This Week in Enterprise Tech Episode 506 Transcript
This Week in Enterprise Tech Episode 506 Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
Louis Maresca (00:00:00):
On This Week in Enterprise Tech, Mr. Brian Chee joins me on the show today. Now we've talked about how the pandemic has impacted our home networks. Are we losing control of our home devices, especially the OT ones. We'll talk about it. Plus there are plenty of organizations globally that are still managing and building infrastructure to manage their business. Now, today we have Sashi Thompson, global manager of the Harvard division of curvature. And we're gonna talk about the growing need for hardware and just what your organization needs to do to handle it definitely should. Miss it. TWIET on the set.
Brian Chee (00:00:34):
Podcasts you love from people you trust. This is TWIT.
Louis Maresca (00:00:42):
This is TWIET. This Week in Enterprise Tech episode 506 recorded August 12th, 2022. Real it hardware has curvature. This episode of this enterprise tech is brought to you by I R L an original podcast from Missoula. RL is a show for people who build AI and people who develop tech policies. Hosted by Bridget Todd. This season of IL looks at AI in real life search for IL in your podcast player. And by user way.org user way is the world's number one accessibility solution. And it's committed to enabling the fundamental human right of digital accessibility for everyone. When you're ready to make your site compliant, deciding which solution to use is easy choice to make, go to user way.org/twi 30% off your way. AI powered accessibility solution and buy it pro TV, give your team an engaging it development platform to level up their skills. Buy discounts. Start at five seats, go to itPro.tv/enterprise. Make sure to mention enterprise 30 to your designated it pro TV account executive to get 30% off or more on a business plan.
New Speaker (00:01:54):
Welcome to TWIET. This Week in Enterprise Tech. The show that is dedicated to you, the enterprise professional, the it pro, and that geek who just wants to know how this world's connected. I'm your host Louis Maresca. Your guys with the big world of the enterprise, but I can't guide you by myself. I need to bring in a professional and an expert he's net architect, the sky fiber network, expert security, plus all around tech geek. And he's Mr. Brian Chee. How are you? My friend.
Brian Chee (00:02:21):
In fact in honor of our guest, this is a ubiquity router. It's called an air cube it's designed for ISPs. So it's got all the special hooks in it. So that from a single management console, I can push configs out to it. They, the company I bought it from use while it's, this is actually pre-owned, it was actually still sealed in the wrapper. They're getting rid of 'em because these versions can only talk. I P V four on the white area network port, whereas the new ones can talk IPV six and that's getting in prepared because there's no more IPV, four address space left. So you're gonna need to play IPV six instead. So I'm gonna be playing at that and I'm gonna be using them at maker fair Orlando, which is November 5th and sixth. And it ought to be lots and lots of fun.
Louis Maresca (00:03:25):
Speaking of fun, have you have you heard of Curtis over in sin city? Has he survived black hat?
Brian Chee (00:03:32):
Well, he tells me that trying to get over the Caesars for Def con that he had some detours because the water has washed a big pile of furniture and debris out of the whole hotels into the street. Kurt is fine, so don't worry, but it's going to make it very entertaining this year is his words it's
Louis Maresca (00:03:59):
Indeed, we have to hear some of his stories when get, when he gets back. So while Curtis is galling across sin city, we get to report about the it enterprise news for the week. So let's get started, cuz there's lots going on from black hat and Def con thank you for being here, Brian. Now we'll start by digging into the impact that the pandemic has had on our homes. Have we let our maybe let down our guards since we've moved in and, and, you know, started working and living at home as well. Have we lost control of maybe all of our smart devices in our dwelling? Well, we're gonna get into that and talk about that little bit more. Plus there are plenty of organizations globally that are still managing and building their own infrastructure and managing their business. Talk with them daily and at the forefront is ensuring they can actually scale and as well as update their hardware in a more really cost effective way today we have Sagi Thompson global manager of the hardware division at curvature.
Louis Maresca (00:04:48):
And we're gonna talk about the growing need for hardware and just what your organization needs to do about it. Lots of exciting stuff. So definitely stick around. But first, like we always do. Let's go ahead and jump into this week's news blips. Now we had an entire episode on private 5g current recently, but here comes Amazon surprising, surprising us out of the gate. They have now have launched AWS private 5g question is what's their angle here. According to them, they designed the service to help companies build their own 5g networks. However, regardless of the name or the press on it, it currently only supports 4g. W wa makes me think about that. Well, what they might be looking into and what they might be actually releasing to the wild seems too early. Now, if your organization was interested in getting your foot in the door at the ground level, AWS makes it easy.
