BUGS BYTE
Cisco SMB
Cisco Specialization in Small and Midsize Business

The SMB Customer Opportunity

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have become
the IT industry’s fastest-growing segment. With this trend
comes a heightened demand from customers for knowledgeable network professionals who can successfully design and
deploy Cisco® SMB solutions. This is especially true in the
SMB market, where customers rely heavily on their partners
as trusted advisers.

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UniFi-Video Products End of Life Announcement

Phasing out UniFi-Video products – Unifi-Video is EOL

Starting January, 1st 2021 (01/01/2021) all available UniFi-Video resources will focus on UniFi Protect to accelerate its development in terms of features, scalability, security, and continuous efforts to create the best user experience for our video-related products. 

This means UniFi-Video products will no longer be offered or supported, beyond 2020. More specifically: 

  • No software or hardware revisions will be released, including for web UI and mobile applications
  • No customer support will be available
  • No security updates
  • All cloud operations will be shut down and video.ui.com will no longer be accessible

The Plan Ahead for the EOL of Unifi-Video

You can expect two more UniFi-Video release cycles including beta releases (v3.10.13 and v3.10.14). These will address the most critical issues in terms of security updates and/or regressions, so if you plan on continuing to use UniFi-Video beyond the end of life date, we strongly recommend you upgrade your systems to these latest releases as they become available.

Switching to UniFi-Protect

If you decide to switch over to UniFi-Protect, a “one-click” migration of UniFi-Video managed cameras and some user settings will be available in the next controller release for a seamless transition.

Several options are/will be available in terms of NVRs depending on your cameras and storage needs.

UniFi-Protect currently supports the following camera models:

  • UVC, UVC-Dome, UVC-Pro 
  • All G2 cameras
  • UVC-G3, UVC-G3-Flex, UVC-G3-Dome, UVC-G3-Micro, UVC-G3-Pro
  • UVC-G4-Bullet, UVC-G4-Pro

Existing UniFi-Video Recordings

Recordings will not be migrated over to Protect, but they will remain accessible from UniFi-Video applications as long as you keep the UniFi-Video controller running on your NVR/Server.

Note: Remote access has been extended to Jan. 15, 2021 – users will still be able to log in and access their UniFi Video installations via video.ui.com until this date.

Your Company is Remote But is it Secure?

Your Company is Remote – But is it Secure?

2020 has forced many companies to rapidly switch their teams to remote work, sometimes moving hundreds of employees to remote access within days. IT teams across the globe scrambled to set up these new infrastructures, resulting in quickly patched-together solutions that may need reevaluation as companies settle into the remote work routine. Now is the time to assess and optimize your company’s current remote setup and ask:

How secure is your network?

Securing Your Remote Workers

A secure and easy-to-use is important as employees navigate workspaces without colleagues or IT teams in the same physical space. Fortunately, these concerns can be addressed.

Secure User Access

Working from home comes with its own set of security risks but securing access to your company’s network is an excellent first step toward minimizing these risks. Use the following tools to secure user access:

  • Conditional Access: Allows you to control access to your network based on location, app, device state, and user state.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Protects your network against lost or stolen passwords.
  • Virtual Desktops: Allows you to build a virtual desktop for workers which gives them remote access to the information in the virtualized session and prevents them from saving any data on their local workstations.

Manage Devices

In addition to securing user access, it is important to secure their devices, too. This has become more difficult with more people using laptops, desktops and other mobile devices to access company data, but there are solutions for securing this technology, too:

  • Mobile Device and App Management: Helps manage work data on mobile apps and decide how much control you want to exert on mobile devices accessing your company’s network.
  • Antivirus Protection: Along with keeping devices up to date and strengthening security policies, protect critical data with antivirus and ransomware protection.
  • Automation: Seamlessly deploy and provision apps, configurations, and user settings across all network users and devices.

Protect Data

Another crucial aspect of network security is data protection. Policies that control access and sharing of data must be put into place. Implementing these measures prevents phishing and ensures confidential data, including social security numbers and other personal identification information, is secure.

Data protection can help in the following ways:

  • Data Loss Prevention: Protects against accidental data leaks, allowing you to detect, monitor, and defends confidential data from being unintentionally shared while helping users learn how to stay compliant without interrupting their workflow.
  • Information Protection: Control access to data and documents by allowing you to decide whether an email or a document can be viewed, forwarded, or printed by a non-employee.
  • Cloud App Discovery: Prioritizes apps, identifies high-risk users, and allows you to integrate applications to enable single sign-on and user management.

