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The Spiceworks Review: What the new year will bring for network admins

Our monthly roundup of the most interesting discussions on the industry’s popular discussion forum, including security threats, the IoT and more

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As the year came to a close, Spiceworks community members had a lot more on their minds than sugarplums dancing in their heads — from upcoming projects to tech trends for 2015.

December had many thinking about projects for the year ahead, from switching networks, virtualizing servers and expanding wireless access to updating their IT certifications.

Such projects, however, can be challenging, especially if budget is an issue. As Nick42, a CIO and vice-president of IT, pointed out, he’d like to “saddle up and drive a herd of cats across the valley before spring arrives.” Once that project is completed, he’ll turn his wandering gaze to simplifying internal operations through consolidation and flattening.

Tech trends

It was also a time for predicting tech trends for the coming year. Spiceworks’ Brittany shared VM predictions for 2015 from CommVault’s Robbie Wright: that hybrid cloud environments will become the norm, VM sprawl issues will disappear and 2015 will the year of analytics.

VM sprawl was definitely a talking point in 2014, as many IT departments were dealing with growing VM environments without having a strategy around sprawl and retirement,” he said. “We’ve come a long way (in 2014), and in 2015, we predict VM sprawl solutions will be more evident for IT admins and managers.”

And Spiceworks member Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4, shared his top 10 IT security predictions for 2015 in light of the recent Sony hack, which he says is a harbinger for more nation-state attacks on private-sector organizations.

“We have not seen the end of POS attacks, but since retailers are going to harden the POS endpoints, cyber heists will move to ‘middle layer’ targets, which means payment processors and third-party POS management infrastructure,” he said.

Sjouwerman also expects the Internet of Things will grow 30 per cent and one of these devices with get infected with ransomware, demanding Bitcoin micropayments.

Challenges ahead

This may sound dramatic, but it brings up another issue that IT pros face: With more and more devices connecting to the Internet, what should IT support in this new age of IoT? It’s an issue that more IT pros will face in the coming year.

Geekcrazy, who provides help desk tech in transportation, was looking for advice to get over his phobia of supporting non-standard devices in the workplace.

Many Spiceworks members, however, say that if it runs on electricity, they support it — even if it runs outside the scope of traditional IT.

As IT director Ted-MS points out, in a single day he built a new VM, looked at a user’s Android phone, spent an hour on the phone helping a remote user figure out their home network and reset a GFI for the Christmas lights that tripped from the rain.

Network admin RumRaisin advises that, “if your company does not have (a) defined scope of what is and what is not supported (I don’t think many do), it’s time to have a chat with your manager/team lead and figure out some boundaries.”

Just for fun

And just for fun, Spiceworks ran a timeline (created by Stephen Foskett) of the data centre’s history and evolution from the 1940s to present day — made entirely out of Lego.

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