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  • Cisco's Cloud Defense Orchestrator - Alive and Kicking

    Cisco's Cloud Defense Orchestrator - Alive and Kicking

    June 24th, 2019
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    Cisco has a cloud-based management tool for IOS routers, ASAs, FirePOWER on ASA, ASA on FTD, Umbrella and real soon FTD on FTD.  A once forgotten about application, Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO) is still alive and kicking. 

    CDO provides much-needed automation when delivering policy changes, software upgrades, and configuration assistance across a  plethora of Cisco security products.  It is also primed to add more value hooking into Stealthwatch's cloud offering for logging and advanced threat analytics in the near future.

    Managing multiple firewalls can be daunting. Duplicate object and entries, shadow IT rules, and lack of an audit trail has made a Cisco firewall admin's job less than smooth.   Cisco does have a Security Manager product, but it is clunky, hard to use, and doesn't plug into with any of the next generation firewall features.  Clearly, something better is needed.

    Along comes CDO.  It advertises being "up" in minutes and adding value day 1.  It is a true SAAS offering with device-specific licensing required.  You purchase the quantiles needed by model and device type and choose a duration for the service.

    We will run through the turn-up process to show how quickly we can get started with CDO.

    #1 After our CDO account is created, we are required to setup MFA.  With that completed, we login to CDO and begin setting up our account.

    #2 We set up a Secure Device Connector  (SDC) from our portal.  We have two options for CDO to manage our equipment.   We can choose to have our devices managed directly from the cloud (they need to be directly accessible over the internet) or use an onsite proxy server.   We can build our own SDC with any CentOS box (8 MB of RAM 10G of disk) or deploy a pre-configured VMWare OVA file.  We also have the option of importing configurations for offline management of boxes we can't manage directly. 

    CDO – Wizard – Getting Started

    CDO – Wizard – Getting Started

     #3 Next, we are off to adding devices.  The configurations will be reviewed, and recommendations are generated to help with some common configuration problems.

    In this example, we have onboarded an ASA using the Cloud Secure Device Connector.  This is provided at no cost. If we are adding a device that is managed through the same interface that is providing Anyconnect VPN, we need to change our default port number for ASDM.

    ASA Changes for CDO access

    http 52.34.234.2 255.255.255.255 outside

    http 52.36.70.147 255.255.255.255 outside

    http server enable 8443

     

    CDO – Wizard – Getting Started

    • First we choose our device type

     CDO – Wizard – Getting Started

    • Next we provide device specific information

    CDO – Wizard – Getting Started

    • After confirming it can connect to the device we are prompted for credentials.

     CDO – Wizard – Getting Started

    In just a few minutes CDO has onboarded the device and is evaluating the policy

     

    Policy Feedback - Clearly some work to be done!

     

    Examine Shadow IT rules

     

    We can also drill down to are heavy hit rules and see if there are any misconfigurations or obvious optimizations to be made.

     

     

     

      

     

    Troubleshoot VPN issues

     

       

     

    Perform bulk upgrades   

     

     

    Review audit logs

     

    Some other popular use cases are listed below. 

    • Reduce errors and misconfigurations with device templates
    • Discover inventory based on Smart License inventory (FTD 6.3 +)
    • Configure NGFW features with wizard walkthrough ease and feel
      • Easy roll back with multiple configuration revisions
      • Take advantage of licenses sitting dormant and unused
    • Migrate platforms
      • ASA to FTD, ASA to MX, MX to FTD
    • Manage a single block list across multiple Cisco security products
    • Perform rapid device deployment and replacement
    • Bulk upgrades with pre-staging
      • Supports intelligent failover monitoring

     

    This is truly one of Cisco's more affordable solutions.  It’s able to support new and legacy devices easing the transition and streamlining new deployments.  For more information feel free to contact us at info@hainc.com

  • High Availability, Inc. Recognized on CRN’s 2019 Solution Provider 500 List

    High Availability, Inc. Recognized on CRN’s 2019 Solution Provider 500 List

    June 12th, 2019
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    High Availability, Inc. Recognized on CRN’s 2019 Solution Provider 500 List
    CRN's 2019 Solution Provider 500 list ranks the top integrators, service providers and IT consultants in North America by services revenue.

