Archive for the ‘Firewall’ Category

Critical Thinking and IT   Leave a comment

Having been involved in IT for quite a number of years I have been personally across an extensive list of faults, projects and to-do lists. Where the faults have ranged all the way from printing problems on a PC to Active Directory synchronization errors across multiple global domains. Where the projects have included things like office relocations, SAN upgrades and WiFi rollouts. And where to-do lists (IT strategies) have revolved around understanding the needs of multiple stakeholders, the timing of investment decisions and the availability of resources.

And one of the critical abilities that is common to all of these is the ability to think critically.

Not in the sense of being critical about others, but the process of thought and reasoning.

I’ve seen fellow IT professionals simply content to hit refresh buttons and just go for the software re-install.

I’ve seen projects fall over because some first and second order impacts weren’t considered.

And I’ve seen action items added to strategies for no other reason than it just felt right to the sponsor.

Sigh!

So, while the following list can apply to other areas of endeavor that requires fault analysis, project management or strategic approaches, all of these aspects of critical thinking do apply to the full gamut of activities associated with information technology.

Eight principles of critical thinking:

  1. define the purpose
  2. what is the question you are wanting to answer
  3. collect information
  4. consider your inferences
  5. check your assumptions
  6. be clear about the concepts in use
  7. what exactly is your perspective
  8. what are the implications

Regarding purpose. What is the objective of that project? What is it that is really trying to be achieved?

Regarding question. How clear are you about the fault you are trying to fix? What are its symptons and underlying causes?

Regarding information. Do you have all the facts and evidence with respect to that fault? How long has it been going on, under what conditions is it triggered, and so on.

Regarding inferences. Looking at that set of strategic objectives, what interpretations and conclusions can you draw out from that body of proposed work?

Regarding assumptions. What beliefs and biases do you hold, and what beliefs and biases do you believe that others hold?

Regarding assumptions. With respect to that project, what are you taking for granted? With respect to that strategy, what are you assuming about the business?

Regarding concepts. What exactly is that idea you have about the cause of that fault? What is the theory you have about the use of that particular technology for that project?

Regarding perspective. Can you step back and see your point of view dispassionately? In the project management discussions, is your point of view valid?

Regarding implications. When you take that step to fix up the fault, what will happen? What is likely to occur as you execute that strategy?

The ability to think critically is increasingly important. Do you take the time and effort to apply any or all of these eight aspects of thought and reasoning to the tasks at hand?

 
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A Previous Role – Building and Construction Industry Royal Commission   Leave a comment

Engaged to manage three IT staff to ensure high-availability and highly-secure facilities in a technical environment incorporating Windows 2000 desktop and clustered server operating systems on high-end HP servers providing MS-SQL and MS-Exchange applications, Cisco firewalls, access card systems and video surveillance equipment.

This was an interesting role. It was not so much technical as maintaining morale and the customer service focus of my staff as the commission wound down.

The Technical Side:

I was the third IT Manager of three over the life of this Royal Commission. And up to when I started, the staff had travelled all over the country. They had set up the “mobile” hearings court in all major capital cities and some major regional centres. They had been dealing with mainly with lawyers, and other high-powered individuals. The systems we managed were fairly stable, but it did require a fair degree of knowledge, especially on my part, to ensure that the robustness and security of the systems were maintained.

And, as I was the last IT Manager, it fell to me to wind things down. To prepare the equipment for auction, to ensure the security of archived data, and to forensically clean all hard drives that went out the door. I also had to maintain skeleton services as long as possible and to work with the Commissioner’s changing timetable to achieve all of these things.

The People Side:

Putting this phase of the commission into a human context, you realise that a range of emotions and motivations will come to the fore.

There was handling of my people’s responses as our internal customers started treating them unprofessionally. There was interviewing for replacement team members as people left. There was the maintenance of motivation of my team members.

’twas a time of learning!

Posted February 21, 2011 by terop in Career, Firewall, Microsoft, Network, Previous Role, Team Management

Securing the VMWare Management Network   Leave a comment

Finally! Secured the VMWare ESX Host farm (management network) behind a firewall. EMC’s Replication Manager working a treat through the ASA. VMare notifications, in-house time source synch, etc all OK. Now to get ready for SourceOne and Avamar.

Posted February 15, 2011 by terop in EMC, Firewall, Network, VMWare