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”

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”

2021: Thinking Forward

Who doesn’t love to make plans and have goals? It’s January of 2021. Let’s not discuss what happened last year. Many of us accomplished different things and many of us did not. No matter what happened last year, I’d like to look forward to making plans for this year. However, making plans is not enough. Executing is what needs to happen. Sometimes our execution is derailed by many outside factors throughout the year. This will happen. I believe it is best not to thrust all of our worries on the things we cannot control. Let’s focus our energy on the what is within our reach. As a network engineer, there are a few goals I want to briefly write about. I am hoping writing it will help keep me accountable. Continue reading “2021: Thinking Forward”

Study Tips for the Time Challenged

If you are reading this, you are probably trying to study and a very important question has come up: “How do I even make time?”. I look across social media and that is one question that seems to be a concern for many of us. Whether you are studying for a certification, class or even to acquire a new skill, time must be dedicated. If you can show up at every test without taking the time to study and you ace each test, there is no need to read further. However, if you are like the rest of us who often struggle juggling work, family, and everything else that comes behind it, the next few paragraphs will hopefully provide some encouragement. Continue reading “Study Tips for the Time Challenged”

3 Things Engineers Need from Leaders

Being a manager does not make you a leader.
Now that I have your attention, I’ll dive in a little deeper. Think of it in terms of creating a meal. You can look at your pantry and see you are missing certain ingredients to your recipe. You go out to the store and purchase those ingredients. You come back and toss the ingredients in the pantry. Done! The meal has been created. Well actually, no. You have the ingredients you need, but nothing else was done. You still have to spend time putting the ingredients together, cooking the meal, making sure the taste is right, add a ton of salt and pepper, and finally serving it. It’s easy to gather the ingredients listed in a recipe, but it might not be as easy to turn that recipe into the perfect meal. It takes time and effort. The same applies to an engineering team. As a leader, or perhaps a chef, having the ingredients is not enough. In order for an engineer to grow in an environment, work must be done. Yes, some of it falls squarely on the shoulders of the engineer, but some of it comes from leadership. My goal here is to discuss three ingredients that a leader can combine that can make a difference in their team. Continue reading “3 Things Engineers Need from Leaders”

Cisco 3504 Software Upgrade

If you are an administrator in a network somewhere you probably already know an important fact: Everything needs maintenance. At one point or another you have to upgrade something. In a perfect world, we would have consistent upgrade windows and periods of time we can take down a network for maintenance. If you have that, you are a lucky person. Looking for maintenance windows might fall into the same category as spotting a UFO. Often times, bugs or vulnerabilities bring forth these needed maintenance windows. In this case, I am upgrading a 3504 controller from version 8.5.151.0 to 8.5.161.6. The reason: CSCvs89410. This bug can corrupt images on 3600 and 3700 series access points. Continue reading “Cisco 3504 Software Upgrade”

5 Tips for New Engineers

Next year will be my tenth in a network engineering role. I’ve seen team members come and go, leadership change and roles changes as well. Nothing is ever static, especially the technology. For those looking to enter a network engineering role or are simply young in their IT career, I wanted to jot down a couple of tips that I hope can help them be successful in their roles. I originally was going to make this network-centric, but honestly it applies to any type of role you might be in. Continue reading “5 Tips for New Engineers”

Image Swap: ASA to FTD

Firewalls are a necessary component in any network environment, especially in an enterprise. Take a look at your front door, would you remove it permanently? Firewalls have evolved over the years from simple gatekeepers to complex security solutions that integrate with the rest of the network. Imagine if you could program your front door to only allow people in who wore green shirts. Once inside they would only be able to walk into the living room…on a Tuesday. My own firewall journey started years back on Juniper SSG350s then onto ASA and Palo Alto. I am currently looking into Cisco’s Firepower Threat Defense (FTD). As a fan of most things Cisco (ASA CX anyone?), FTD adds visibility to the rest of the ecosystem that might include AMP, ISE and Stealthwatch. With an ASA 5512-X in hand, my mission is to replace its ASA image with FTD. Continue reading “Image Swap: ASA to FTD”

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