    Audubon, PA, June 12th, 2019 - High Availability, Inc. announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named High Availability, Inc. to its 2019 Solution Provider 500 list. This annual list ranks the largest North American IT channel partner organizations by revenue. The Solution Provider 500 is the industry standard for recognizing the highest performing technology integrators, strategic service providers and IT consultants. It is the industry's predominant channel partner list, serving as a valuable resource for technology vendors looking to partner with top solution providers.

    The Solution Provider 500 is CRN’s predominant channel partner award list, serving as the industry standard for recognition of the most successful solution provider companies in the channel since 1995. The complete list will be published on CRN.com, making it readily available to vendors seeking out top solution providers to partner with. 

    "We are honored to be recognized on CRN's Solution Provider 500," said Steve Eisenhart, Chief Executive Officer of High Availability, Inc. "We are very excited to have increased our position on the list for the 7th straight year to #224.  This achievement is a tribute to our dedicated and talented employees, loyal customers, and supportive business partners. We will continue to make investments in the right people, the right partners, and the right technologies to advance as an organization and improve our ranking on this list again next year." Eisenhart added.

    “The companies on this year’s list represent an incredible combined revenue of $320 billion, a sum that attests to their success in staying ahead of rapidly changing market demands,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “Congratulations to the solution provider organizations leading the way in digital transformation and the latest technology services.”

    The complete 2019 Solution Provider 500 list is available online at www.CRN.com/SP500 and a sample from the list will be featured in the June issue of CRN Magazine.

    High Availability, Inc. is a premier solution provider and integrator of data center products and cloud services. High Availability, Inc. solves complex business challenges by architecting and implementing forward-thinking technical solutions, while forming trusting, collaborative relationships. By taking a hands-on, consultative approach, the High Availability, Inc. team creates custom tailored systems and solutions to fit both current requirements and future IT and business needs.

  • Solving Citrix Problems Before They Are Noticed

    Solving Citrix Problems Before They Are Noticed

    May 15th, 2019
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    It seems that VDI and DaaS keep growing every year! New solutions are put on the market, and long-term players keep adding new features to their products. But, if you ask me, Citrix is still the #1 player on the market with their virtual apps and desktops solution.

    Virtual apps and desktops provide security while working remotely, which is a necessity with the increase in work-from-home positions. While "work-from-home" is the trend, employees aren't always necessarily at home while working. In fact, some employees may prefer to work between meetings and utilize public Wi-Fi. This makes data protection more important than ever.

    But, what happens when employees cannot access their virtual desktop infrastructure? As IT admins, we know this situation all too well. The problem is usually easy to fix, but could it have been prevented?

    This is where Application Probing comes into play, which can be found in the latest release of Citrix Virtual Apps. With the release of b7.18, admins can now troubleshoot individual applications in addition to clients/hosts, sessions, and users all through Application Probing.

    Application Probing works with the Application Probe Agents. These agents are installed on an endpoint machine or VM and periodically test whether an application is available and can be started.

    The agent executes application probing as per the probe configuration it fetches from the director. The application probe tests the availability of the tested application on five levels:

    StoreFront Reachability – Is the configured StoreFront URL reachable?

    StoreFront Authentication – Are the configured StoreFront credentials valid?

    StoreFront Enumeration – Is the tested application available in Storefront?

    ICA download – Is the ICA file available and can it be downloaded?

    Application launch –  Can the application be launched?

    The installation of agent configuration is pretty straightforward. The only condition for installing the agent is the availability of Citrix Receiver version 4.8 or higher.

    This feature has auto email alerts support, which sends email notifications whenever there is an application launch failure. So, Citrix administrators do not need to log in every day and start being proactive in solving solutions.

    Interested in this feature? Take a look at this following Citrix page.

  • .NEXT 2019 Recap

    .NEXT 2019 Recap

    May 13th, 2019
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    The 2019 Nutanix .NEXT conference, which took place in Anaheim, California in May, provided IT leaders from around the globe with a tremendous amount of information regarding enterprise data center and cloud technologies.

