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Network Configuration Nightmares And How To Avoid Them

Updated on November 2, 2015
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With Halloween around the corner, some of us Information Technology gurus are extremely relieved that it falls on a Saturday this year. The office is closed on Saturdays and we are more scared of that Xerox machine that the boss just won’t replace than we are of Zombies and Ghouls. Being the tech savvy employee in an office environment can be incredibly frustrating, so here are a five ghoulish network nightmares and how to avoid them.

The Vampires

Not the blood sucking vampires, but the data-sucking vampires! A slow network can be a huge hindrance on the workflow of the office. According to whoishostingthis.com, a total of one-third of the bandwidth being used on the Internet is from streaming Netflix. Do you know a co-worker who likes to work while they watch a movie? Well, that’s probably why you can’t upload those important documents to the client folder before it gets dark. This doesn't even account for the percentage of users who use social media on their company computer. All of that bandwidth could be used for more appropriate work tasks and, if used properly, can increase productivity.

So how do we limit the amount of data-sucking? You could find a third party software that monitors all the computers on your network to see who the culprit is and call them out. An even more effective technique would be to start locking down websites that the users shouldn’t be using at work. This can be done with your router or firewall. If you have the monitoring, you can also look at what sites are being visited and add them to the block list.

The Mummys

That rickety piece of Xerox junk that just won’t print or loses connection all of the time. Or even that Windows XP machine that no longer accepts Windows Updates and every website looks terrible because your stuck on Internet Explorer 8. These are the mummies, and they have been wrapped and buried, so why do we still use them? Because the boss wants to save money? Too many times I see this lack of understanding to the importance of keeping your devices up to date.

Tell your boss that the Xerox machine needs to be replaced because its just causing stress in the workplace. A nice machine can print, fax, or scan without hurting job performance or slowing employees down. That XP machine that no longer gets security updates could get a nasty virus, and now the boss has to pay for an expert to retrieve the lost files or programs. He or she could have spent the money in the first place for a new machine!

The Zombies

Speaking of viruses, even if you don’t have an XP machine, you could most definitely get viruses. Most of your co-workers in other departments are not as technically inclined and just may already be acting like zombies so they click on anything that looks like a button. After that they become infected. Well, the computer becomes infected and they become infected with frustration. Viruses can even be delivered by a cleverly disguised email. I had a co-worker who recently had a friend pass away and they received an invitation to attend a funeral. This email was not talking about her friend’s funeral, but she jumped to conclusions and clicked on ‘Accept’ anyway.

Like getting bit by a zombie, it is already too late. So, the best way to handle a virus is to prevent them. Install a trusted anti-virus on all of the network computers and have it run every night. Also, train your co-workers to always be skeptical of links and strange offers.

The Ghosts

This is the data that your office lost and those moans are coming from Shelly in accounting because she lost an entire day of work. Redundancy is extremely important this day and age and, frankly, its completely worth it.

Make sure that your company has a back-up plan for the servers and each individual machine. I encourage both a cloud backup as well as a local backup, just in case one backup fails overnight. This way you have a second backup and you will be freed from those haunting moans coming from the accounting office.

The Demon

Some people just want to lie, cheat, steal, and hack computers. These are the Demons and they can make your company a living hell!

Make sure you enforce strong passwords, especially in a domain controller environment. If everyone is on the same network, just one computer can get to all the sensitive data with the right credentials. Strong passwords usually are at least eight characters, have a number, upper case letter, lower case letter, and a special character. If Shelly from accounting has a laptop that the company lets her take home to VPN into the server, make sure she knows the company policies on security.

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Sometimes working in Information Technology can be so scary that you actually want a zombie to eat your brains, but sticking with these five tips can really help your sanity and maintain the workplace.

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