Problem: Plumbers Inc, a small plumbing company, has 5 plumbers who need to access the company database offsite while working at locations that may not be internet enabled. Additionally, the network is not currently protected by a firewall.
Current Infrastructure: 5 Dell Latitude D600 Laptops equipped with TrueMobile 5100 cellmodems, Dell PowerEdge 700 Server, Webguard Firebox SOHO 6 Firewall, Linksys 4116 10/100 Switch, CyberPower UPS.
Hardware has been purchased but is not yet fully functional.
Solution: First I configured the Firewall to filter traffic, block unused ports and protect their network. Also, management wanted a web blocking system set up to keep employees from surfing non business related sites. Next, I installed and configured core network services, such as: DHCP, DNS, RRAS, and Active Directory, so they could have a fully functional network. Then I secured the server by installing critical security updates and AntiVirus protection. The next step was to implement VPN hosting through Windows RRAS using PPTP and configure the firewall to pass VPN traffic through to the server. Finally, I setup client VPN tunneling on each remote user's laptop, and tested the whole setup.
Result: All remote users may now access the internal company network while working in the field.
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CASE STUDY #1 BRAND NEW NETWORK
Company: Neighborhood Housing Association.
Problem: All their current computer equipment is on lease, and they want to purchase their own equipment. Also, they will be hiring several new employees.
Current Infrastructure: None to speak of. Everything must be returned to the leasing agency, except one PC and one printer. A brand new network will have to be built from scratch.
Solution: The first and most important step is the employee interviews. Brian spoke at length with the office manager about what kinds of duties they perform on a regular basis to determine the exact specs on the network they will need. Once the scope of work was agreed upon, we purchased most of the hardware for them, saving them close to 50% off retail through our distribution channels. They ended up with a Dell 2800 Poweredge server, 5 Acer P4 workstations, an Acer P4 laptop, 3 HP printers, a Fortigate-60 firewall/IPS, and a D-Link Gigabit switch. All network equipment will utilize UPS (battery backup). There were not enough network drops, so the team installed drops in several new locations along with a professional rack/patch panel they had been missing. We fully configured the server, including automatic backup, standard network services, centrally managed Anti-Virus, and even a customized Group Policy. We set up the firewall to block unwanted traffic, filter for viruses and spam, and filter harmful attachments from email, while automatically updating its IPS and virus definitions. We copied all existing user data to new shared and home folders on the server, which will now be backed up, so business data is no longer kept on user PCs. We fully set up each PC, including all software, network settings, printers, etc.
Result: They now have a high speed, fully redundant, reliable, secure network, incorporating virus scanning both at the perimeter and locally, automatic backups utilizing off site storage, and intrusion prevention. From the time the hardware arrived, it took only a week before the network was complete and fully functional.
CASE STUDY #2 - NETWORK OVERHAUL
Company:Headquarters of a National Realty Group.
Problem: The equipment in use are aging "legacy" servers, PCs, and switches. The number of users has grown beyond the capacity of the existing equipment and is causing frequent failures, unacceptably slow performance, and complaints by users. Internal IT is swamped with the same trouble tickets over and over. In addition the network is undocumented making their job even harder. They need to get a solution to the root cause of existing problems instead of spending all day fixing the symptoms.
Current Infrastructure: Netgear FVX 538 perimeter firewall, Dell 1600SC, Shuttle-X fileserver, several Netgear WAPs and switches, and a hodge-podge of older Dell PCs from GX1s on up.
Solution: After a detailed review of existing infrastructure, we knew that most of the servers and PCs had outlived their usefulness and would need to be phased out. We purchased a Dell PowerEdge 840 with plenty of horsepower and some to grow on to replace the old 1600 SC and take some load off the fileserver to extend its lifespan. UPS battery backups were added to critical infrastructure where existing UPS were absent or overloaded. We reorganized the entire Active Directory structure which solved most of the recurring issues, which were being caused by poor planning and design. We also standardized the settings on all user PCs through Group Policy, which eliminated many other common problems. This makes future administration much easier because any additional changes to user's PCs IT deems necessary are done on this baseline standard and rolled out all at once instead of going to each PC individually, as they had been doing. We implemented different levels of "security lockdown" on user's PCs based on their department and responsibilities to prevent average users from changing important system settings and prevent future problems. We also fully documented the network and provided further recommendations to improve reliability and scalability which were outside the scope of the original agreement.
Result: They now have an operational, documented network which operates efficiently without bottlenecks and resource shortages. Internal IT has been given the tools and know how to effectively manage the new network without wasting a lot of man hours. Users are happy and complaints have dropped. They also have a roadmap for future expansion and can phase out other outdated equipment as budget permits.