Optimising Network Infrastructure

Tony Page - Thursday, June 26, 2014

Top 4 Tips for Optimising Network Infrastructure

With every new technological advancement comes increased efficiency, and a more functional, intuitive workflow, but also further expertise and demand on the part of any network administrator.

Such demands call for a more holistic and optimised network infrastructure, and one that can adapt to future growth and change. With that in mind, here are our top four tips for optimising network infrastructure.

Make the most of cloud computing and virtualization

One of the biggest hindrances for any enterprise looking to optimize and streamline their network infrastructure is physical hardware and other such infrastructure.

Many organizations find their time is occupied with numerous administrative tasks required for the maintenance of server hardware, time that could otherwise be spent on actual organization growth.

Cloud computing and other means of virtualization are a great way to cut out the need for this time, so it can be better utilized elsewhere without sacrificing a high quality system.

Make Room for Integration

In competitive markets, a large part of the skill of operating a successful business involves building flexibility into its culture.

After all, it's a dog eat dog world and any dogs who are incapable of accommodating movement and staying relevant can and will be eaten.

As a result, it's vitally important that new software and technology is implemented with integration in mind. This will ease adaptation and keep your enterprise relevant in a constantly-changing market space.

Consolidate Data Centers Where Possible

Whether it be tradition or sentiment, many enterprises find themselves hanging onto defunct data centers which serve no purpose beyond accruing maintenance costs and other burdens.

Admittedly, some enterprises do have need for some high-tier data centers, but many do not, or at the very least, almost all do not need all of the ones they have.

Only Invest In Software That Offers Maximum Visibility

In an ever changing landscape such as the digital one, data managers require as much transparency as possible.

This will enable them to make decisions rapidly and respond to any influxes of data in an informed and timely manner.

Keeping all network management tasks as part of one holistic control will also save time, as utilizing numerous platforms to manage its different aspects requires three times as much expertise and greater management skills.

If you're looking for more ways to optimize your network infrastructure for your office, contact SEGI Sales today on 480-317-0868.

SEGI provides IT Infrastructure Solution such as Network Infrastructure Installation, Security & Special Systems Installations, and Facility Protection Installation for IT & data center projects, healthcare facilities, universities, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and any facility with mission critical network deployment requirements in the Rocky Mountain, Tempe, Desert Southwest, and Arizona area.

Contact us at http://www.segisalespros.com/contact-us.htm to get your IT infrastructure up and runnning in no time!

Major Security Bug Found in Web Encryption Tool

Tony Page - Sunday, June 22, 2014

Major Security Bug Found in Web Encryption Tool

Whether or not you know what Heartbleed is or what exactly it does, odds are you've heard the term thrown around over the last month or so, usually accompanied by a flurry of panic and hasty advice.

In the simplest terms, Heartbleed is a bug affecting OpenSSL, a piece of security software used by some of the most widely used websites online, and indeed, many that have a very real need for watertight security systems.

Obviously, anytime the words 'bug' and 'security' occupy the same sentence ought to be a cause for concern, but Heartbleed is perhaps one of the most serious security threats of the last decade or so, due in no small part to the number of services which have found themselves affected by its breach.

What Do We Know About Heartbleed?

Heartbleed is the nickname given to a flaw in OpenSSL, which has the potential to allow cyber criminals a means of accessing sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords, entered into sites which make use of OpenSSL by a user

Despite only just having been identified, it's estimated that the bug has been around for two years or so, and while there's no real way of gauging whether or not any particular user's information is likely to have been stolen, the sites affected have, understandably, taken the “better safe than sorry” approach, and for the most part, offered advice to user such that they assume the worst.

What Is The Worst That Could Happen?

This really depends on the services use, but if you browse the internet on a semi-regular basis, there's a good chance one or a few services you make use of will have been affected by Heartbleed.

For example, if you're a Yahoo user, cyber criminals, in theory, may have access to any Yahoo accounts, and the data therein.

What Happens Next?

As with any large scale bug, a patch is required to seal the loophole and prevent future access to any of the sites which make use of OpenSSL software.

