IT Hardware and Software Lifecycle

There is a lot of confusion on how vendors retire their IT solutions. I’m going to try to clear up some of that confusion. The focus here is the IT hardware lifecycle, but many times software vendors follow a similar pattern.

First, let’s use some precise terms. I hear/read “EOS” all the time. Does EOS mean End of Sale? Or does it mean End of Support? As you’re going to read here, those two terms mean very different things. I also don’t like EOL, End of Life. Does a product go EOL when it stops being sold, or when it stops being supported? Again, two very different dates. When life ends is a sensitive subject, far too deep for IT hardware and software. If it isn’t clear what is being referenced, End of Sale or End of Support, you may end up SOL. I’ll use very clear terms in this article. Let’s get started.

With almost all vendors the product lifecycle process goes like this.

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Technology Vendor Special Discounts

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Many times IT vendors will offer special discounts at the end of the month, quarter or year. They offer these discounts with a deadline. But is that deadline real? Why would they sell it for $x,xxx in December and not sell it for the same price in January? If you put enough pressure on them in January for the same year-end price, they’ll give in, right? Actually, many times that is wrong, the special discount really does expire.

There are a few reasons that vendors will not honor special discounts after the deadline has passed.

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Spear Phishers are Winning, Here is a Real Example

Please be aware, the spear phishers are getting even more crafty and almost impossible to stop. One of our clients just lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in a spear phishing wire fraud attack that used this technique. Here is how they do it:

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The Three Legs of Cyber Security

For nearly 10 years I’ve been using The Great Wall of China as a way to illustrate the three legs of IT security. I explain how security is a three-legged stool and the Great Wall shows this in perfect detail. The analogy has been useful with my conversations with both technical and non-technical IT professionals and students. I hope you find it helpful with developing your own total security plan and/or explaining this complex subject to others.

Cyber/IT security is an ever evolving cat and mouse game that challenges all of us, at home and at work. However, there are some fundamentals that don’t change. Defense in depth, policy with enforcement, and the three legs of security are examples. By focusing on the fundamentals, and allowing the fundamentals to drive your decisions, you will be able to get through all the noise, buzz, hype, etc. around IT security. There are no magic bullets, focus on the fundamentals and not the next new shinny object.

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MSIS Sponsored Capstone Projects

You may know I’m now running the Sponsored Capstone Projects at the University of Utah.  What you may not know is this could be of value to your organization.

One of my responsibilities is to bring new projects to my students. This means I can help organizations get important, but unbudgeted, projects done. These are graduate IS students with an average of 5 years work experience. A project team can complete projects that require hundreds of man hours. But these are not “free” projects to the sponsoring organization. While there is no hard dollar cost today, we do require sponsors allocate staff resources to interface with our project team as well as executive sponsorship. In some cases, software or cloud services are needed and provided by the sponsor (ownership retained by sponsor after project is completed).

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The Triple Threat – A High Caliber Resume

Triple Threat

Many of my students ask what employers are looking for when they hire IT staff. I offer them what I look for when hiring and will share that with you. The focus here is education, not personality and other “soft skills”. I believe this would apply to most any professional career path, not just IT.

I look for the “triple threat” for education and experience. I rarely get all three. Someone with all three is usually too expensive for a smaller company like mine… or they have started their own company. Hint, hint, those that have all three are very successful in my experience. But two out of three ain’t bad.

Here are the three things I look for, and why.



Holding a college degree is the first thing I look for. And earning the actual degree is very important. I don’t think it helps you to say “I was only 10 credits short…” No matter the reason you didn’t cross the finish line, it shows you didn’t complete something very important. What important things will you *almost* finish working in my company?

The thing that a college degree gives a prospective employee is a wide vision. A degree from a university shows you the world, a mile wide and an inch deep. When you graduate you know what you don’t know… and you know how to do research and find answers. Too many employers think someone graduating with a degree from a university is a professional and should graduate knowing how to do their specific job. But that is not what a university does. If you want someone who knows how to do a specific task, hire someone from a tech or trade school. But if you want someone with a more well-rounded education, grab a university graduate. All degrees are valuable, it just depends on the type of position you are trying to fill.


The next thing I look for is industry certifications. Most every professional career track has certifications and the IT field is ripe with them. And actually take the proctored exam(s) and get the certification. I’ve seen too many resumes with something like “took Microsoft Certified Professional class” but they didn’t get the cert. Once again, finish what you start.

Industry certifications offer a more focused education, perhaps 100 yards wide and a couple feet deep. You learn about specific technologies, skills and/or products. And then you must prove what you learned with proctored certification exams. It also shows you are willing to go above and beyond. Certifications will set you apart from the other people applying for the same job.


Finally, I look at work experience. Working 40+ hours a week on a particular project gives you a deep understanding. An inch wide but a mile deep. And even if your work experience is in a different field, if you were successful and lasted years at a job, it at least shows you have a solid work ethic. Don’t job hop, when I see someone with a bunch of jobs that didn’t last much more than a year I start to worry. Most employers will put up with a bad hire for about a year (I’m guilty of this). On the other hand, when I see someone lasted for years at a particular organization, I know they must have done a good job and isn’t unbearable to work with.

So, are you a single, double or triple threat? If you are a single threat, you might need to add one more. Getting ready to graduate but don’t have much work experience? Go get a certification or two. Have great work experience but no certifications or degrees? Well, you can figure it out. Once again, two out of three ain’t bad… but one out of three might not compete well in today’s job market.


Five Ways That Small & Medium Sized Businesses Benefit from Shared Storage

Author: Dave Norwood

1) No Stranded Storage

Normally, if you have three or four different servers, each server has its own direct attached storage, literally— drives plugged right into the server, or a shelf hanging off the server. Server A could have all kinds of free space, and server B could be plumb full— it doesn’t matter, they’re independent, they can’t share storage. Continue reading

Five Ways That Retail Benefits from WiFi

Author: Dave Norwood

1. Advertising

With current Wi-Fi technologies we can actually detect where someone is within a store, or mall. For example, when they’re walking by the Apple Store we can, if they’re using the mall Wi-Fi, have a pop up ad that reads, “For the next 30 minutes there’s a 20% off sale on iPads,” or “There’s no waiting at the Genius Bar.” Continue reading

Fast Five Ways That Healthcare Benefits from VDI

Author: Dave Norwood

1. Roaming Desktops

Roaming desktops are the idea of being able to connect to your desktop from any device, from anywhere. So, in a VDI (Virtual desktop Infrastructure) environment, the desktop is running as a virtual machine in the data center. When a user accesses that desktop, they’re using any mobile device with a screen and a keyboard, whether it’s a hard keyboard or virtual keyboard, to remote control that desktop in the data center. Continue reading

TNS Fast Five Tips: Five Ways That Financial Institutions Benefit from Next Generation Firewalls

Author: Dave Norwood

1. Granular Application Control

This refers to the ability to do more than simply block a website or block an application from a website or an application server, but actually understand the application and block the functions within that application. Similar to a dimmer switch, the settings can be turned up or down. Continue reading