Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource (primary DNS server)

This was a problem that arose on a Win7 device on a large network. No other devices were experiencing the same issue. The device was connected to the Network, as it could ping other devices and could be pinged by others. The Network Status showed an active Local Area Connection yet, there was No Internet. While troubleshooting, the device would show Internet Connection was good, but it would shortly go offline. When it showed a connectivity, there wasn’t any. Continue reading “Windows can’t communicate with the device or resource (primary DNS server)”

Mobility and Security

With so many wanting to be mobile, the question always comes up on how do I secure my laptop while on the road? Do I need to purchase additional software since I am not behind the firewall at my office? These are both key questions. If you employ a Sonicwall as your office firewall, then you are protected and do not need any additional UTM software. It does require you to take a few extra steps (and a little time) while out and about, but, once done your laptop is just as safe on the road as if you were in your office.
Thus, utilizing a Sonicwall for your office, also provides you the same security when on the road or at home.


Because, what was safe a year or so ago is no longer safe. Many of us relied on remote access programs such as PC Anywhere, Remote Admin and even Remote Desktop to connect to our computers while on the road. However, unless we have a strong username, and an even stronger password it might not be enough as the hackers know all the tricks and looking for the easy ins.

Having a VPN, usually proprietary to the MFG, coupled with strong UN/PW provides a much greater firewall against the ‘hacker’. A VPN connection not only requires a VPN sharedkey password, it requires the users UN & PW. However, the drawback to that is if your computer or laptop is stolen, then it becomes imperative to change the Shared Key immediately. The VPN also provides encryption of the data through the tunnel so if by some means the stream of data is compromised, your data is fully encrypted.

Another form of VPN, which eliminates the need for a VPN client being installed on a desktop or laptop is the SSL VPN. The SSL, short for Secure Socket Layer, is the same protection that is utilized in e-commerce and financial transactions on the web. As you hopefully know, https (vs http) is what you see (URL) when on an SSL connection. Basically it means that a secure connection (Shared Key) has been made and all traffic is encrypted. An SSL VPN connection allows the client to use any computer with web access (Internet Browser) to make a VPN connection via SSL.

Another advantage of either VPN method, is that it allow you to further secure your firewall by sealing an open port. And the less ports open, the better your odds of someone hacking in.

Say it Once, Say it a Million Times

The other day I had a referral call as they were having issues with their network and needed some quick help. Within just a few minutes of surveying their network I had my answer. I didn’t know what the problem was, or how bad it was, but I was quite sure I knew why. And it is probably one of the biggest, and equally, one of the most common problems out there.
The old adage, that the strongest chain is only as strong at it weakest link. Well, utilizing a ‘consumer’ grade router for a network and then having the wireless setup so that employees/customers can get online is a DISASTER just waiting to happen. And so it did for this client and so many others. Just cause it works at home or a friends, is by no means reason to trust it for protecting your business. Most of the time when I explain that in this scenario that any wireless user has access to your entire network they look bewildered. — Well, what else would you expect! And if you are saying “I have a password”, just as my new client stated, wake up! Think about it, now your patients, clients, employees or any of their friends now have it too. And betting bottom to dollar, it will be one of them that hacks you. Scary huh!
If you must rely on ‘consumer’ grade routers or products for your firewall protection. Then additional hardware, configuration and setup is 100% necessary if you also want to provide secure wireless. Even if it is for your employees! An unhappy employee is just as likely to give you something to remember as is your run of the mill hacker.
Your data and your network are your livelihood. Is it worth the risk. And sadly, this won’t be the last time I see it happen. No matter how many times I say it!

Where’s My Data

In the past, I maintained a backup of my primary working drive on my laptop, so that when I was mobile I had what I might need. However, I had to change my way of thinking, and operation as I feared the day that I would lose or my laptop would get stolen and all that data would be compromised. So, I had to change how I did things.

Now when I travel, I maintain no uncompromisable data on my laptop. If I do need to work on a file, or get something, it takes only a few minutes to securely connect my laptop to my network and away I go.

This same connection provides me full UTM protection as I would have from my office. The downside to this is that I have to have an internet connection and it takes a few extra minutes to get connected. The upside is, that the most I will ever lose is the laptop, and they are replaceable. Certainly a good excuse to upgrade.

So, if you are one of those mobile workers, and you keep private data on your laptop, this might be a good time to consider changing the way you do things.

Going Mobile

There is a great deal to consider when you take your office on the road. Pretty much the same issues that you have in the office, but with added problems. Security, Data Protection and UTM.

How do you protect your laptop from attacks, viruses and threats when you are mobile. What is the best means of keeping your data safe and/or out of the hands of someone else should the unthinkable happen and your laptop is lost or stolen. An how can you securely communicate with your home or office when on the road and using public hot spots and untrusted Wifis.

For those of you who currently hit the road with your laptop without addressing all of the above, hate to say it, but it is only a matter of time. And in all honesty, the chances are actually greater of something disastrous happening when you are mobile.

Utilizing a full featured firewall can provide you the peace-of-mind of being safe and secure while on the road.

The Cost Of Doing It Right!

Part of having good Managed Services network is to employ the right equipment. This goes beyond having a sophisticated router to protect your network and data. Having UPS (Uninterpretable Power Supplies) on you equipment is surely a MUST. But one thing so many people miss is all the additional hubs and switches we may have within our LAN(s). Once again, I see so many ‘consumer’ grade product out there that I shutter. These devices might be good for the home or home office, but, they can really do an injustice when mixed in a large LAN. They are like dead ends. Aside from them not being designed for ‘commercial’ use, they do nothing for helping your IT personnel in troubleshooting a problem.
Then answer is simple, Managed Switches. These are switches with a lot more brains. Let me step back and quickly define the difference between a hub and switch. A hub routes all traffic to all ports. Thus any data coming in to the hub is output on all ports. Whereas, a switch is a little smarter in that any incoming data is deciphered and the data is then placed on the proper output port. Thus, reducing the overall traffic flowing within the device. A Managed Switch is a switch that can be managed, or addressed. It has an IP similar to any other device on the LAN and can be probed for status and operation. Thus, an IT person can see if a router is up and running just like they can a workstation or server. There are many other features that can be found on a Managed Switch (Later Post), but the key is that it can be tested.
Last week countless hours were saved at one of my Managed Sites as I was able to within just a few minutes track down and resolve an issue where a number of workstations went offline. Although the device (Managed Switch) had not failed, I was able to determine that a wire was either out or bad. I ended up the former and the whole mess was cleaned up simply by pushing the the plug back in. All of this was done remotely, minimal downtime and a satisfied client who is happy I had him invest in Managed Switches.

The Doctor Is In!

The old saying is “if it ain’t broke…don’t fix it”. But, when it comes to that box that is now the heartbeat of your business fails, we go into a tail spin. And you have now stepped into the world we know so well as Break-Fix! How long and how much is always the question. And the answer is never pretty.

Is there an answer, or solution, to breaking away from this way of operation? Of course and it is called, in technical terms, Managed Services.

Can it help and benefit you? If you could monitor the status of your network and computers and address an issue before it becomes a problem – wouldn’t that be a great asset.

Don’t wait for the next meltdown to find out more.