OpenSSL have made this available already, but warn that smaller sites who use their services may take a little longer than the highly-publicized giants who've been affected to make use of the patch itself.

Given also that versions of the software are affected, representatives from OpenSSL are advising users to update their existing version to OpenSSL 1.0.1g, which is not currently affected by Heartbleed, rather than using version 1.0.2, for which a bug fix is underway at present.

If you'd like to learn more about Heartbleed and how to guard your network from it, contact SEGI Sales today on 480-317-0868.

SEGI provides IT Infrastructure Solution such as Network Infrastructure Installation, Security & Special Systems Installations, and Facility Protection Installation for IT & data center projects, healthcare facilities, universities, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and any facility with mission critical network deployment requirements in the Rocky Mountain, Tempe, Desert Southwest, and Arizona area.

Contact us at http://www.segisalespros.com/contact-us.htm to get your IT infrastructure up and runnning in no time!

Massive Security Bug in OpenSSL Could Affect a Huge Chunk of the Internet

Tony Page - Friday, June 13, 2014

Massive Security Bug in OpenSSL Could Affect a Huge Chunk of the Internet

Those without a real interest in online security generally take most of it for granted, even when a widespread security breach threatens a significant proportion of internet users and numerous reputable sites are openly up in arms about it.

Many services suffered their biggest security breach in recent years in the form of Heartbleed, a bug in OpenSSL, a widely-used piece of encryption software, which left the sensitive data of millions accessible to third-parties, including the malicious kind.

Should I be worried?

Worrying is only any good if it prompts action, but in so few words, yes, you should be worried. Taking the caliber of affected sites into account, the likelihood that your frequently used services have been affected, one way or another, is very high.

Heartbleed is believed to have been at large for two years at least, and sensitive data tends to sit in a server's memory, meaning anything you've entered into an affected site in the last two years is out there somewhere.

Wouldn't I know if my data had been stolen?

If the third-party responsible for retrieving your information took action based upon it, odds are you would have noticed by now, but not necessarily.

Codenomicon, a security firm, carried out an in-depth investigation into Heartbleed, and found that making use of Heartbleed didn't result in any formal record among the affected server's logs.

This means that affected services can only know that they are affected by the bug, not that the bug has been exploited.

As a result, many services are having to play the safe card and assume that the bug has been exploited.

"We have tested some of our own services from attacker’s perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace. Without using any privileged information or credentials we were able steal from ourselves the secret keys used for our X.509 certificates, usernames and passwords, instant messages, emails and business critical documents and communication." Heartbleed.com

Alright, I'm worried - but what do I do?

The first step is to follow suit and assume the worst. Abstain from using any affected sites where possible for now, until the service has patched Heartbleed.

Once they've done so, it's time to change those passwords - make sure you use different passwords for different sites, and do not do this until it’s patched.

Once that's done, you should be able to resume normal use of the service and site.

If you're looking for network cabling solutions for your home office in the Rocky Mountain, Tempe, Desert Southwest, Arizona area, then contact SEGI Sales today on 480-317-0868.

You can also contact us at http://www.segisalespros.com/contact-us.htm for help with structured cabling management.

Heartbleed: Don't update your passwords yet

Tony Page - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Heartbleed: Don't update your passwords yet

Odds are, if you spend any time at all on the internet, you'll be familiar with the term “Heartbleed”.

Heartbleed is a bug which affects something called OpenSSL, a service used by numerous online giants to encrypt and protect sensitive information entered by the user.

In short, Heartbleed means your data could be at risk from malicious third-party access.

Should I change my passwords now?

Numerous reputable sources have been rolling out the default advice for any widespread security breach: change all of your passwords.

Unfortunately, this is a hasty, and as a result, ill-informed response to the problem. Heartbleed has been at large for just over two years, and has only just been revealed.

The way that servers work means that any information you have entered in that time period will be logged and thus, potentially at risk, but there's no real way to find out whether the bug had been exploited up until now.

As a result, changing passwords now will put the new passwords at a potentially greater risk than previous information, as the highly-publicized nature of Heartbleed means more are likely to attempt exploitation now.

