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Nashville Cisco Engineer: A Day in the Life

By jjrosen|December 20th,2014|Atiba Behind the Scenes,Cisco,Client Services,Connectivity,IT,Security|No comments

As part of Atiba’s Day in the Life series each of our engineers has been keeping a journal of what they do on a typical work day.

Welcome to the behind the scenes of working as a Cisco consultant for Atiba out of our home office in Nashville:

7:00 am  – Heading out to a client’s office in Bowling Green, KY.   Starbucks in hand, going to setup a VPN

8:45 am – Quick meeting with the IT director, we went over plans for setting up their Cisco VPN,  reviewed Visio diagram I did yesterday

9:01 am – Backing up existing config

10:15 am –  Done!   Was actually a pretty easy one.  Client was using Sonicwall VPN before, was working fine but was ready for an upgrade so they decided to go with Cisco with their new routers and switches.   So with relatively clean install this one was easier

1:00 pm  – Back in Nashville, at desk at Atiba office.   Starting to put project plan together for a Cisco to Amazon EC2 VPN for one our clients we have been migrating to the Amazon cloud.  Have only done one of these before,  going to do a practice run this afternoon to make sure all will work before going onsite to client office.

1:30 pm – Test lab version working fine.   Ready to go!

3:30 pm – Cisco to Amazon EC2 VPN live.    Pulling in one of Atiba’s Microsoft guys to configure SQL Server over the VPN.   Goal is to connect internal application to SQL Server hosted on Ec2.

6 pm – taking a break!

8 pm – Some lite studying for Cisco certification updates…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can you trust the cloud with your data?

By WillD|May 6th,2014|Client Services,Connectivity,IT,Security,Uncategorized|No comments

Question:  Is the cloud safe?  Since the term “Cloud Computing” was coined 15 years ago that’s the question we are asked most frequently. 

Answer:  Given our imperfect world, safety is a relative concept, so we manage risk.

An alarming number of companies have only one copy of their data, leaving them a tornado, flood or fire away from complete loss. I’ve seen backup operators store “offsite” tapes in the trunk of their car!  Safety is relative.  Is the Cloud more safe than your trunk or the office’s storage room?  Most likely.

Cloud services offer tremendous opportunities for individuals, small and medium-sized businesses to access high-performance software and infrastructure at budget-friendly costs. And fees are shrinking, making this option even more appealing.

Of course, due diligence is an important step in answering our question. Below are ten questions to ask of yourself and cloud vendors before you store data in the cloud:

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do I know my data? Meaning, what types of data does my company create?
  2. Do I know who has access to my data now?
  3. Do I know my plan for dealing with data loss or breech?
  4. Do I know if I can keep a local copy of my data synced with what’s in the Cloud?

Questions for your vendor:

  1. Do I know the cloud vendor’s policy for dealing with data loss or breech?
  2. Do I know if and how my vendor encrypts data?
  3. Do I know where a vendor stores data?
  4. Do I know how a vendor controls internal access to data?
  5. Do I know what happens to my data if my vendor goes out of business?
  6. Do I know what my vendor does with my data if I stop using them?

Vendors should be able to answer these questions.  If they can’t, mark them off the list.

Knowing your own data and risk levels along with the policies and risks of a vendor will let you match your risk profile to the right service.  If you have further questions about the Cloud and need help answering these questions, please contact us at (615) 353-1921 ext 200. We are “half geek. half human” and can translate your business needs into engaging solutions.

 

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Avoid common startup flubs

By WillD|December 3rd,2013|Atiba Behind the Scenes|No comments

By JJ Rosen

One of the things I enjoy the most about being a computer consultant is getting to look behind the scenes of many different businesses.

In our roles as web developers, programmers, designers and IT consultants, we get a front-row seat to watch how businesses operate, what is working and what is not.

Of all the companies out there, startups are often the most exciting businesses to work with as they are full of high risks, but also very high rewards. Sitting behind the computer, programming away at a startup client’s office (or in some cases living room), it has been interesting to see some of the patterns of business success or failure that occur.

The explosion of mobile has created a huge new wave of startup activity. The number of startups being generated today is rivaling the frenetic pace of the now somewhat infamous dot-com era. As compared with the dot-com days, the relatively faster time to market and the lower development cost of mobile-based products and services are driving a new startup boom.

A key to success for this new wave of mobile tech startups is to learn from the past. The inherent risks of starting a business can be offset by studying the successes and failures of others.

Here are a few of the common themes we observed while working on software, websites and mobile apps for startups:

• Focusing on an exit strategy from day one increases your chance of failure.

The chances of selling for billions are slim, but the chances of running a profitable business are more in your favor. No path is easy, but startups are more likely to thrive if owners focus more on “how to make a living” as opposed to how to sell out.

• A startup whose founder is unwilling to invest a good amount of his or her own personal capital has a high chance of failure.

If you are unwilling to put in your own money, chances are you are not confident enough in your idea to instill confidence in others whom you ask to invest.

• Underfunding is a killer.

Every startup that we have worked with that has been underfunded has run into trouble. Once money gets tight, there is often conflict between founders, investors and even employees.

When running on fumes, most founders of startups spend more time pointing fingers and raising money than they do on the business model itself.

• Lean startups that focus on ROI for every penny spent will do better than the startups with high salaries and fancy offices.

There is, of course, a balance between running lean vs. being just plain cheap. But generally speaking, entrepreneurs tend to do well if they make sure every penny invested will either reduce risk or produce a clear return. Low (or no) salaries, low-cost office space (or even home offices!) allow for a longer ramp for product development and customer acquisition.

• Profit margin is one of the most important success factors. High margin businesses have a safety net to withstand bumps in the road.

A lost contract, a bad customer or a failed marketing campaign can quickly put a low-margin-based business in a deep hole while higher margin startups have room to recover.

As the great startup guru Jason Fried of 37Signals.com says, “start a business, not a startup.” From our perspective behind the computer, and behind the start­up entrepreneurs, this mantra is essential to any startup business, mobile or otherwise.

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