Louis Maresca (00:05:35):
You would order the hardware, including the radios and special Sims directly from AWS. Now, AWS then provides the necessary software and APIs to get you up and running integrates well with the AWS management console. So you can plan out capacity and automate things. It also works well with the services like the identity and access management offerings that are out there. It also integrates with CloudWatch, which is an observability service to provide a network health and other analytics. Now, if nothing else, it sounds intriguing for organizations who did not want to go at it alone. Right? One big thing that the new service also does is it's fully integrated in the SAS administration process with AWS managing everything on behalf of the customer, including taking on responsibility for inter interference issues among other troubleshooting tidbits relating to spectrum access. Now, when it does roll out would only be available in the us east, including Ohio and Virginia and the us west and Oregon. But they're looking to roll it out internationally very soon. Now, what does this signal? Well, the signals that if Amazon gets into the game here, it means that things are just gonna start trending in that direction. I'm curious to see where it goes.
Brian Chee (00:06:42):
All right. So I have to preface this story. I am purposely not naming names because it is still only a single social media post and it has not been confirmed, but this comes from the folks at black hat and a bunch of little birds shared a tidbit that apparently someone has forgotten. The lessons learned over many, many decades of doing trade show wifi. So the rumor was posted to social media as yet to be confirmed that someone at a major trade show was able to unplug a wifi access point, plug in a laptop and get access to the backbone for black hat. They then say they were able to get wide access to the production show network. I suspect, well, hear quite a bit more about this as the story develops and it is either confirmed or denied. Well, our co-host Heather Mo Williams relayed a tip from a friend and suggested that if you have a ruckus wifi infrastructure that you should run the command link, hyphen error, hyphen disabled space, one space, one space, zero for the config on that port.
Brian Chee (00:07:56):
If your install script, hasn't done it already. Now, what's interesting is that I found similar commands in quite a few switch operating systems. And if you're running something a little lesser you can easily achieve similar results by limiting connections to the Mac address of the access point, connected to that physical port. Well, IOP has been doing wifi for a very long time. In fact, we the first time we did it was using spectrum and it was 8 0 2 11 B as in boy and 10 Meg per second, wifi was the best we could do. We learned a lot of things about that. Not the least of which is that trade show, speakers, trade show attendees sometimes get kind of frustrated, especially if the WiFi's not working as well as it could. And the unplugged the wifi access point in hopes of getting more bandwidth to be able to access whatever they need to get. Well at this case, someone did that and they got in and I kind of question without naming the company, their provisioning process has this feature and it makes me wonder why that feature got skipped. And I'm sure we're gonna hear a lot more about it. This I believe is only a six hour old story. Take care.
Louis Maresca (00:09:30):
Now this ours Technica story is too good. Not to cover. Anytime someone can stick it to companies like Comcast. I read them. Now this one is about a network architect by the name of Jared Mo. He wanted to upgrade his home to internet, but due to monopolies and excuses by local providers, he was boxed in now. Comcast even told him it would cost $50,000 to expand the network to his house. Seems like a lot to me now, Jared was willing to actually spend $10,000 to make it happen, but that had a sticker shock from Comcast proposition, made him kinda lean to the other direction. Now, when Comcast asks you to pay three K to shut off your a hundred megabit internet connection as a business customer, I'm not surprised they would want potential new customers to pay 50 K because that's how backwards. Sometimes they run their business.
Louis Maresca (00:10:11):
But internet in rural areas is definitely not cheap, or sometimes it's not even available. And it makes sense that Jared was willing to pay and go the extra mile literally to make this all work. Now, what he did do is instead of paying the devil to expand his internet, he started his own internet provider company instead. Good for Jared. Now he was it wasn't cheap. Wasn't cheap venture here costing Jared around $145,000 going most to contracts, contractors laying the fiber, but he was able to actually curb the cost by doing some of the physical labor himself. He's able to lay two miles of fiber from his home to the cable, vaults owned by acd.net where they, he also purchased the bandwidth from them. Now don't go thinking that he, he was crazy just yet. Now some of the costs were not in VA. He actually started out by providing internet to not just himself, but to 30 other roll homes as well.
