Need for Speed
Executives never make mistakes. Well, (as Gilbert and Sullivan put it), “hardly ever.” As a networking consultant working with a wide variety of organizations, I’ve seen a few technically challenging situations that originated at the C-level. The causes: too much or too little involvement in the network technology.
Vendor marketing and sales always make new features and technology appear to be The Next Big Thing, something you have to have. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Good vendors listen to their customers, especially the executive decision-makers, and try to address the needs they hear. That is, they’re going to be telling you what you want to hear. And if you just give them enough dollars, their shiny new solution will solve all your problems. Agile deployment? No problem, they’ve got it! Lower total cost of ownership? Can do!
What can get lost is a discussion of timing, risk, and maturity of the product. New technologies inherently have risk due to immaturity and bugs. There are also usually negative aspects of a proposed solution that the vendor doesn’t mention. Questions to consider asking during a vendor presentation: “What are they not mentioning? Are there hidden costs?”
The right timing is important concerning the risks and maturity of new technology. Your organization’s staff skills and normal workload are one factor to consider. The organization’s tolerance for, and ability cope with, risk and product immaturity and bugs is another factor.
That’s where executive involvement comes in. Here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” for executives for selecting new technology and managing installations:
Here are some concrete examples where one of the above action items did not take place:
Things that can help:
When we do a design, we strive to understand your business requirements, including level of simplicity or complexity. We also try for balance across technology areas, so that no one area bears a heavy burden for the choice made in another area.
For more information about the business value of technically simple, elegant networks, read our Fact Sheet on infrastructure deployment.
Comments are welcome, both in agreement or informative disagreement with the above, and especially good questions to ask the NFD9 vendors! Thanks in advance!
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Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.
Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.
John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services. Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.
He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.