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Networking blogs: Tips for network strategies, handling tech support

Bloggers in this week's roundup advise ditching tech-specific plans for more general corporate strategies, and approaching tech support with caution.

Ditch the buzz and focus on overall network strategies

The swarm of buzzwords surrounding the next big technology can obscure the larger strategy that should be guiding your business. Plans built around lingo like "cloud" and "networking" are nice in theory, A Screw's Loose blogger Brian Katz explains, but are ultimately useless. Achieving productivity and agility as a company means pinpointing user needs and figuring out what tools can satisfy them, instead of seizing on a certain technology and wedging it into place. Katz zeroes in on mobile tech to illustrate how companies should identify the blend of devices and apps that best equips users with access to the corporate ecosystem.

Get Katz's perspective on how to approach business strategies with an eye to hyped technology.

Strategies for approaching tech support interactions

It's easy enough to follow through with a tech support engineer's every instruction when consulting a vendor's support services, but there's a caveat in each of these interactions. As a Packet Pushers post from Ethan Banks highlights, the responsibility still falls on the person tapping the keys, no matter how authoritative the instructions are on the other end of the line. Whether it's incompetent guidance from the support crew or inadequate direction on your end, any damage to the system will leave you at fault, so a cautious, even defensive approach to a support call is wise.

Read Banks' advice for dealing with tech support, from articulating problems to closing tickets.

Networking trends: Looking ahead

Five years into its operation, Jeremy Stretch's Packet Life blog offers a perspective on five major trends apt to dominate the networking sphere in the near future. The forecast encompasses the obvious and the obscure. Software-defined networking (SDN) products will continue to dominate the data center and will likely expand to the enterprise in coming years. Proprietary equivalents of OpenFlow, along the lines of Cisco's One Platform Kit, seem a probable trend. NaaS -- Network as a Service -- looks like the next big acronym to take root, as providers offer integration of network infrastructure with other cloud services. The horizon also looks bright for VMware NSX and IEEE 802.11ac.

Head over to Packet Life for Stretch's breakdown of the biggest trends in networking technologies.

For security professionals, network security outweighs server security

Security professionals have long faced the dilemma of how to distribute resources on hosts and networks, and a survey from the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) indicates the question is far from resolved. ESG analyst Jon Oltsik explains that chief information security officers have taken note that their servers are at risk for hacks and they are stepping up their security to implement tools beyond antivirus software. At the same time, rising investments in network security indicate CISOs will likely remain skewed toward more thorough network security controls. From Oltsik's perspective, the cost efficiency and performance potential of integrated network/host security technology make this route a promising one.

Read Oltsik's blog post to get the scoop on the market implications of security professionals' focuses.

Give network device batteries the boot

Keeping up with the condition of batteries in network devices is a crucial task too easily neglected, as an emphatic post from LoveMyTool's Tim O'Neill points out. Left to sit in non-active circuits, batteries become increasingly susceptible to failure and rupture. The potential fires, explosions and health problems that could result from a rupture make proper charge cycling and monitoring essential. These latent hazards also make batteries inappropriate for the professional test access point. Lose the toy tech, O'Neill advises, and opt for the more reliable option of dual-power planes connected to the network power backup (an uninterruptible power supply or generator) and the normal power supply.

Check out O'Neill's warnings and advice about batteries in the data center.

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