Thursday, March 24, 2011

Make IT smile!

So, you want to access your data centers remotely, butyou have a ton of servers from different brandsand they all have different control panels & passwords?

.....Now that you have many servers, you're IT managers are going "bananas" trying to keep everything under control!

Well, what can you do?Say hello to AccessIT®!!!

Why wait? schedule a live demo now >>

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Remote Access Management - top priority at your Data Center

Over the course of the last 5-10 years, IT organizations from the smallest of the SMB to the largest of the Enterprise have become dependent upon remote access tools to manage their servers and devices.

The problem, however, is that these tools were adopted by different groups within the organization, without a clear strategy (i.e., the Windows team adopted IP KVM and RDP, while the network team bought console servers and adopted SSH).

Over time, the vast majority of IT departments have taken on in-band (i.e., RDP, VNC, SSH) and out-of-band (PDU, KVM, console) tools, as well as the service processors (ILO, DRAC, IPMI), each with their own IP addresses, passwords, usernames and more.

Today, IT managers face the challenge in managing all of these methods of access to their critical infrastructure. They *might* have a spreadsheet with all of the pathways. Others have all of this critical information on a white board, on post its or worse, in the “head” of the administrators.

This presents major issues with operational efficiency and data center security. With regard to efficiency, using a spreadsheet (or worse) means that each time an administrator is notified of an issue, he must first locate the server/device with the issue, copy and paste the IP, password and username for the selected tool just to gain access. If the first tool is ineffectual (RDP when Windows is down), he must do the same for the 2nd tool and if, for instance, the solution is powering down the server, he must do it a 3rd time for the PDU. This is not only a slow, painstaking process, but one that opens the door to human error.

The 2nd major issue with the current state of remote access management is security. When all of the passwords, IPs and usernames to an organization’s critical infrastructure are in a spreadsheet or in someone’s head, you are just begging for trouble. These pathways allow access to the most sensitive data in an organization, but they are not currently being treated that way. To ensure the security of a data center’s servers and devices, a RAM solution that locks down this critical information must be adopted.

With Minicom's AccessIT®, a data center can drastically increase how quickly his users can access and remediate issues on their servers and devices, all while utilizing the tools and hardware currently deployed, all while improving security and locking down remote access.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Why Remote Access Management? Security and Efficiency

The benefits of remote server access

Post by Eran Kessel (VP Marketing & Products) - Years ago, the idea of operating and maintaining data centers remotely, or with “lights out” in the server room, seemed radical. Now it’s standard procedure. Why? Because of three compelling advantages:
1. Increased data security—with remote access, the data center can be secured from unwanted visitors.
2. Improved operational efficiency—with remote access, your IT staff can fix problems from their computer screen—they don’t have to be onsite. Remote access means doing more with less.
3. Better cooling/power efficiency—one of the major causes of cooling inefficiency is service staff who open doors and wander around. With remote access, server rooms are sealed tight.

Remote Access Management™: maximizing the benefits, minimizing the risks
Despite the above, many companies are not maximizing their benefits. Worse, they may have actually created new security risks. This comes from the fact that remote server access tools have been adopted gradually, one at a time, often supplied by the manufacturers of the data center’s existing equipment. To maximize the benefits of remote server access, while minimizing the risks, companies need a strategy and a dedicated software solution for Remote Access Management.

What are the new security risks?
A critical security risk lies in access management: the vast majority of organizations store their passwords, user names, IP addresses, server names and more in a single spreadsheet or homegrown database. This provides IT personnel with almost unrestricted access to security-critical data, even data that has no relevance to their tasks. Windows admins can see how to access Unix machines, network admins can see how to access servers etc. There is no benefit to this, and considerable security risk. All an employee, intern or consultant needs to do is download the spreadsheet to a flash drive, and they can carry a corporation’s secrets out of the building.

The solution: task-appropriate access
To improve corporate security, a Remote Access Management solution should limit servers and IT tools to task-appropriate access, e.g. Windows admins should be able to access Windows servers only. An admin that only require RDP access should not have access to power and KVM.

Measuring operational efficiency: resolving critical issues faster
When a server goes down, resolution speed is what matters. With a spreadsheet or custom database, speed is a problem: first, the IT admin is notified of the issue. Then they have to open the spreadsheet, locate the name of the server, and copy and paste its IP address and password and username info. Dozens of mouse clicks and many minutes can pass before a device can be found. If, for example, an attempted RDP solution fails, the operator may try a KVM fix, and the copy and paste process begins again.

Over a typical shift, the wasted minutes can add up to wasted hours of valuable work time.

The solution: a minimum 6x faster server access and resolution
Minicom compared the mouse-clicks required to access a server with RDP and a spreadsheet, vs RDP and our AccessIT dashboard.
The spreadsheet took 37 clicks simply to access a server. AccessIT software cut the number of clicks to six. And that was a best-case situation. For each service attempt—KVM, iLO, PDU—the number of clicks, and the server downtime—jumps drastically.

A proven solution: AccessIT® from Minicom
AccessIT from Minicom was designed from the ground up to meet IT managers’ mission-critical requirements for secure web-based, centralized remote access management.

AccessIT provides fast, secure, trouble-free access to every aspect of a data center’s infrastructure, and streamlines access to remote access tools such as RDP and KVM. It supports all major manufacturers of KVM switches, PDUs and console servers, and supports the industry’s leading in-band and out-of-band remote access services, including RDP, VNC, VMWare, SSH, Telnet, HP iLO, KVM IP, and any proprietary web-based or customized applications.

For complete details, and to read how major customers have deployed Minicom solutions,