Louis Maresca (00:10:59):
Now, leading up to today, he now has 70 customers and he is looking to expand the network to 500 more properties in the near future. Good for this guy now that, that my friend is why ingenuity and capitalism wins here. Now you may be wondering how much is he charging? Well, I get this it's $55 a month for a hundred megabits per second with unlimited untapped data, but they can actually upgrade, get this for $79 a month. Hunt one gigabit per second with unlimited data Bega. Now this guy is my personal hero, and unfortunately there's a downside for Jared network equipment costs are on the rise due the inflation and supply chain issues. Now he's able to buy used equipment at renewed prices in the past for under 4k, but those costs have risen 20 K or more. Now either way. I wish good luck to Jared and his venture and that we see more and more of these types of stories in the coming years as the next generation of internet providers shape the way we do business, both folks that does it for the blips.
Louis Maresca (00:12:01):
Next up we have the news bites, but before we get to the news bites, we do have to thank a really great sponsor of This Week in Enterprise Tech. And that's I L an original podcast from Mozilla. Now, IL is a show for people who build AI and people who develop tech policies hosted by Bridget Todd. The season of IRL looks at AI in real life. Who can AI help, who can at harm? The show features fascinating conversations with people who are working to build more trustworthy AI. For example, there's an episode about how our world is mapped with AI. The data that's missing from those maps tells us much more of a story as the maps themselves. You'll hear all about the people who are working to fill those gaps and take control of the data. Now there's another episode about gig workers who depend on apps for their livelihood, looks at how they're pushing back against algorithms that control how they get paid and seeking new ways to gain power over data, to create better working conditions.
Louis Maresca (00:12:58):
Now for political junkies, there's also episodes about the role that AI plays when it comes to the spread of misinformation and hate speech around elections, a huge concern for democracies around the world. Now, I really like the season four episode, one checking out online, shopping that they talk about the hidden costs of shopping online and offline. What are you giving up? In fact, meta brown, a data scientist from Amazon is on the show and talks about what happens when you actually make a purchase online. Just actually may shock you super compelling episode. Definitely check that one out search for I L and your podcast player will also include a link in the show notes. My thanks to I L for their support of this week and enterprise tech. Well folks now, Tom, for the bites shows move vast. Now the pandemic has forced us into new norms, into different facets of our lives, right?
Louis Maresca (00:13:48):
Our homes are becoming even bigger roles in our lives, as well as you know, we're working from there, we're living from there. They catered her to more people staying home and you know, we're doing both things, right? So what this also means for homes is maybe they might be coming even more vulnerable in some ways. Well, let's talk about that as more and more people invite smart technology into their homes. I am definitely one of them guilty as charge. Now, we're also inviting tech. That's viewing, analyzing and understanding our daily lives. Now think about all the echos. You have ring doorbells, zoom applications that you're running and any other bank apps we're giving up control of different aspects, our lives to technology, right? That's where there's even more technology that may help curb the risk. Now I've used and have home gateways, home gateways are looking to actually manage some of the risk.
Louis Maresca (00:14:36):
Unfortunately, they currently only work with internet of things. Now I have worked with these on myself. I manage the server and the hardware for a lot of, pretty much all my light switches in the house, and everything is kind of managed through a gateway. Now, there also might be a light at the end of the title for outside of I T things. There's some new legislation that's coming to the table, the new E N 3 0 3 6 4 5 act is actually providing a baseline for all IOT devices. It aims to enforce a level of security. As IOT devices are actually brought to the market and developed by the cyber technical committee. It builds out guidance and examples of the application of the baseline. And beyond most recently actually encouraging a formal template to make it clear where the baseline extends or in rare cases where it doesn't apply. The first related standard addressed smartphones and was released at the end of last year. Then the next one will focus on smart door locks. That's an important one. The technical specifications will secure physical devices between the in-home network and the public network, as well as the traffic between the networks and it, which is vital to home security. I definitely know that cheaper. I wanna bring you in here because you know, you have gateways as well. I, we all use gateways is gateways really providing the first line of defense for connected devices.
Brian Chee (00:15:51):
Now, I think the first line of defense really ought to be getting away from sticking all your devices onto a single wifi network or even a wired network. Ever since I had my wake up call, actually, I heard it a little before Dan gears, keynote address at black hat in 2014, where cybersecurity is real politic was an amazing talk. And I keep referring back to it. You're go. I'm gonna sound like a broken record. The reality is, is we got to stop treating our home wifi, our home networks as a single pot. Gateways are great. But gateways are run on software that humans wrote and humans make mistakes. So wouldn't it be better if we go and separate a lot of this IOT gear from say, the kids doing their homework, or, you know, maybe getting to your home, NA take your home NAS off that same pot so that when you're doing your financials or your scanning documents that are confidential to you, that they are harder to get to.
