From Ops to Sales

It’s been about nine months since I made the jump from an operational role to a sales role. I have been in operational roles my entire career, so it was a different direction moving into a Systems Architect role at Cisco. These months have flown by and its been great to see the other side. If you are thinking about making the move from ops to a sales role but are unsure of what to expect, keep on reading. I’ll be diving in to some of the myths I’ve heard. Continue reading “From Ops to Sales”

MFA All Things: Infrastructure

By now you should know that username and Password123 are not enough to protect access to your data. Even creating a complex password or a pass-phrase (which you should do) might not help you when your info gets dumped out on the internet from the latest data breach. Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) can help add another layer of verification to make sure you really are the person who is going to access a resource and not just someone who knows a username and password. In this entry, we will use Duo as our MFA solution with Cisco ISE configured for Device Management to verify who I am when I try to login to a network switch. Continue reading “MFA All Things: Infrastructure”

Device Management with Cisco ISE

Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) allows network and security teams to implement policy enforcement and weave in network access control in an automated fashion. ISE provides the visibility to allow intelligent decision making that gives administrators granular control. This granular control serves as a benefit when it comes to managing devices. What does Device Management look like with ISE? How do we utilize TACACS+ based AAA to give administrators granular control? This blog entry will dive into those details. Continue reading “Device Management with Cisco ISE”

The Career Change

We make choices everyday. Some of the choices are simple. Do I wear pajama pants or jeans today? Am I having breakfast? Do I want coffee? Whether it is a yes or no, those choices are not life changing. However, once in a while there are more complex choices to make. Do I want to move to a different company? Is it time for a career change? Those questions are not easily answered. They require thought. Big changes impact your life. They can impact your family’s lives. Wanting to grow and wanting more led me to ask those questions. The answers led me to a change from a life in operations into a sales role. Continue reading “The Career Change”

Simple Cisco FMC Upgrades

I’ve only recently started diving a bit deeper into Cisco Firepower. I’ve heard some mixed reviews regarding using and upgrading Firepower Management Center and the FTDs. Some have had decent luck while others seem to run into issues. As I have an FMC that is non-production (for now), I’ve decided to upgrade it to the latest version and find out for myself how difficult these upgrades are. I’ll also need to head into version 6.7 for some SAML capabilities on the FTDs. One factor you should look for when deciding to use certain products is how easy it is to maintain them. Continue reading “Simple Cisco FMC Upgrades”

Firepower, ISE, and Duo: VPN Config

When it comes to a user’s Remote Access, Cisco’s AnyConnect has been a leader. It just works. That has been my experience as a user. That experience is also consistent for a user if their remote connection has a headend of an ASA or Firepower. However, one thing to note is that the backend administration and setup of Remote Access is different between the two. The ASA’s Remote Access setup has many bells and whistles that Firepower does not, but Firepower’s setup is pretty simple. We’re going to be setting up Remote Access using Firepower, but we are also going to leverage the Cisco Identity Services Engine for authorization policies as well as Cisco Duo for that extra layer of Multi-Factor Authentication protection. Continue reading “Firepower, ISE, and Duo: VPN Config”

Engineering Our Qualities

What is the most important thing you need to learn about in order to succeed in your IT career? Is it mastering a certain system? Is it programming like an expert? Is it creating the best disaster recovery plan? Maybe. Those can be individual accomplishments that can help open doors. However, once you have your foot in the door, how do you maintain a presence that can continue to elevate you in the workplace? It’s great to know everything, but if your attitude stinks your value drops. I put much more value on those humble techs and engineers who try their best, have good attitudes, and are there when their colleagues need them. It’s tough to show those qualities on paper, but they do get noticed by good leadership. I am going to bring up a few qualities that I believe are important to have for anyone that wants to shine in their role. Continue reading “Engineering Our Qualities”

Adventures in Troubleshooting: Chapter 1

To quote the late Bob Ross, “It’s hard to see things when you are too close. Take a step back and look.” When you are in the middle of those early morning troubleshooting sessions, it can be easy to panic. First, you are dealing with being woken up abruptly; everything is fuzzy. Then the person on the other end of the line might not be able to explain exactly what is happening. This combination usually leads to some fun times, sarcastically speaking. The best advice is to take that step back and look at the overall picture. No matter what your troubleshooting approach might be, the goal is to have one. The worst thing you can do is aimlessly wander around hoping to bump into the solution. In this entry I will dig into my mental ticket system of random issues I’ve ran into over the years, pull out three, and cover how those issues were resolved. Continue reading “Adventures in Troubleshooting: Chapter 1”

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