Benjamin Franklin famously stated, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Of course, in Ben’s day, they didn’t have software lifecycles to deal with. These days, we can add another thing to the list of certainties: software upgrades. Time marches on, and so does software development. Eventually, the old versions just get too expensive and difficult to support. The latest to hit the warning list: Microsoft Exchange 2010. Read More
According to recent data, 64% of small & medium-sized businesses are already using some kind of cloud-based software. 88% of SMBs consume at least one cloud service, and 78% report that they are considering purchasing new cloud solutions in the next year or two. So chances are that you are already somewhere along the path in your journey to the cloud. So here’s a question: Are you leveraging the cloud for backup and disaster recovery? If not, why not?
This is the view down my driveway today. I realize that my friends in the Midwest are either laughing or shaking their heads (or both) at the relatively miniscule amount of snow – but I live in one of the suburbs of Seattle, where the only people whom you can trust to know how to drive in the snow are the ones with ski racks on their cars, and where a lot of people don’t realize that having a 4WD SUV may help you go better, but it doesn’t always make you stop (or steer around that right-angle corner at the bottom of the hill) better. And speaking of hills, we have a lot of them. And our local government agencies – particularly out in the ‘burbs and the unincorporated areas of the counties – are notoriously ill-prepared for significant snowfall, because how do you cost-justify a big investment in the necessary equipment when you only need it once every couple of years? Read More
It’s that time again – time to prepare for the passing of workhorse products that served our enterprises well, but are now over a decade old and need to be retired before they become security risks to your organization. Read More
We live and work in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. But the cloud revolution hasn’t happened the way many people expected it to happen. Instead of organizations moving everything wholesale to the cloud in a “lift and shift” approach, it’s happened just like the introduction of every other “big new thing” over the last several decades: cloud technology has ended up being layered on top of what we’re already doing. So now we have desktop apps and SaaS apps and Web apps and mobile apps and cloud apps, and apps that defy categorization. (What is Office 365? Is it a desktop app? A cloud app? A mobile app? The answer is “D. All of the above.”) Read More
Ugh. Passwords. The concept has been around as long as civilization itself. But are they the best way to protect account access in the digital age? How do you insure that people use “strong” passwords? What is a “strong” password, anyway? And when is a password – regardless of its strength – not enough?
The difficulty from an administrative perspective is that the restrictions we impose on our users in an attempt to force them to create strong passwords are often counterproductive. If the password must be at least 8 characters long, must contain both upper- and lower-case characters and at least one numeric and one “special” character, and cannot be a word that’s in the dictionary and must be changed every 90 days and cannot be a password that you’ve used before, you’ve almost guaranteed that it’s going to be written down somewhere because it will be nearly impossible to remember.
So what’s an admin to do? Well, there are some guidelines that we can give users to help them create strong passwords that are easy to remember. Read More
I got an interesting email this morning. It was “from” one of the owners of Xiologix – but the return address was a bit odd: “firstname.lastname@example.org” As this unfolded, it became obvious that this was a classic “spear phishing” attack. I’ll run you through the email exchange for entertainment purposes, and then talk about the lessons to be learned here. The original message was short and sweet: Read More
Well over a decade ago, at a Citrix conference, I saw an amazing video. It showed a team of people in geographically separate locations collaborating to solve a business problem, sharing access to applications and data in the process. It showed a business person leaving his office, and having his running applications seamlessly follow him to a mobile computing device in his car, then, when he got home, seamlessly follow him to the computer in his home office, all the while continuing the collaboration session with his teammates. At the time, none of this technology existed outside of developers’ imaginations (and whatever prototypes they might have been working on in their labs).
Today, not only does the technology exist, it is relatively commonplace. Telecommuters access data and applications with performance that is every bit equal to that of their colleagues in the office. Engineers work on CAD drawings remotely with no loss of performance or graphic resolution. Radiologists can view a diagnostic image on an iPad from the sidelines of their child’s soccer game. Companies have discovered the cost savings available from Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs. And it all goes back to the basic vision that work is something that you do – it is not necessarily a place where you go. Read More
Citrix XenApp v6.5 hit EOL June 30, 2018
Citrix XenApp v6.5 was a great, stable product release. XenApp v6.5 on Windows Server 2008R2 has been the workhorse for lots of organizations for a long time. But it’s time to move on. If you’re still running XenApp v6.5 you need to know a few things. First, it hit “End of Maintenance” a month ago (December 31, 2017). That means there will be no more product upgrades or updates released, and that means that it will be a security risk to continue running it, and that risk will increase every day. Second, it will hit “End of Life” on June 30, 2018, and that’s not very far away. At that point, you will be pretty much on your own. There may still be some support information available in the support forums or documentation library, but that information will no longer be updated. And there will be no product support from Citrix, unless you’re willing to pay a lot of money for it. So what are your options? Read More
If you’re still running XenApp v6.5, you know you need to develop a migration plan. XenApp v6.5 hits “End of Maintenance” – after which there will be no further code maintenance – at the end of calendar year 2017, and End of Life on June 30, 2018. So if you don’t have a migration plan in place, you don’t have a lot of time to develop one. Furthermore, if you’ve been tracking the evolution of the XenApp and XenDesktop products, you’ve probably noticed that new releases are coming more frequently these days as new and enhanced functionality is added to the products. That’s both good news and bad news: good news because the products are getting better and better, bad news because upgrading your Citrix infrastructure can involve a significant work effort. It is not unusual for a XenApp or XenDesktop infrastructure upgrade to take 100 to 120 hours of work effort on the part of your own IT team, if you have the skill set in-house to do it, or on the part of your Citrix consulting partner if you don’t. Read More