Just refrain from using the affected services where possible for now.

When should I change my passwords?

Passwords do eventually need to be changed, but not until Heartbleed has been patched by the services affected.

Once this has been done, it is worth changing passwords, just to safe proof all future information exchanges, but not before then.

Will I be safe when I've done that?

Because Heartbleed affects versions of OpenSSL, rather than OpenSSL itself, any service or organization operating on an old version of OpenSSL may remain affected, even after implementing a patch.

It is not enough for services to repair the problem, they also need to update their versions of OpenSSL to ensure their operations remain unaffected.

Until this has happened, there is no guarantee that your data will be safe. Even a patched bug can leave a service easily penetrable if the version of their security software was compromised in the first place.

Without an updated version, third-parties may still be able to access all manner of logged information, including cookies, sessions, passwords, or any data which will enable them to appear to a user as the legitimate site.

Fundamentally, the best thing you can do is remain aware and implement any measures that you can. You can rest assured that all affected services are working flat out to fix the problem, but taking security measures of your own cannot go amiss.

If you're looking for secure network cabling solutions for your home office in the Rocky Mountain, Tempe, Desert Southwest, Arizona area, then contact SEGI Sales today on 480-317-0868.

You can also contact us at http://www.segisalespros.com/contact-us.htm for help with structured cabling management.

What to Do About the Latest Internet Security Threat

Tony Page - Monday, June 09, 2014

What to Do About the Latest Internet Security Threat

Whenever a widespread online security breach takes place, it can be easy to get caught up in the equally widespread panic without any useful sources of information yielding consistent and actionable advice.

Generally speaking, the greater the threat, the more pertinent this principle and where heartbleed is concerned, this rule certainly holds.

While many have reported its implications, an equal number have presented contradictory advice across numerous platforms leaving readers with no real notion of what to do, where the risk is coming from, and how they can protect themselves and their data.

So, here's what you need to know about heartbleed, and the (admittedly few) steps you can take to stay aware and safe online.

What is heartbleed, and what does it do?

Heartbleed is the name given to a bug that affects something called OpenSSL, a piece of security software used by numerous widely-used sites.

While OpenSSL is supposed to encrypt data during its travels through cyberspace, Heartbleed has left a loophole enabling people with the right know-how to access unencrypted information throughout this process.

It has gone undetected for two years, so it's difficult to know how much data has been at risk, but any site boasting a little padlock in the browser bar is likely to have been affected by it.

How can I protect myself?

Firstly, you need to work out whether or not the services you use have been affected, though, the law of averages and the sheer magnitude of the sites who've been affected dictates that you won't have remained untouched by the security breach altogether.

Once you've done this, you'll need to change any relevant passwords. This is not something you should do until the service provider has patched Heartbleed, however, as any new passwords will still be vulnerable to the breach until sites have repaired it.

The onus is on sites to inform users of any risk, ultimately, but some self-motivated research is unlikely to go amiss.

Make sure each password is unique to that site, the simple reason behind this being that one compromised password means only one compromised set of data if all passwords are unique, rather than a whole host of compromised data sets.

Make use of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols, and if you're struggling to manage your passwords, use a third-party service such as LastPass.

“As with most things, prevention is better than cure when it comes to Heartbleed.”

If you're looking for secure network cabling solutions for your home office in the Rocky Mountain, Tempe, Desert Southwest, Arizona area, then contact SEGI Sales today on 480-317-0868.

You can also contact us at http://www.segisalespros.com/contact-us.htm for help with structured cabling management.

Top 10 Network Cable Don’ts

Tony Page - Friday, June 06, 2014

Top 10 Network Cable Don’ts

In order for your network to run smoothly, your network cabling must be installed properly.  If the cabling is not installed correctly, it can seriously impact the network’s performance. It will cost you dearly in terms of troubleshooting and maintenance as well as cost.

In order to make sure that your data cable is run correctly, check out these top 10 network cable don’ts.

