Fear of Missing Out... Do you have it in the office?

I think I am missing out at work!

By Crystal Johnston - February 16, 2018

We have all been there, overhearing a coworker talk about a girls night out, or not knowing that there was an office happy hour that you weren’t invited to, but does that actually affect your working environment? It is harder now than ever to disassociate work from personal life, and it makes it even harder when FOMO kicks in at the office. How do we overcome this Fear of Missing Out when it come to our colleagues?
1. I am just not getting invited
                It is true, you won’t get invited to every gathering, but when it seems to be a regular occurrence, have you looked into as why? “Everybody has a need for social approval. It’s the basis of our human functioning.” This was stated by Marie Mitchell, co-author of the research and professor of Managements at UGA. When this social approval becomes a basis of acceptance in the work place, employees can start to feel disconnected and unappreciated within their working environment. This effect of being excluded can cause a detrimental effect on employees and their thoughts of workplace acceptance.
                Have you ever considered why you are not invited? Is it intentional that you are not included in employee gatherings or is it your perception that you are not being invited out with the guys for a beer? Maybe you have placed an invisible wall up that makes it difficult to be invited to external gatherings? These questions need to be asked in order to really dive into why exclusions may be affecting you in the work place.
2. I want to go, but I say no because I am so busy
                Have you caught yourself saying “No” before you were even invited? Face it, we live very busy lives and a little spontaneity can be overwhelming. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that people spend around 30 minutes a day socializing and communicating, that’s not a lot of time. Since it is only 30 minutes, that time becomes quite valuable. So, that happy hour after work may be more time than you want to dedicate because you treasure your “disconnection time”.
3. I don’t think I am accepted at work.
                Since humans by nature work off of acceptance, it is hard to be “OK” with the fact that we are not invited to every gathering or outing, but how do we cope? It is completely ok to feel negative about not being included, what is detrimental is holding onto those emotions as fact, verses a short time emotional feeling. Create an element of awareness that these feeling are occurring; these feelings do not have to dictate your future interaction with your coworkers. Just because the invite didn’t come through does not mean that you are not accepted, it just means that the invite didn’t come through. Don’t hold onto those negative emotions.
4. I know that they are intentionally leaving me out!
                Do you really believe that your coworkers are intentionally leaving you out of gatherings? Have you tried asking them, or even inviting yourself? We, as people, are GREAT at assuming situations that are occurring instead of finding true reasoning behind situations. Investigate further as to why you are being excluded. Biggest thing you can do is refrain from obsession over believing it is an intentional act. Easier said than done, but rise above these actions as they will cause a resentment in the workplace.
5. They are just trying to bully me and push me out.
                If this is the case, then why are you still there? Work isn’t always the most prime location to make friends, because you are there to work. If your work is now being interfered by a colleague who is intentionally bullying you, get out. Sometimes it is as simple of moving to a different part of the office, or speaking to a trusted authority of the organization. If you feel that you are intentionally being left out because of a bully, you need to speak up.
6. I just want to be a part of the group!
                You are the only one who will change your situation, so why not take action. Start making your own plans and inviting others to them, don’t wait for the invitation to come your way. Avoid being the victim and become a victor. Initiate the outings and become the host. As colleagues see you are wanting to participate more, they will be more inclined to invite you on future events!
7. I want to be a part of the popular group, they just don’t seem to like me
                The “popular” don’t see themselves as in the “in group”. They too feel disassociated and left out from time to time. Stop comparing yourself to them and take the lead. People drive towards confidence. Give yourself a reason to be in the “in crowd,” if one even exists that is.
Biggest thing, don’t let the thought of being left out get you down, you are ultimately the one who can change this feeling. Not everyone is going to be invited, this isn’t on you, this is only a situation. Let yourself take initiative and go above being the invited and become the person doing the inviting. Keep in mind, these are emotions and they will pass as long as you allow to look at them at face value.
Resources: Weeks, M. UGA Study Shows What Happens When Employees Feel Excluded at Work. 9/22/14 https://news.uga.edu/employee-exclusion-study/
Bureau of Labor and Statistics; Average hours per day spent in selected leisure and sports activities by age https://www.bls.gov/charts/american-time-use/activity-leisure.htm
Segal, Z. Three Ways Acceptance Helps You Work with Difficult Emotions 5/18/2016 https://www.mindful.org/three-ways-acceptance-helps-work-difficult-emotions/

Are Business Texts Taboo?