Brian Chee (00:17:03):
Cuz remember one of the things that so many people forget I've had this conversation, even at DEFCON, the reality is, is the vast majority of the malware that's looking for stuff is looking for conversations on that local area network, you know, wifi, pineapples probes, things like that. A lot of it is just listening on the back end. So if your confidential material isn't in that same broadcast domain or same VLAN or same network, whichever one you want, then it's got less attack surface. So is the et SI security standard? Is it a good start? I think, think it's a great start. I've been involved with this conversation since, oh geez. I think 2000, maybe 2001, the standards and talking about implementing them, industrywide have been going on for a very, very long time. I got dragged into the conversation because of a whole bunch of firewall bakeoffs that I did for info world magazine.
Brian Chee (00:18:15):
And there was a lot of talk about using those and creating an organization kind of like underwriter laboratories or consumer reports where you go and rate security devices. Didn't come true at that time, but it's starting to sound like it might be happening. I certainly hear rumblings outta California about rating devices and grading them on how well they actually do protection. There's a lot of interesting things happening maybe. Right. Maybe we'll go and start talking about some of the changes in IOT communications and where these hubs are going. What do you think? Shall we go there? Yeah,
Louis Maresca (00:18:54):
I think so. Oh, I think I wanna make one, one last comment about gateways, because I think, you know, even though they are software they're they're you know, they're and they still could be vulnerable. One thing I do like about them, maybe this is false security. We talk about being complacent maybe is false security is the fact that I like the fact that all the traffic goes through them and they have more of a localized mm-hmm <affirmative> set of services. So if I want to be like notified, I don't have to go over the public internet to some remote server to get notified of something. It could be just localized here on my home network. So that data's not going anywhere, it's just kind of being populated on my home network. Like you said, it is isolated, they are isolated on their, on its own Vnet.
Louis Maresca (00:19:36):
But I think the key here is that I just like the fact that, that data, whether it's coming from somebody who's out the door or on a camera or, you know, or you know, unlocking the garage or, you know, that kind of thing, all that data kind of just stays locally. And I, I like that now. I, I guess that's me being a little bit overbearing with that kind of stuff, but there's a lot of people out there that don't really think about that stuff though. I, I guess that question back to YouTuber, does that, is that false security for me or is it, you know, or is it just being a little bit too secure?
Brian Chee (00:20:09):
Well, I think a lot of it is we've got all these devices hub. The whole concept of a gateway is spectacular, especially because a lot of the gateways go have the option to go wire wired ethernet into your home router. So if it's off the home wifi, that's already reducing your attack surface. Now my gripe and why I'm hesitant is too many of these gateways are, are being put out by companies that are adding security in as an afterthought. Right. and that's one of the reasons why I'm very enthusiastic about the California standard because they're forcing people to design it in. Now, one of the things I'm gonna change gears here is I've been working a lot with Laura, which is kind of a weird acronym for long range. That standard came out not terribly long ago and it is wireless. It is a low bandwidth it's designed for things like door locks and sensors, you know, temperature water and things.
Brian Chee (00:21:19):
I actually have one sitting by my water heater. So if my water heater starts leaking, it'll alert me. The cool thing is even with the teeny tiny antennas on the devices that I'm using, which happen to be from yolink they're still good for a quarter mile and the battery life on those things are ridiculous. You know, one tiny little lithium cell will last a year or more. So I've actually got one of the yolink sensors within immersible temperature probe in my pool. So I can actually ask my Amazon echo, what's the pool temperature now to put it in perspective, you cannot implement a Laura link unless you're turning on encryption. And almost all the gateways that I've been playing with actually also require it be limited by Mac address. So that's sounding like a lot of best practices right there. And because they're long range, I only need a single gateway for my entire home quarter miles.
Brian Chee (00:22:23):
A great thing. That's cool. But some of my buddies from the university of Waterloo in Canada did some testing in downtown Toronto and with different antennas and slightly different frequencies down in the 600 megahertz range, they were able to shoot 23 miles through the office buildings. So this is cheaper doing a little bit of prediction. I think a lot of gateways are gonna start happening. I think devices on native to wifi are going to slowly back away. We're putting a awful lot on wifi and we're mixing networks. So this achieves a couple of best practices. It's encrypted it's device limited Mac address limiting, right. It's a physical separate network. So we're reducing the attack surface. And it's a hub gateway. So it goes on to think, and what's really cool is there's actually, I, I can finally share this rumor. I've been talking to some fairly large tier two ISPs.