  1. Don’t fail to plan ahead.  Don’t install the minimum capacity cable that will barely get you by.  Technology changes quickly, and you are much better off to install cable that will meet your needs for years to come, not just right now.  The biggest cost of running the cable is the labor, so you are better off to upgrade the cable itself rather than having to run all new cable again in a couple years.  You don’t have to install the absolute top of the line cable, but don’t install the cheapest, either. 
  2. Don’t install separate cabling for voice and data.  Twisted pair cabling isn’t as expensive as it used to be, and the majority of your installation costs will be in labor.  With VoIP service, voice will require data cable, anyway.  If you do run a separate cable for your phone line, mirror the type of cable that is in use for data.
  3. Don’t forgot cable management.  Cable management should not be treated as a luxury.  Having a cable management system in place from the beginning will make your ongoing maintenance and new installations much simpler.  It will also save the IT department valuable time.
  4. Don’t run UTP with electrical cables.  You’ll get interference, your speeds will slow, and some transmissions just won’t happen.  If you must go near power lines, cross them at a perpendicular angle. 
  5. Don’t run cable close to noisy fixtures like motors and fluorescent lights.  These things can introduce interference, just like a power line would.  Leave a pathway for your data cable that is clear of these items.
  6. Don’t forget to consider distance limitations.  While most cabling is suitable for long distances, depending on its purpose, you may need to upgrade to a higher quality cabling in order to successfully travel longer distances.
  7. Don’t ignore codes.  Local codes are in place for a reason, and ignoring them can be dangerous.  If you ignore codes, you are putting yourself in danger and also subjecting yourself to fines.  You could even be ordered to remove and replace the cabling.  Check out the codes before you install, and make sure your contractor is abiding by them.
  8. Don’t skip testing.  After you have installed your cabling, you should test every cable with a tester to make sure that it is working properly and sufficient for its purpose.
  9. Don’t ignore cabling standards.  Again, these standards are in place for a reason.  If you ignore them, you may experience interference that affects the performance of your network. 
  10. Don’t use an Ethernet switch when you need a new cable.  This brings unknown elements into your network.  Go ahead and run a new cable, instead.

These ten don’ts of installing network cabling will help you to avoid the pitfalls and achieve a clean, effective network cabling system.

For more information on network cabling solutions, contact SEGI Sales Pros at this page http://www.segisalespros.com/contact-us.htm. We have all of the products and equipment that you need for your data center and network cabling systems, so get in touch with us today.

You can also watch us in our Youtube Channel.

Top 10 Tips for Keeping Your Data Center Manageable

Tony Page - Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Top 10 Tips for Keeping Your Data Center Manageable

The data center is central to the daily operations of your business.  If there is a problem with the data center, all work stops.  Improper cabling can create a mess and a host of other problems. 

Using these top 10 tips, you can make your data center more efficient and reliable.

  1. You’ve heard it before, and I’ll say it again – measure twice, cut once.  It’s a tried and true practice.  When you don’t measure carefully, you end up with a mess of cables, and you waste a lot of expensive materials.  A couple of wasted feet of cable here and there adds up over time to a big expense.  By simply measuring twice and cutting once, you save time, money, and stress.
  2. Label your cable.  It takes a couple extra minutes to label every cable, but it saves you a lot of time in the long run.  Label every cable on each end, even shorter lengths and patches.  Otherwise, you unplug a few cables, and then you have to figure out where each one belongs.  Use a consistent system and label every piece of cable.
  3. Don’t buy cheap terminations.  Choose quality over price.  Practice terminating cables until you can do it quickly and correctly.  If cables lose their connection when you wiggle them, you need to redo the termination.  Troubleshooting cheap, poorly done terminations will bring you headaches and waste your valuable time.
  4. Always test your cables.  Every cable should test at 100%.  Don’t settle for a cable that barely passes.  If it isn’t perfect, redo it.  If it doesn’t pass after a few tries, throw that cable out and start again.  Use a high-quality tester, and make sure that you are using it properly.  Taking the time to test your cables costs you a few minutes up front, but saves you a lot of time and hassle in the end.
  5. When you use patch cables, keep them as short as possible.  When you use an unnecessarily long patch cable, it creates a tangled mess.  It looks bad, and it’s not efficient. 
  6. Use a color coded system.  Choose a color for each purpose, and stick with that system.  This way, you can easily follow cable runs, which makes troubleshooting much simpler.  It makes your data center look neater and more organized, as well.
  7. When it comes to conduit, always upsize.  You could buy conduit that meets your current needs, but what if you decide to add on sometime in the future?  You don’t want to have to re-run everything later.  If you buy bigger now, you can make use of your existing conduit if you expand in the future.  Buy for what you anticipate you might need later, not the bare minimum that you need today.
  8. Lay out your data center in a cable-friendly design.  Don’t make it difficult for yourself to run cable.  Keep in mind that you might want to expand in the future, and allow space for that possibility. 
  9. Keep your Cat5 and power lines separate.  This will prevent the power lines from creating interference.
  10. Cool your cables.  It’s just as important for cables to be cool as it is for servers to be cool. 

