In Sync

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While taking a walk on the trails behind USI over the holidays, I noticed an elderly couple ahead of me cutting a pretty healthy pace and seeming to enjoy every minute of their time together. There was an engaging conversation, lots of animated gestures, and little regard for anyone or anything around them. The outcome of their walk would be better fitness and a satisfying destination, but a deeper relationship was also being carved out along the way.

As I watched them I noticed something kind of funny about their gait – it was absolutely identical. He was taller and heavier than her, yet her legs must have been proportionately just enough longer to allow the couple to continually walk side-by-side, step-by-step – left, right, left, right – exactly in sync, without even knowing it. This went on for quite some time, and yes, I was just bored enough to take notice. I know, I need to get a life.

This reminded me, strangely enough, about the way we at Keller Schroeder like to approach our relationships with our clients. We may not look alike or be similar in “size and shape” to you, but our goal is to “adjust our gait” to walk alongside you in a meaningful relationship, reaching a more satisfying destination for you and your team than what you could otherwise achieve without us. We avoid getting too much out in front of you, or behind you. We want to work with you in such a way that it feels effortless – in sync with your goals and objectives.

We pride ourselves in listening intently and providing a unique, customized approach for each individual client contact we engage with. While we have much to offer in our skills, experience, and certifications, what makes us most effective is how we listen and synchronize our capabilities with your needs. To us, it is not first about the technology – it is about impacting you in a positive way – coming alongside you to help you leverage technology tools and services to more successfully achieve your objectives.

We wish you the best in 2015, and we will make it our top priority to “sync up” with you, step-by-step, with your destination in mind.

Please contact us if we can engage with you in a new way. We will make every effort to listen and bring new solutions to the table.

Larry May
President


Satisfaction Continues

Carissa Montgomery  [Marketing & Communications Coordinator]

 

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

 

While Keller Schroeder is blessed to have fantastic relationships with our clients, we value any opportunity to acquire insight into our strengths, as well as opportunities to improve.

AI-Gold-Black

As a Microsoft Gold Competency Partner, Keller Schroeder annually participates in a customer satisfaction survey to gain valuable feedback regarding our services. Each year since 2009, our clients have been asked to rate these services based on several key performance indicators. Keller Schroeder once again received high marks in all categories in 2014, including significantly outpacing partner averages in the value received, the quality of our products, and our ability to meet our clients’ needs.

We hope that this year’s results are merely a reflection of Keller Schroeder’s continued commitment to providing our clients the highest level of expertise and service.

Contact your Account Manager at Keller Schroeder for more information regarding our Microsoft skills and how they might benefit your organization.

 


Why Nimble Storage?

Basic RGBChris Haynes [Sr. Systems Consultant]

 

Are your storage costs getting out of control? Do you need more storage performance, but think you can’t afford it? Are you contemplating that support renewal vs. a storage refresh decision? Well, then you need to consider Nimble Storage.

So how is Nimble Storage different from all the other storage providers? Nimble designed their solution from the ground up, to take advantage of using SSDs as cache in combination with traditional spinning disks to provide the most efficient hybrid solution at the lowest price/performance combo available in a storage solution today.

Nimble developed their patented Operating System called Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) to cache “hot” data on SSDs in real time, allowing it to respond to read requests much faster than any of its competitor’s “bolted-on” flash technology. CASL also allows for some of the lowest-latency writes too, by collecting random writes and compressing and writing them to disk sequentially.

Nimble Storage didn’t stop with just a low-cost, high-performance system either. They packed their storage solution with all the advanced features one would expect in a next-generation storage solution, including inline compression, block level difference snapshots, zero copy clones, data replication, one-click upgrades with no downtime, and much more, all included at no extra cost. No a la carte pricing like some other storage vendors have.

On top of all this, they provide one of the easiest and most intuitive management interfaces, with all the capacity and performance data you need at your fingertips, and a convenient plug-in for VMware vCenter or Microsoft Hyper-V, so you don’t have to leave your hypervisor to create, resize, & monitor your datastores.

What else? Nimble Storage also provides a proactive support site called InfoSight, which is a cloud-based portal that collects data from your storage solution every five minutes, and presents historical capacity and performance reports, trending and wellness reports, and hardware upgrade recommendations, along with lots of other information. You can manage support tickets here as well, and if you have to call Support, the person who answers the phone will be able to help you immediately, never asking you to collect logs to send to them. Support will already have all the data they need to help you.

Will it scale? Absolutely. You can scale up on the fly with hot swappable controllers, SSDs, and HDDs and scale out by clustering multiple Nimble Storage units together for even the largest environments. All systems are highly available dual controller solutions with high-performance SSDs and RAID-6 triple parity disk arrays for the HDDs for maximum redundancy and performance.

Nimble Storage was named “Storage Vendor of the Year” in 2014 by CRN and has had quicker growth than any other storage vendor to date. All sound too good to be true? Do your own research. Ask around. Then give Keller Schroeder a call. We’ll answer any other questions you have about Nimble storage, provide references, and can schedule a demo with you. We can even arrange to have a demo unit installed at your site. Give Nimble Storage a look. You’ll be glad you did.

Contact your Account Manager at Keller Schroeder for more information about these products and how they might benefit your organization.

 


Security Requires Visibility

syslogSchuyler Dorsey [Security Consultant]

As both attacks and networks grow more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to secure the infrastructure and its data. One of the key components to retaining network security is ensuring you have insight or visibility as to what is actually happening in your network. For total visibility, you need to be able to combine nouns, verbs and timestamps to build a timeline of who did what and when. The need for total visibility extends beyond security best practices and can certainly aid in troubleshooting; however, monitoring for and responding to a security incident is when it is most crucial to have this visibility data.

It is a common misconception network devices and endpoints will automatically log everything needed, by default. Unfortunately, the default logging levels of most network devices and operating systems leave much to be desired. Here are some example default logging configurations which may leave gaping holes in your investigations:

  • Many network switches will not log local failed login attempts by default.
  • Windows will not log failed changes to group memberships or accounts.
  • Windows will not log file creation, deletion, or execution.
  • Many network firewalls will log very minimal traffic information.

So, if we take the example of a malware attack on an organization, and your infrastructure is configured with default logging settings, it would be extremely difficult to track down how the malware originally entered the network (patient zero), what actions the malware took on the endpoint(s), what other internal and external IPs the infected endpoint(s) connected to and ultimately, what malicious actions the malware performed.

In addition to enhanced logging providing this insight, building a proper timeline of the malware infection can also help remediation efforts. As an example, if we assume the proper logging is in place, we would be able to know what file was initially downloaded and executed, what IPs it connected to in order to download its payload, what files were created and deleted as a result of the malware installing itself, and what registry keys were altered to ensure malware persistence.

Once all this logging is enabled, it begs the question, how can it be efficiently managed? The answer is a Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) platform. Not only do SIEM solutions provide a central repository and dashboard for all the logs in the enterprise, most will come with signature/correlation rules to automatically try to detect malicious actions based on those logs. The most important thing to remember, though, is the SIEM can effectively review and analyze only the information it receives. So if your infrastructure’s logging posture is not configured effectively, the SIEM will be ineffective.

A healthy logging posture is crucial in ensuring network visibility; visibility is the only way to effectively monitor and respond to malware and/or Advanced Persistent Threats.

Contact your Account Manager at Keller Schroeder for more information about these products and how they might benefit your organization.