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Energy Management Pays Off for Hammond School District

“Cisco Energy Management has given us a great deal of visibility into our energy consumption and usage patterns and has shown us that energy management can be done easily and seamlessly to deliver a significant return on investment in both reducing our carbon footprint and cutting costs.”

Mark Hennessee
Hammond School District Energy Manager

Technology fascinates me for a host of reasons. It improves lives and makes businesses more productive and efficient. It literally touches every facet of our lives, as does energy. In fact, the convergence of technology and energy is proving to be a pathway to smart and sustainable environments. The key is getting past the challenges.

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Certification exams – learning from failure

Some people like to say that you can’t ever fail an exam. I understand why someone would say that but I don’t agree. If you don’t make the cut, you have officially failed the exam. That does not mean you’re a failure or that you’re not a smart person.

Certifications test the minimally qualified candidate, those who make the cut score pass the test. The value of certifications and the methods of testing can certainly be argued but this post is not about that.

I took the CCDE written at Cisco Live and barely missed it. This came as a surprise to me. I felt well prepared and confident when entering the testing area. After the test I felt like many candidates that have just failed an exam. “I can’t believe I got that much of topic X”, “This question is way too subjective” and so on. This post describes how to handle that negative energy and how to work on passing it the next time. Read More »

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3 Steps For Wifi Success

Wireless is surpassing the number of wired connections. There are discussions about having all wireless offices to save on costs of running wires. We perform more work on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. While wireless is more prevalent and preferred by almost everyone, we must shift our mindset in deploying a wireless infrastructure that is as robust as our wired.

How do we accomplish a deployment of wireless signals in which our end users cannot see? I recommend taking a general three step approach. The first step being the most important, gather requirements from the end users. Second, analyze the wireless spectrum and perform a site survey. Lastly, verify your deployment and optimize.

Gather Requirements

The first step is listening to end user. Get in early on the planning committee if there are plans on building a new office or new office space. Get an approximation of how many devices will be using wireless. The kind of wireless devices will give you an idea of what kind of radios will be utilized.

You could be working with a classroom where iPads are used during instruction or tests. It’s possible that every student gets a Chromebook. Or maybe it’s a distribution center utilizing hand scanners for inventory and shipping. Read More »

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Like Chalk and Cheese: Cisco ASA 5506-X with Release 9.4.1 – Policy Based Routing

Cisco ASA 5506-XEarlier this Year, Cisco introduced the Cisco ASA 5506-X with FirePOWER Services. This Model should replace the successful and smallest Security Solution, the ASA 5505. Designed for the Small Business and a new era of threat and advanced malware protection Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services delivers an integrated threat defense for the entire attack continuum. BEFORE, DURING and AFTER.

As Desktop version, the Cisco ASA 5506-X builds an easy entry for a:


Cisco ASA 5506-X 1

  •  Superior Multilayered Protection
    • Site-to-site and remote access VPN
    • Granular Application Visibility and Control (AVC)
    • Highly effective threat prevention and full contextual awareness
    • Reputation- and category-based URL filtering
    • AMP provides industry-leading breach detection effectiveness
  • Unprecedented Network Visbility
  • Reduced Costs and Complexity security Solution

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Remembering the small things: IT Security

There are many tasks and responsibilities of the (lone) IT sysadmin, they are sometimes varied, sometimes monotonous.  We know what they are without thinking about them, as if they are unwritten commandments, specific to the IT world.

Security has featured greatly in the world news over the past few years, and even more so within the IT circles. We have the aspects of social responsibility, who is watching the watchers, how should they be held to account (NSA, GCHQ). We have the more particular stories, such as Heartbleed, and the “simplicity” of gaining information from a system.

Sitting down and reading about the recently highlighted issue surrounding a fake Trojan copy of the popular terminal tool, PuTTY, I realized that over all, we spend a great deal thinking about security within IT systems. But sometimes we don’t think about security in the actions we take, or we forget to think about them. Read More »

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