    So what is the .NEXT event? .NEXT is an annual conference that primarily focusses on the progress, innovation, and expansion of the entire Nutanix portfolio. The event is best known for educational opportunities. Unlike many other vendor conferences, .NEXT offers attendees the chance to sit in on classes, hands-on labs, and even take advantage of in-person certification testing. 

    Since High Availability, Inc. is now implementing and manager far more Nutanix HCI environment than we ever have before - we knew we had to attend (again). Here are a few takeaways and announcements from the event concerning some Nutanix solutions:

    Nutanix Mine:
    Nutanix Mine is a new open solution that integrates secondary storage operations with the Nutanix Enterprise Platform. Mine will provide native integration with industry-leading backup vendors (Veeam, HYCU, Commvault, Veritas, Unitrends...). This integration means you can now manage your HCI environment and backup operations from a single console to reduce the cost and complexity of storage management. 

    Xi Frame:
    Acquisition by Nutanix from Frame, Inc., Xi Frame offers Desktop as a Service through your browser without the need of a plugin via HTML-5. Take a browser, anywhere in the world, and start your own desktop or start applications directly from within the browser. You only pay for what you use.  Xi Frame can now run on AHV and extends its desktop delivery capabilities beyond public cloud infrastructures like Azure and AWS.

    Xi Epoch:
    This offer solution offers an overview of your cloud applications. It gives a clear view of the interactions between your applications, without being dependent on one framework or a specific language. IT also includes performance monitoring and a tool to investigate application outages.

    Xi Leap:
    Don't have the time or budget to manage your DR infrastructure? XiLeap is a DR as a Service solution delivered from Xi Cloud. XiLeap is a no-install solution that eliminates the complexity of setting up VPN tunnels and routing protocols to enable reachability between the on-prem and cloud networks. Xi Leap is now expanding cloud-based disaster recovery services to new availability zones.

    XI IoT:
    The Nutanix IoT platform called Xi IoT platform now offers new capabilities to develop and deploy IoT and AI applications in the cloud or at the edge. You can now streamline the development of IoT and AI applications with seamless connectivity to cloud and your own datacenter resources.

    Interested in attending .Next in 2020? The sixth annual .NEXT conference takes place in Chicago from June 30th - July 2nd. 

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer Names High Availability, Inc.  A Winner of The Delaware Valley Top Workplaces 2019 Award

    The Philadelphia Inquirer Names High Availability, Inc. A Winner of The Delaware Valley Top Workplaces 2019 Award

    April 23rd, 2019
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    The Philadelphia Inquirer Names High Availability, Inc.
    A Winner of The Delaware Valley Top Workplaces 2019 Award

     

    Audubon, PA, April 23rd, 2019 – High Availability, Inc. has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2019 honor by The Philadelphia Inquirer. High Availability, Inc. was ranked #29 in the “Small Companies” category, which recognizes organizations with less than 150 employees. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few. High

    To be eligible for this prestigious designation, all nominated organizations must participate in a company-wide survey facilitated by Energage, a leading research firm focused on company culture and workplace improvement.  With over 47,000 organizations surveyed since 2006, Energage is the most trusted solution for empowering organizations to work better together.

    The Energage survey consists of four main factors; alignment, effectiveness, connection, and management. Alignment focuses on the direction and ethics of the organization, effectiveness assesses overall corporate communication and project execution, connection evaluates employee appreciation and job potential, and, lastly, the manager section reviews the employee’s manager and corporate leadership.

    Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

    “The entire team at High Availability, Inc. is honored to be named as one of the top workplaces in Philadelphia for the second year in a row,” said Steve Eisenhart, Chief Executive Officer of High Availability, Inc.  "One of the most important parts of my job is to create and maintain a culture that inspires and motivates existing employees and attracts new talent as we grow and expand into new markets.  This award validates that we have built a positive and successful work environment! Moreover, it is especially rewarding knowing that the judges for this award are all H.A. employees!"

    Click Here for more information about working for High Availability, Inc. and to view open positions.

