Networking UPDATE--brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies.
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May 14, 2003--In this issue:
- Disaster Preparedness
- Microsoft TechEd 2003, June 1-6, Dallas, TX
- Free Webcast--SSL VPNs: Deliver Secure Remote Access from Any
- Tip: Keep Your Tape Drives Current
- Hot Thread: Unpredictable Antivirus Program
4. NEW AND IMPROVED
- PowerConnect Switches Offer Enterprise-Class Features
5. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us
(contributed by Alan Sugano, email@example.com)
* DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
Everyone talks about disaster recovery, but how many people actually have a recovery plan in place? A well thought-out and tested disaster-recovery plan will greatly increase your organization's odds of survival in the face of catastrophe. When devising your strategy, don't overlook the following steps:
- Designate a disaster-recovery administrator. This person will serve as the key contact and take responsibility for damage assessment and recovery coordination. Choose someone who's familiar with all aspects of your operations. Ideally, the disaster-recovery administrator will have a cell phone with a car charger.
- Establish a master contact list. A master contact list consists of information about anyone you might need to get in touch with, including all key employees, important vendors, and utility hotlines. Think about which contacts you would need to call on to help you restore operations as quickly as possible if, for example, your building burned down.
- Maintain cash reserves. When disaster strikes, financial institutions sometimes go offline for short periods. Depending on the situation, electronic banking might be particularly vulnerable. Do you have enough cash on hand for the company to function for a week? Can you meet payroll? Do you have a manual procedure in place for payroll if your service or software doesn't function?
- Open a line of credit. Has your company established a line of credit that it can access easily in the event of an emergency? - Document your network. If you had to rebuild your network from scratch, what information would you like to have at your fingertips? At a minimum, you should collect detailed information about your computers, printers, hubs, switches, routers, firewalls, cabling configurations, other network peripherals, and serial numbers. Serial numbers are especially important for insurance purposes. With a list of network equipment, you can create a Purchase Order (PO) to replace damaged items quickly. You should also keep a diagram that describes your network's logical and physical layout. Document any fixed IP addresses. Make sure the network documentation is available on hard-copy and electronic media.
- Devise a backup strategy. I prefer to perform full daily backups of all our servers and key workstations, when possible. If your tape-drive capacity prohibits you from performing full backups, consider running differential backups instead of incremental backups. Differential backups don't reset the archive bit, so all you need is the most recent full backup and the latest differential backup to recover your data. The last thing you want to do is search for multiple tapes before you can restore data. Store at least one backup copy off site, and keep onsite copies in a data-approved fireproof safe that's designed for magnetic media (tapes are much more fragile than paper and might not survive in a safe designed to protect paper). Some backup software lets you create a bootable CD-ROM that you can use to quickly restore your server information, without loading the OS and backup software before running the restore. Don't forget to create recovery CD-ROMs for remote servers.
- Leverage Windows Server 2003/Windows 2000 backup features. Consider using the Windows 2003 and Win2K folder-pinning features for crucial files, especially for laptop users. Create Remote Installation Services (RIS) images for all Windows XP and Win2K workstations. Pinned folders and RIS let you restore workstation information quickly.
- Test your plan. Just as police and fire departments conduct emergency-preparedness drills, you should fully test your disaster-recovery plan and fine tune it when necessary. Review your plan quarterly or when any major business changes occur.
- Prioritize applications. Review all the applications that run on your network and decide which are most important. Which applications would you need to restore first? Which users must you bring up first? Look closely at how your organization uses the network. Payroll, email, printing, file, and Internet access are probably high-priority uses, whereas Palm Pilot synchronization and games are probably low-priority uses. Prioritize applications so that, if necessary, you can restore the most important applications, servers, and users first.
With any luck, you won't ever face a catastrophic event. Nevertheless, you must be prepared. The steps I've described should help you develop a solid disaster-recovery plan. Next time, I'll explain how to put this plan into action.
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* MICROSOFT TECHED 2003, JUNE 1-6, DALLAS, TX
Realize your potential at TechEd 2003, Microsoft's premier technical conference. Join network administrators, developers, architects, and messaging/security specialists for sessions on Windows Server 2003, Visual Studio .NET 2003, and all .NET developer languages. 350+ technical sessions, hands-on labs, free betas, demos. Don't miss this opportunity; make sure to register today!
* FREE WEBCAST--SSL VPNS: DELIVER SECURE REMOTE ACCESS FROM ANY BROWSER
Join Penton Technology Media for this free Webcast, sponsored by Whale Communications, on June 3, 12 pm EST. SSL VPNs enable remote access to email, corporate applications, and files more cost effectively and easily than traditional VPNs. This discussion will cover the security and business issues surrounding this emerging technology.
(contributed by Alan Sugano, firstname.lastname@example.org)
* TIP: KEEP YOUR TAPE DRIVES CURRENT
If you're using an older tape drive, consider that you might have trouble finding another of the same model after a disaster. In other words, you might have a perfectly good backup tape but no tape drive with which to restore your data. To avoid potential problems in the event of disaster, be sure to keep your tape-backup technology current.
* HOT THREAD: UNPREDICTABLE ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM
In this thread, TiGi explains that he wrote a script to run an antivirus program when users logged on, but that the script runs for some users and not for others. Visit the following URL to join in the discussion:
(contributed by Jason Bovberg, email@example.com)
* POWERCONNECT SWITCHES OFFER ENTERPRISE-CLASS FEATURES
Dell announced three PowerConnect managed network switches: the PowerConnect 5212 Gigabit Ethernet switch, the PowerConnect 3348 Fast Ethernet switch, and the PowerConnect 3324 Fast Ethernet switch. The 5212 is an all-Gigabit 12-port switch ideal for midsize to large organizations requiring high-performance connectivity to centralized resources such as servers or high-speed network backbones, or Gigabit connectivity to desktop computers. The 3348 and 3324 switches offer 48 or 24 ports of Fast Ethernet connectivity (respectively) and two built-in copper Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports with optional Gigabit Ethernet fiber connectivity. The 5212 starts at $1199, the 3348 at $999, and the 3324 at $549. For more information about the PowerConnect switches, contact Dell on the Web.
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