Technology Infrastructure Essay
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Information Technology Infrastructure is the integrated framework upon which networks operate. The infrastructure is the physical hardware used to interconnect computers and users or in some cases it is viewed as everything that supports the flow and processing of information, the transmission media, which includes telephone and cable television lines and also the routers, repeaters and other devices that control transmission paths.
The software used to send, receive and manage the signals that are transmitted is also part of the infrastructure and should be managed and designed accordingly in other to have an effective network.
In this final paper I will assess, compile, update and synthesize all the information that I have collected throughout the 10 weeks. A proposal will then be written to address some problems and deficiencies which were uncovered in the network and what my proposed solution is.
Part 1: Network Assessment The network that I have been characterizing is a small local area network for an Accounting firm in downtown Manhattan.
The network will be made up of 14 workstations where 8 will be used for invoice billing, 1 for the manager, 2 for the IT department, 1 for reception the 2 others will be left unused just in case employees from other offices are there on business and need to access work related files. The LAN is being designed with the hope of expansion to another floor in the coming months so provision is made with this in mind.
Considering the size of the organization I chose to design a LAN because of it is cost effective, because of the connectivity and communication which allows users to communicate be email with each other, Data Sharing lets the networked computers share data with each other and because Data Security and Management allows the administrator to manage the data better. I also kept in mind that instead of installing software and updates to each individual computer the software can be uploaded to the entire network and dispatched to all computers on said network eliminating time and expenses.
Designing this network called for effective Information Technology planning which is a key ingredient in achieving strategic business success when implanting a network or any type of information technology infrastructure. Because the network is comprised of 10 workstations and the manger as well as the CEO will be using laptops I have chosen to use fiber optic instead of regular cable especially due to the amount of noise present in cable communication media with a DSL / Digital Subscriber Line internet connection while incorporating wireless service for laptops and visiting employees as well as those who work from home.
Though Fiber-optic seem to be a bit pricy my decision to go with Laser Fiber Optic was based the company needing the computers to be up and running all day and making sure that the lines are secured. Secondly because the company is thinking of expanding to another floor we need the transmission range to maximize, so 100 kilometers as far as transmission range is important. The only other alternative media that I would consider is the thick coaxial cable but we would need to incorporate the use of repeaters after a 100meters when the company is ready to expand.
The main issue to consider is how secure this line is which is the reason why Fiber-optic would be the most trusted and efficient. My third reasoning behind choosing fiber again is the potential noise issues which could slow down the network and cause disturbances. Two specific points where I think noise will be present are when employees are working from home trying to connect through the VPN connection in windows XP there can be attenuation issues which is loss of signal strength. The VPN connections allow window XP clients to connect to a VPN remote access server by using PPTP and LT2P network protocols.
Secondly with the wireless network infrastructure implemented if too many users are trying to use the same channel (not enough bandwidth to go around) and the adapter settings are not done properly then there are bound to be interruptions with the data transmission, any form of signal issue is a potential for noise. My recommendation to eliminate this issue would be keeping the routers in an area central to the rest of the devices that will be connecting and changing the wireless channel on the router associated with the wireless connection.
The key devices needed to put the network together are 2 servers, (one will be used for backup although we are using cloud computing) CAT6 cable, 2 wireless routers / wireless switches, a network adapter and a repeater. All these devices together links up all the local and remote network segments with each other to make data communication flow better. Because of the size of the network there are a number of peripheral, devices applications and data that will be shared by users on the network.
Some of the peripheral devices include the router and modem which will be used to connect all the computers, the printers and copiers, scanners for scanning documents and file and folder sharing. Some of the application software shared will be emails, internet and the web browser. Everyone on the network will also share the same operating system which will be windows 7. The document sharing will be shared among the users on the same network because they all will be connected to the main server.