    High Availability, Inc. is a premier solution provider and integrator of data center products and cloud services. High Availability, Inc. solves complex business challenges by architecting and implementing forward-thinking technical solutions while forming trusting, collaborative relationships. By taking a hands-on, consultative approach, the High Availability, Inc. team creates custom tailored systems and solutions to fit both current requirements and future IT and business needs.

    ###

    Media Contact:

    For more information about High Availability, Inc., please contact Liz Thompson, Marketing Manager, at (610) 254-5090 ext. 256 or lthompson@hainc.com

  • High Availability, Inc. Named One of 2019 Tech Elite Solution Providers by CRN®

    High Availability, Inc. Named One of 2019 Tech Elite Solution Providers by CRN®

    March 29th, 2019
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    High Availability, Inc. Named One of 2019 Tech Elite Solution Providers by CRN®

    Audubon, PA, March 29th, 2019 - High Availability, Inc. announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named High Availability, Inc. to its 2019 Tech Elite 250 list. This annual list honors a select group of North American IT solution providers that have earned the highest number of advanced technical certifications from leading technology suppliers, scaled to their company size. These companies have distinguished themselves with multiple, top-level IT certifications, specializations, and partner program designations from the industry’s most prestigious technology providers.

    To compile this annual list, The Channel Company’s research group and CRN editors work together to identify the most customer-beneficial technical certifications in the North American IT channel. Companies who have earned these elite designations— which enable solution providers to deliver premium products, services, and customer support—are then selected from a pool of online applicants.

    “We are honored to be once again included in the 2019 CRN Tech Elite 250,” said Chris Black, Chief Technology Officer of High Availability, Inc. “This award reflects the extremely talented group of engineers, operational staff, project managers, and system architects that makes High Availability, Inc. one of the nation’s leading Systems, Containers, Cloud and Managed Services integrators.  We are continuing to invest in our talent and partner ecosystem, and as such, their dedication and commitment to our clients and their craft is an honor to be a part of.   We look forward to continuing delivering outstanding solutions and support for our clients.”

    Coverage of the Tech Elite 250 will be featured in the April issue of CRN, and online at www.CRN.com/TechElite250

    High Availability, Inc. is a premier solution provider and integrator of data center products and cloud services. High Availability, Inc. solves complex business challenges by architecting and implementing forward-thinking technical solutions, while forming trusting, collaborative relationships. By taking a hands-on, consultative approach, the High Availability, Inc. team creates custom tailored systems and solutions to fit both current requirements and future IT and business needs.

    ###

    Media Contact:

    For more information about High Availability, Inc., please contact Liz Thompson, Marketing Manager, at (610) 254-5090 ext. 256 or lthompson@hainc.com

  • The End is Near (for SQL and Windows 2008). Are you prepared?

    The End is Near (for SQL and Windows 2008). Are you prepared?

    March 6th, 2019
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    We get it; change is scary. If you've been running the same operating system for many years, a large-scale overhaul is understandably intimidating.

    If you have been putting off the inevitable, it's time to start making some critical decisions. Microsoft is ending support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on July 9 and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on January 14, 2020.

    The good news is that, if you are still relying on these systems, you are not alone. It is estimated that about half of enterprise server and database servers are running on the 2008 platforms.

    Typically, the end-of-support deadline for enterprise software triggers uncertainty, but it is also an opportunity to evaluate your datacenter strategy. Some of the questions to ask your team include:

    • Will our core line of business applications run on a newer operating system? And what version(s) are supported?
    • Do we still have a maintenance or support agreement with those software vendors to help with the migration/upgrade?
    • Were any key custom applications written by an employee who is no longer with the organization?
    • Is there money in the capital budget for the new hardware required for a server upgrade?
    • What are our long-term plans: are we planning on maintaining our datacenters or are we considering some cloud solutions?

    There is no right or wrong plan; the path for your organization depends on the risks/rewards that you are willing to accept.

    Do Nothing – This is certainly the least expensive option (in the short run). Yes, you can avoid spending on hardware and migration costs for now; however, many software vendors will only support the most recent versions of their applications. You run the risk of voiding any support agreements plus the ability to upgrade to the newest versions which provide those features and functionalities that your business needs to grow. This route also exposes your company to both security and compliance issues and potential fines.