Other Security Features

As teams across the world continue to tackle the remote work environment, introducing additional security updates to your organization can ensure protection against threats and introduced new security offerings. These security features include:

  • Strengthen Endpoint Management: Allow your IT teams to make remote and hybrid work possible with the support and management of virtual endpoints. Drive your IT team’s efficiency by enabling the management of virtual desktop infrastructure solutions within the same console as their physical desktops.
  • Defend the Security of Your Network:;Provide security solutions against complex phishing and ransomware attacks by implementing sophisticated attachment scanning, automatic checks of links, and anti-spoofing intelligence.

Need Help Securing Your Network?

BUGS BYTE understands the necessity of securing your IT systems to make it safe for your teams to work remotely. By using BUGS BYTE’s Secure Remote Work Environment services, you can rely on us to assess your current strategy, identify and remediate any gaps, and help you plan for the continuous management of this strategy for the future.

2020 has forced many companies to rapidly switch their teams to remote work, sometimes moving hundreds of employees to remote access within days. IT teams across the globe scrambled to set up these new infrastructures, resulting in quickly patched-together solutions that may need reevaluation as companies settle into the remote work routine. Now is the time to assess and optimize your company’s current remote setup and ask:

Need Help Securing Your Network?

BUGS BYTE understands the necessity of securing your IT systems to make it safe for your teams to work remotely. By using BUGS BUYE’s Secure Remote Work services, you can rely on us to assess your current strategy, identify and remediate any gaps, and help you plan for the continuous management of this strategy for the future.

BUGS BYTE—Transforming the customer experience through tech-enabled managed services

Today’s choices for mobility, cloud, infrastructure, communications, applications, and operations are mission-critical for small, mid-sized, and large enterprises.

BUGS BYTE, is leading the transformation into technology solutions as a service with our tech-enabled managed services portfolio and a commitment to technology innovation, operational excellence, and client intimacy.

Recognized by industry leaders and industry-leading publications, BUGS BYTE has 25 years of operating history delivering exceptional client experiences that directly result in competitive advantage, cost-savings, growth, and improved operational efficiencies.

Visit BUGSBYTE.COM, email info@BUGSBYTE.COM, call (773) 312-5001, today for more information.

Cisco Meraki Logos
Meraki MX Firewall as a Cisco ISR Router

If you are looking for a solution so replace your aging fleet of Cisco ISR 2900 and 3900 routers – then you are not alone. See how we ended up with Meraki MX firewalls as this story unfolds.

Cisco’s end-of-life announcements ends software maintenance and security support at the end of 2020. By 2022 the entire lines are considered obsolete and no support is offered.

A metropolitan housing authority in Ohio has found themselves in this position. They have a couple dozen properties in the county with small connected management offices. They reached out to us for a solution.

The proposed solution is Meraki MX67W at each management office or branch.

The unique component to this solution is their WAN topology. In this case, each branch is connected to a datacenter by a private MPLS cloud. Each branch then traverses a datacenter uplink for public access.

In contrast; most topologies will have direct internet access (DIA) to each branch, which is also used as IPSec VPNs for connecting to other sites.

The fundamental difference with the customer’s WAN topology is that there is no reason to firewall the branches’ uplinks to the datacenter. Further the datacenter can NOT be firewalled when reaching the branch. Similarly NAT (network address translation) breaks the organization’s access to each respective site.

Finally the point-to-point links, or the private MPLS, costs per megabyte are magnitudes higher than the cost per megabyte for broadband.

Our solution replaces the routers with firewalls but circumvents the firewall features for the inter-site traffic. Further, the design allows the customer a future transition to the far less expensive broadband without the purchase of any equipment.

The problem with the design is that Meraki MXs are managed thru the Meraki cloud, they call it their “Dashboard“. The MX will only connect with the Dashboard over a WAN interface that is both firewalled and NAT’d. But we cant have the uplink traffic inspected nor manipulated.

In our solution we proposed two options:

  1. NAT Exemption” & firewall whitelist
  2. A dedicated link for Dashboard access

The problem with the NAT Exemption feature is that it is not fully supported by the vendor, Meraki. It has been in BETA testing for over two years.