Brian Chee (00:23:34):
One of 'em is actually doing a test run in Denver right now. There's a company that puts public wifi hanging from the communications cables in between telephone poles, well, power poles all over Denver. And what they're doing is they're, co-locating Laura gateways with the wifi. The intent is they want to be able to capture the market so that you can use Laura to even go lightly underground, to hit a water meter or behind fences and trees and brush to get your electric meter and so forth and so on. I think we're gonna start seeing some really interesting things and this whole separation is great. It's a good, best practice. I've gone. As far as setting up a doctor friend, we actually set a separate VLAN, separate physical set of ports on his firewall just for when he does work for the hospital and the kids and the printers and all that other stuff on a different network.
Louis Maresca (00:24:39):
Let me ask you a question cheaper. I know that there's, you know, Laura's one of the standards that are out there. There's obviously ring has developed their own version of the standard where there's the Z wave with. I think the Z wave extended. So I have a single gateway that handles my house for all the devices, but there's also, zigb there's you know, there's a bunch of other standards out there that are trying to do this that are a little bit more prevalent in the, in the industry. What does Laura offer that they don't
Brian Chee (00:25:07):
First off Z wave, isn't a standalone, it's actually a variant on ZigBee. So that's one. Okay. the ranges actually dropped down a little bit because the Z wave and, and ZigBee are not 2.4 gigahertz. It's an unlicensed band. The original Zigby was done at 900 megahertz. So you could get much further with it. I actually was involved with a research group funded by DARPA to do self organizing self-healing mesh networks, which is Z wave and ZigBee's biggest advantage because they can Daisy chain. In fact, my right DARPA research project, Daisy chain, fake rocks and fake tree branches deep into the O forest at volcanoes national park, so that I could relay environmental data and digital images of endangered species out of the deep forest and caves. So that answers your question about what the big advantage is. Being able to Daisy chain is a big one. In fact Zigby was originally designed by the folks at the MIT media lab and has since spun off a company called Ember. It was originally designed so they could Daisy chain sensors coming out of waste water management. And I can't imagine a worst environment for radios and that's metal with a lot of water. So it is designed for harsh environments like that. It is designed for industrial, but the downside is zigb, isn't encrypted. Your application has to encrypt. So
Louis Maresca (00:26:53):
See, I think that's where
Brian Chee (00:26:54):
Laura is encrypted for by design,
Louis Maresca (00:26:56):
Right. I think that's where the, the ring variant comes in. I think ring has developed a Z wave variant that actually encrypts now, like you can't use their hardware with any other like Z wave or ZigBee router or gateway. So I know, I know that, like I do know that, but in the same sense, that's, they're not following standards, they're just kind of doing their own thing. It'd be interesting to see how, if anything comes out, that's, that's using Laura that's in the similar space.
Brian Chee (00:27:25):
And the nice thing is, is Laura is a very strict standard. And there are bands assigned for various regions around the world. So depending on where you are, you can use different bands like I'm actually using the nine 15 megahertz range which has given me a good quarter mile range, even with stub tennis. And I just bought a micro tick L R nine Laura gateway that actually has both RS 45 Modbus and Laura, and the capability of using the new cellular standard, which is LTE cat M one or LTE NB narrowband, which is low bandwidth. It's, it's being designed to replace the old two G modems. And if you can get your data usage down to under two megabytes per month one carrier that I've been working with gets that subscription down to $7 a month which is kind of cool.
Louis Maresca (00:28:31):
Yeah, very cool. I do wanna shift just for a moment cause I there's another thing to, I'm interested in, maybe you have an answer is, you know, if somebody's already implemented all these smart devices on their network, obviously you said, Hey, go and isolate them in being, that'll be one secure way of doing this second thing is what, what's the next thing they can do. Like obviously, you know, you don't know how secure some of these devices are. They might not be using encrypted channels back to, you know, back to their servers. I mean, I have some devices on from unnamed companies out there. Won't name them, but you know, I have some devices, you know, some new cameras that I put out there that do call home a lot. What can people do to figure out if these devices are doing secure things?