Welcome to the 21st Century

By Crystal Johnston - February 1, 2018

We all do it, send a quick text message to our friends and family, but is text messaging in business taboo? Sending a quick message saying you are running late or confirming receipt of a package, is it frowned upon to do this in our day to day business? 
We are in a digital world, but does that mean that we must halt our casual forms of communication just because our structure of business must be more formal? This should not be the case, we should feel comfortable enough with our associates and understand that we live in a fast-paced world, which mean a text message may be more convenient than an email or phone call.
Here’s some tips as to how texting can give you an edge within the business world.
1. Business are utilizing texting communications, why aren’t you?
Retailers are using text messaging to communicate more with their products and services. The days of cold calling and email blasting are dead. People avoid the unknown call but are way more responsive to a text message. Why not use this opportunity to break down a communication barrier?
2. Mobile is only growing, are you growing with it?
Mobile access isn’t slowing down anytime soon, in fact it is growing. With developers rushing to build a 5G network, it is time to join the mobile bandwagon. A text message is sure to get the attention of a potential client! With new mobile integrations, text messages from mobile to tablet and even to desktop, you are more likely to receive a response. 
3. Are you understanding how your customers communicate?
With Millennials creating more influence with communication methods, people are adapting to the changes. This doesn’t mean that SnapChat will become the next communication method, but it does mean that adaptation to change is imperative to growth. Understanding how your customers communicate and providing the opportunity to communicate via text as an option will give you a cutting edge.
4. Personal verses business, make sure you understand the difference.
Business text message still must remain professional. Continue to proof read your messages. Speak-to-text could kill your intended message. Be professional in a person way. Remember, just because it is a text message, it does not mean that you can interrupt personal time. Avoid texting after 5pm and on weekends, you want to build a relationship not hurt your opportunity.
5. Are you trying to sell something? DO NOT do it over text!
As we all know, we are trying to be sold on something daily! Text messages are intimate and trying to sell someone over text message creates the wrong message. Use this opportunity to build a relationship with someone verses trying to make your next sale. Let your client open the dialog for a sale opportunity, let them walk you through the potential sale.

Critical Vulnerability


By Liam Keegan - January 30, 2018

ASA Vulnerability 

There's a nasty bug out there for ASAs (Adapative Security Appliance) that have Webvpn enabled. If the command "webvpn" is present in your ASA configuration, you're vulnerable. If you're running Anyconnect for VPN, you probably do.

What is affected?

All ASAs running 8.x software or later. Also, FTD appliances that are running 6.2.2 are vulnerable.

What's the risk?

If a malicious XML file is sent to the ASA, the firewall could reload or execute arbitrary commands. There's nothing out in the wild (that anyone knows of), but assume that it's just a matter of time.

How do I fix this?

Simple! Patch early and patch often. For FTD systems, there's a hotfix out.

Where's the Cisco PSIRT link?

Right here:
Cisco ADA
As always, please reach out if you need any assistance getting this resolved.

All I want for Christmas is a new line of switches from Cisco

Check your list twice this holiday season

By Liam Keegan - December 14, 2017

It's that time. Out with the old, in with the new. Cisco has revamped one of their switch lineups. I'm going to take a minute and tell you about how things are changing, what the new options are, and what it means for your Cisco switching purchases.
The writing is on the wall for the Cisco 3650 and 3850 switches. If you're still purchasing them, know that they will be end of life (EOL) in the not-so-distant future. You'll still get five years of life with Cisco's EOL policy, but they're done. The writing isn't quite as clear on the Catalyst 4500 chassis, but if you're looking at ANY of these, we strongly suggest you look at the new product families.
Cisco's new switch lines are the Catalyst 9300, 9400 and 9500 families. Here's the summary of the new switch lines:
  • Catalyst 9300: This is the replacement for the 1U Catalyst 3650 and 3850 switches. This series has both 24 and 48-port PoE/non-PoE devices, stacking, full Layer 3, redundant power and 10/40 Gig uplinks.
  • Catalyst 9400: This is the replacement for the Catalyst 4506/4507/4510 modular switches. They come in both a 7 and 10 slot chassis, support 60W of PoE per port, and have 10 and 40G uplinks.
  • Catalyst 9500: This is a 1U 40Gig aggregation switch. Think of it as the Catalyst 4500X, only with 40G ports instead of 10G. It's designed to act as the aggregation layer for closets upon closets of 9300/9400 switches and route traffic up to a core.
The software licensing model also changed. The big news is that there is no more LAN Base. If you're looking for a LAN Base switch (Layer 2 only, no IP routing, basic features), the Catalyst 2960 series is still the way to go.
The other software feature packs have been renamed. IP Base is now "Essentials", and IP Services is now "Advantage". Essentials includes basic Layer 3 routing (OSPF routed access, static routing), and Advantage includes full OSPF/EIGRP/BGP.
Price? Generally speaking, the pricing on the newer switch modules is less expensive! Here's a comparison on a 24-port PoE switch without any expansion modules:
So, that's a plus!
Note that the new switches have a DNA subscription on them. That's Cisco's Digital Network Assistant, and is a required service that's purchased at time of order. You don't have to use it, but you do have to buy it. I'll do another write-up on exactly what DNA includes, but don't be surprised when you see it.
Happy Holidays!

Rent In the Cloud is Too Damn High: Fixing it with Docker

October 31, 2017

Rent In the Cloud is Too Damn High: Fixing it with Docker

Efficiency is the prime goal of any operation, so let's take a couple minutes and talk about how using docker to run a compute workload can be WAY