The problem with the dedicated link for Dashboard access is that the Telco equipment may not have the extra port. Or the Telco may not provision more than a single port for the customer.

It remains to be seen which way this cookie crumbles when the customer weighs in. While both options have their associated risks, the design process and considerations were a good exercise.

Which way would you go if you were responsible for the environment after the IT consultant walked away?

Public WiFi for your Business

Business WiFi

Customers using WiFi at retail business spend 23% more and increase visit frequency by 19% when compared to customers that do not connect to WiFi. Customer spend and frequency rates decrease even more when businesses are in cellular dead zones.

Retail business providing WiFi service to customers see 28% more customer loyalty when compared to their competitors that do not provide customer access to WiFi.

Retail businesses see an increase in customer spend and loyalty within 10-days of a new WIFi implementation. Public signage of WiFi service increases foot traffic. Menu mentions of WiFi increases customer loyalty as well as improves labor efficiency.

Public WiFi and Hotspots are the single most exploited target for business cybercrime and customer identity theft. Savvy customers will know if WiFi is in-secure and will not use, circumvent systems and exploit access.

Everyday Edgebrook WiFi leverages all these benefits and eliminates the risks.

Your Edgebrook WiFi Customers will have easy one-click, reliable access to spend more time and return more frequently – because they know they are secure from cyber threats and identity theft. No passwords getting to the wrong people and no need to routinely change passwords.

Your business systems are secure against threats from customers and the Internet. Protecting your business operations and point-of-sale for your PCI compliance.

Features:

  1. All your customers will recognize familiar networks and logos from other community businesses
  2. Customer access click-thru sign-on – no password needed, still secure
  3. No upfront costs (AT&T/Comcast service is required)
    1. Equipment financing, maintenance and on-going support available for low monthly charges (bartering agreements are available too)
  4. Cloud managed for
    1. quick remote support, easy changes and upgrades
    2. See who is in your store now – staff and customers from the Internet
  5. Secure all customer device traffic and isolate business operations
  6. 100% WiFi coverage across your entire store without dead zones
  7. Market your website, promotions and Facebook pages
  8. Cross marketing from participating Edgebrook businesses (coming soon)
  9. Cross promote reward/loyalty programs (coming soon)
  10. Intrusion detection and prevention – prevent cybercriminals from accessing your point of sale (PoS)
  11. Deep packet inspection – see what Internet services and mobile devices your customers use most
  12. Email alerts when new customers sign-in or when system failures occur
  13. Bolt-on services for security cameras, telephones and energy efficient lighting solutions too
  14. Control staff and customer access on an individual basis.

About Us

Kevin Benson is a professional technical Architect specializing in information security, system virtualization and networking – providing business critical solutions to the countries fortune-1000 customers.

Kevin has always been a native Chicagoan, and a Sauganash resident for 12-years. Kevin supports the community and local business, and is passionate about technology. It is for this reason that he offers to work for community businesses on a freelance basis and accepts barter in trade for these valuable services. Kevin freelances under the company name of Bugs Byte (www.bugsbyte.com)

Voice over IP solutions for the SMB

Converged network, those that provide voice along side data, have been around for a long time now. So long that they’ve evolved a few times over. It used to be that technologies were developed to allow data to ride on top of voice networks – think fax, dial-up modems & ADSL. Then later voice to be managed on the data network – think VoIP & Skype. And now in its newest iteration of it doesn’t matter – just plug it in.

The latest incarnation is the cloud hosted voice services. In this era its no longer about slow or low quality transmissions, nor is it about expensive gear, proprietary systems and complicated networking. Now its only about getting connected – give me an IP address and a gateway and you’ll get a feature rich high quality telephone service for your home or you international enterprise.

Bugs Byte has supported enterprise VoIP solutions from Cisco UCS and ShoreTel. However these solutions are out of reach for many of today’s small business. However the VoIP solutions making headlines today will scale very well to the enterprise, the corporations entrenched in these high end solutions have enjoyed reliable and uninterrupted voice service for a long time on their platforms. In the mean time hosted VoIP will continue to dominate in the SMB space until they’re proven to scale and enterprises begin to trim their voice and telco budgets.