A little pre-planning can keep your data center well-organized and easier to maintain and troubleshoot. 

For more information on network cabling solutions, contact SEGI Sales.  We represent manufacturers that have quality products that you need to create a well-organized data center. You can also watch us at http://www.youtube.com/user/segisalespros/videos.

Creating a Greener Data Center

Tony Page - Monday, June 02, 2014

Creating a Greener Data Center

There are many demands on IT departments, and the pressures continue to expand. 

In addition to making sure that our data centers are meeting our needs, IT departments are now expected to consider the environmental implications of our data centers

Fortunately, creating a green data center is both possible and surprisingly simple.

The first place you should look when considering how to make your organization a little greener is inside your data center. 

Keeping your data center cooled is necessary to protect your equipment, but it consumes a lot of energy. 

About 40% of the cost of powering the average data center can be attributed to cooling.  The best way to reduce your cooling costs is to evaluate your airflow. 

Some pretty minor changes can significantly impact the amount of energy that you are using while still maintaining a comfortable and cool environment.

Use these six steps to help you create better airflow in your data center.

Clear your Floor Space 

Your floors should be raised, of course.  The ideal height is at least 18 inches.  The floor space should be completely clear; don’t stack boxes or other items on the floor.  Make sure that all openings are plugged, and check that your floor tiles have proper CFM ratings.  You can use adjustable flow tiles to help you achieve better balance in the space.

Prevent Return Air

Use containment to prevent return air from affecting the ambient room temperature. This can be achieved through chimney design, central exhaust ducting, or containment setup. 

Keep Cool Air

Keep cool air in by blocking off any openings that could be leaking air. Even small openings can negatively impact the efficiency of the space.  Close off any rack spaces that aren’t in use, and seal the space between the rack and the cabinet’s outer shells.

Change the direction of airflow. 

If your equipment is not cooled from front to back, then you can implement side to side airflow.  Install adjustable cabinets that can be used to direct airflow from side to side.

Choose between hot aisle containment and cold aisle containment. 

In many cases, cold air reservoirs are unable to handle the transition of HVAC equipment from utility-sourced power to generator-sourced power, should a power outage occur. 

Hot aisle containment can provide better protection, particularly in such a high-density situation.  Both hot aisle containment and cold aisle containment can provide comfortable working environments for IT personnel.

Make use of variable speed drives and motors on your HVAC system. 

This will allow you to further benefit from your green modifications to your data center. 

These tips will help your organization to make your data center a little greener while saving you some utility costs at the same time.  They are really pretty simple. 

  • Keep your floors clear and raised
  • Contain the space through proper ductwork to prevent return air from affecting the room temperature
  • Block off any openings or spaces that could be leaking air
  • Change the direction of airflow
  • Implement hot or cold aisle containment
  • Put variable speed drives and motors to work on your HVAC system

Together, these steps can significantly improve your energy consumption in terms of cooling your data center.

To learn more about the products and equipment that are available to help you cool your data center, contact SEGI Sales at this page http://www.segisalespros.com/contact-us.htm. We have everything that you need to keep your data center running clean and green.

You can also watch our demo videos at Segi Sales youtube channel.


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