    Purchase Extended Support – For some applications, you may be able to purchase an extended support contract for approximately 75% of the yearly licensing costs. Yes, your systems will stay patched, but you will still be unable to upgrade in order take advantage of the features and benefits that new versions offer.

    Upgrade your Datacenter – New hardware coupled with application migrations/upgrades avoid the security and compliance risks of the other two solutions, but they carry serious capital expenditures plus the costs associated with training your staff to manage and run these newer platforms. Additionally, this further entrenches your organization in the on-going hardware refresh cycles.

    Move to the cloud – There are multiple cloud solutions available. Perhaps your application’s vendor has a cloud-based version that would allow your team access without having to be in the office. Maybe you want to get out of the datacenter business entirely and move your systems to AWS, Google or Microsoft Azure. These cloud providers offer the platforms (PaaS) and infrastructure (IaaS) to run your servers on a monthly subscription basis while the vendor assumes the burden of maintaining the infrastructure and its availability.

    Hybrid cloud – If you are not ready to throw all of your systems into the cloud at once, a hybrid approach may be the ideal solution. This approach preserves your option to develop a cloud migration strategy to reduce your datacenter footprint, while still leveraging the benefits that an IaaS or PaaS solution offer. You might decide to transition systems due for a hardware refresh to the cloud immediately while keeping others on-premises, for compliance, governance or legacy issues. For these systems, an on-premises upgrade let you take advantage of the new security and feature capabilities in Windows Server 2019.

    Moving workloads to the cloud allows companies to shift IT costs from the capital to the operational budget. With the subscription model offered, organizations pay only for consumed resources and can scale up and down as needed. Compare this to the on-premises options where hardware is purchased upfront based on four to six-year usage predictions.

    End of support can be viewed as either a time of uncertainty or as one of opportunity. High Availability can help you evaluate your options and plan the most appropriate path forward; whether that is a datacenter upgrade, a cloud migration or a hybrid solution. Reach out to begin your path forward. You can also learn more about the End of Support for Windows 2008 and SQL 2008 here:

    https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-new-options-for-sql-server-2008-and-windows-server-2008-end-of-support/

  • High Availability, Inc. Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

    High Availability, Inc. Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

    March 5th, 2019
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    High Availability, Inc. Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

    Audubon, PA, March 5th, 2019 - High Availability, Inc. announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named High Availability, Inc. to its 2019 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Elite 150 category. This annual list recognizes North American solution providers with innovative approaches to managed services. These services help customers improve operational efficiencies, maximize return on IT investments, and continuously help them navigate the complexities of IT solutions.

    Managed service providers are integral to the success of businesses everywhere. They empower companies to implement and operate complex technologies while staying within their budgets and keep focus on their core business. CRN’s MSP 500 list identifies the most groundbreaking managed service organizations, with advanced solutions that have endless potential for growth.

    This annual list is divided into three categories: the MSP Pioneer 250, recognizing companies with business models weighted toward managed services and largely focused on the SMB market; the MSP Elite 150, recognizing large, data center-focused MSPs with a strong mix of on-premises and off-premises services; and the Managed Security 100, recognizing MSPs focused primarily on off-premises, cloud-based security services.

    “Capable MSPs enable companies to take their cloud computing to the next level, streamline spending, effectively allocate limited resources and navigate the vast field of available technologies,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “The companies on CRN’s 2019 MSP 500 list stand out for their innovative services, excellence in adapting to customers’ changing needs and demonstrated ability to help businesses get the most out of their IT investments.”

    The MSP500 list will be featured in the February 2019 issue of CRN and online at www.CRN.com/msp500

    High Availability, Inc. is a premier solution provider and integrator of data center products and cloud services. High Availability, Inc. solves complex business challenges by architecting and implementing forward-thinking technical solutions, while forming trusting, collaborative relationships. By taking a hands-on, consultative approach, the High Availability, Inc. team creates custom tailored systems and solutions to fit both current requirements and future IT and business needs.

    ###

    Media Contact:

    For more information about High Availability, Inc., please contact Liz Thompson, Marketing Manager, at (610) 254-5090 ext. 256 or lthompson@hainc.com

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