8×8

8×8 provides hosted VoIP service to desk sets as well as soft-phones for computes and mobile devices. The solution is resold by many value added re-sellers around the world for a full service solution. However, it can also be setup and managed by a companies IT staff. 8×8 is a very cost competitive solutions however is not as well marketed to the retail consumer as its competition on account of the channel programs offered to its re-sellers.

In our experience we’ve found 8×8 to have a more reliable product and the best support. The management portals and features will allow self-service administration for any situation – but the interface is not intuitive enough for someone that isn’t routinely working in the portals. While the interface is not very intuitive – neither is that of its competition. So compared to par, its better than most.

See upcoming posts for RingCentral & MegaPath in future posts.

We’d like to evaluate solutions from Vonage, Meraki and Ubiquiti if we can get demos from them.

Ubiquiti Unifi Software Defined Networking

Ubiquiti provides a stack of IT solutions to the prosumer (Professional Consumer) and the small to medium sized business. Ubiquiti stack of solutions offers networking (Unifi), video and voice, all with software management and cloud integration.

Bugs Byte has just delivered a solution from Ubiquiti for Dayton Place. In this deployment Dayton Place can now have complete visibility to their internal network and video security from anywhere with Internet access.

Management

The Ubquiti Cloud Key is at the heart of the Ubiquiti Unifi solution to software defined networking (SDN). The Cloud Key is the local software that ties in the management of the entire Unifi solution – including wireless, connectivity, security and monitoring. The Cloud Key software can be installed on any computer (Window, Mac and Linux); however, is also sold as a PoE powered appliance needing only connected by one port to a PoE switch. With properly configured network and security settings, a Cloud Key can reside on any connected network and manage equipment at remote Internet connected sites. Once the Cloud Key is paired up with a Unifi cloud account, all of its management and monitoring features are accessible in the cloud.

All of the Ubiquiti services, video, voice and networking, are available to be installed on computers of various operating systems (PC, Mac etc.), but also provide decentralized management through apps for IOS and Android (sorry BlackBerry). In the Dayton Place application the Cloud Key and Network Video Recorder (NVR) appliances were selected  for their relative low cost and compatibility when comparing to Windows/Intel implementation.

The Cloud Key when connected to a Unifi account enables cloud access to settings, monitoring and firmware updates for WiFi, ethernet and firewall equipment.

Wireless

Ubiquiti Access points (UAP) were installed to provide up to four independant SSIDs each. Ubiquiti offers a range of wireless access points (WAP) in two distinct applications. The range of coverages offered start with the residential customer in homes and scale up to the wireless fiber for line-of-site connection between distant buildings. Applications include conventional ceiling and wall mount as well as an innovative recepticle design. The receptical design replaces a convential ethernet wall jack with with and all-in-one PoE powered WAP and RJ45 jack with PoE pass-thru.

During this process it was learned that the UAPs required a legacy version of PoE (24-volt passive) that is not supported by current Ubiquiti switches. in essence, current PoE standards (802.11at) incorporate a power negotiation between the device providing the power and the device consuming it. While some lines of Ubiquiti switches have maintained support for legacy PoE, Ubuquiti has committed to phasing it out entirely. In the mean time, the legacy PoE is available with the in-box PoE injector as well as in-line converters from the current standards to the legacy. Using the converters will allow remote power cycling devices via the switch port management where as the injector will require hands-on effort.

The current WiFi implementation provides conventional password protected (WPA-PSK) access to WiFi. Additionally the solution does offer custom portals, walled gardens, hot spots and other guest access features.

This solution is planned to segment SSIDs for each tenant/guest as well as to implement guest services feature for transient use without needing to provide a password.

Broadband

Dayton Place is serviced by RCN cable internet broadband for its internet up-link. The service installed includes 155Mb download and 25Mb upload with a dynamically assigned IP address.

The Arris Gateway was provided by RCN and set to bridged mode. This will pass expose any downstream device to public Internet. In this mode the all routing, NATing and firwall functions can be handed off to the downstream device – Ubiquiti Secure Gateway in this case.

An unexpected condition occurred with this particular Arris gateway once set to bridge mode – The WiFi remained enabled but now handed out public IP addresses to wireless clients. And there is evidence that settings for dynamic DNS (DDNS) were retained after factory reset and despite bridge mode.

The gateway is planned to be replaced with a customer owned device in order for a 4-month return on investment (ROI).

… See more about the video, switch and firewall implementations in the next post.