When updates need to be made it won’t be sent to individual computers instead it will be sent through the network and server so all computers are updated automatically. Although a license has to be purchased for every user who is using the software on their individual computers everyone will be able to share and use the same program or software on the network as long as they are connected. Because of the partial wireless nature of the network, there are a number of protocols with needed to be implemented.
The two protocols that are implemented are PPPoE and PPP. PPPoE stands for Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet and PPP stands for Point to Point Protocol which is a member of the TCP/IP suite of network protocols. PPP is usually used over serial communications like dial-up modem connections. The advancement of technology has brought hackers and cyber-attack at an all-time high, so securing the network deemed a bit challenging especially due to the wireless part which possess security and technical challenges.
Some of the security issues include viruses, worms, denial or service, hackers and the list goes on. To secure the data on the LAN I will be implementing Data Encryption Standard which is a commonly used encryption method used to send and receive secure transactions. To avoid and intercept viruses and worms I implemented an antivirus called the Symantec Endpoint Protection. Symantec Endpoint Protection offers great performance and support for virtual environments; antivirus scans are reduced because of layering technologies like insight which lowers the risk of cyber criminals.
The third form of security that I have implemented is the use of a firewall. A firewall is a system or combination of systems that supports an access control between two networks so in this case it would be between my LAN and the WAN which is the World Wide Web. A firewall limits users on the internet from accessing certain portions of a corporate network and can limit internal users from accessing various parts of the internet. This is where access control would play a part. Firewalls come in two basic types, packet filters and proxy servers.
Packet filters examines all incoming and outgoing transmissions and filter out those transmissions that are deemed illegal. Proxy’s on the other hand are computers running at the entrance to a computer network and acting as a gatekeeper. Finally because of the wireless part of my network I will need to make sure that there is wireless security implemented by making sure that a password is used to long in. The use of WAP (Wi-Fi Protected Access) will be used as the encryption key to keep the wireless segment protected and secured.
In relation to physical security I recommend always locking up the server rooms, turning them off will save on power but won’t avoid unauthorized persons from tampering, ensuring that there are good locks on the server door is crucial. Secondly disconnecting and removing computers that are not being used and locking them up is a way to prevent hackers from accessing unsecured computers that are connected to the network. Employees who are out to lunch should also lock their computer to avoid the fellow employee from accessing files that they are not authorized to see.
The third physical security option is disabling the drives; If you want to prevent your employees from copying information to a removable media disabling or removing floppy drives, USB ports and any means of connecting to external drives is important. Disk locks can be inserted into floppy drives on the computers that are restricted. The forth physical security I would install is a backup server, not at the current location but somewhere away from the office.
In case there is a fire in any of the office or someone messes with any of the computers, the files will be stored at a secure location outside of any of the offices that the company in question has. Network security starts at the physical level, having firewalls won’t deter an intruder who is able to gain physical access to your network and computers’ so locking up well is the key. Although every aspect of the network was addressed there were some issues that came up towards the end of the project right when the company was about to lunch the new system.
The 2 deficiencies that came up were related to the hardware which was associated with the physical structure of the network as well as performance issues. Part B: Proposal Document Project Justification: The LAN has the potential to be a great network because it has the potential of expanding into a WAN, so to address the problems which were just discovered I have put together a proposal which is guaranteed to eliminate the hardware and performance issues associated with the connection on the network.
It is important that the hardware issues which includes the printers, telephone lines and VPN connectors are dealt with before the new network is completely lunched because not only is invoicing done for clients in the New York, but the office in Tokyo needs to access the same files and need to be able to send documents to the printer/ fax machines with no encumbrance. The current infrastructure’s VPN connection was not configured correctly so during testing it was brought to my knowledge that anyone who would be working from home would have issues getting a connection.
Secondly with the installation of the VoIP telephones we realized that the connection was not clear and any long distance calls which went over 5 minutes would be disconnected. The performance issues which had been a problem from conception stemmed from me not taking into consideration the applications that were going to run on the network and the use of a hub instead of a switch.