Brian Chee (00:29:15):
Sad. Sadly, it's, it's a tough question to answer almost because there's not a lot of diagnostics it's built into consumer gear. So one of the things you can do is just keep an eye peeled on the statistics coming off your home router. If you've managed to physically isolate to a different network, your IOT devices most well, all the home routers that I've ever seen have the ability to at least keep cumulative data rates on different parts or at least on the web. So just like in the enterprise world, keep an eye on whether there's some data spikes, you know, right. Same time every month, you know, scribble down the cumulative data, coming through your ports. Physically separate. We've already talked about that. Don't use simple wifi passwords, keep in mind, you know, war driving still exists, right? And there's a lot of open source software and, you know, black net software where it'll crack a wifi password very quickly, obviously WPA two minimum, cuz it's so far it's fairly secure.
Brian Chee (00:30:38):
Right. But use a reasonably hard to guess. I, I actually use last pass, which used to be a sponsor. I don't think they're a sponsor anymore. But I actually use last pass and have it randomly generate obscenely long wifi passwords just for my IOT gear. And then of course I physically separate, you know, everything, I'm gonna say that over and over again, cuz it's a really good thing to do, but yeah, there's a lot of cool things you can do. Most of it's just being aware of what is running. I actually also add a thing. Instance, I've got this little round puck that's plugged into my network and it's a, a thing box and it will actually monitor everything on my network and do a lot of the counting for me. And every time a new device pops up, it will actually text or email me saying, Hey, do you know what this is?
Brian Chee (00:31:39):
So I think I love that. I might get one of those. Yeah, it's cool. Yeah. It's actually not expensive. And there's multiple versions, the $99 that impact your bandwidth at all. It doesn't use a ton. Okay. The only thing that will impact your bandwidth a little bit is it does I think a weekly speed test. And that's how I know when, when my firewall has been attacked enough that it's slowing down and it's time for a reboot. They also have an enterprise version, which is, I think triple the cost, but it has a lot of really interesting capabilities. It actually combines a lot of really good things, you know, Mac address tracking IP address, tracking device tracking. You'll actually look up the device by Mac address. So that's kind of cool. So that's actually actually not a bad thing. You can also do a lot of the same thing just by running fing on a desktop computer.
Louis Maresca (00:32:46):
Right? Good stuff. Cheaper. I, you know, one thing I do at my, my place is I actually I, I basically turn off access to any site and then I see how many sites get alerted to me that they need access. I see what device it's coming from. And then I, you know, put them on an allow list or whatnot if I want them to, to go through. So that's how I kind of figure out what's going on. It's not always the best model, but it, it seems to give me at least a, an index of, of, you know, what the devices are trying to access, what protocols are using and if they're secure enough, but we'll have to see, we'll have to see if that that scales out with time. Well, folks that does it for the bites next up we have our guests, but before we get to our guests, we do wanna think another great sponsor of This Week in Enterprise Tech and that's user way.org.
Louis Maresca (00:33:32):
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Louis Maresca (00:35:22):
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Speaker 3 (00:36:07):
Hi, I'm Susan Bennett, the original voice of Siri. You won't hear me say something like this too often. I'm sorry. I don't understand what you're looking for, but every day that's what the internet is like for millions of people with disabilities user way fixes all of that with just one line of code User way can make any website fully accessible in ADA compliant with user way, everyone who visits your site can browse seamlessly and customize it to fit their needs. It's also a perfect way to showcase your brand's commitment to millions of people with disabilities, go to user way.org/twi and get 30% off user rate powered accessibility solution book, a short call and get their accessibility guide user way, making the internet accessible for everyone. Visit user way.org/twi today. And we thank user way for their support of This Week in Enterprise Tech. Well folks, it's my favorite part of the show we actually get, we're gonna guess to drop some knowledge on the twit riot today we have slash Thompson. Who's the leading global global manager for the hardware division of curvature. Welcome to the so Shahi
Sachi Thompson (00:37:23):
Hi Lou. Thank you so much for having me.
Louis Maresca (00:37:26):
Absolutely. Now we, now, before we get into the show, lots to talk about here our audience loves to hear people's origin stories. Can you maybe take us through a journey through tech and what brought you to curvature?
Sachi Thompson (00:37:38):
Absolutely. my journey into the business is actually unconventional in the sense that before I joined curvature was previously known as network hardware, resale. I had a background in manufacturing, supply chain and real estate. I act actually didn't have a lot of experience in technology, but really had an opportunity to join the company early on. I think I was employee 85. And then from there it was like joining a rocket ship. We grew globally and in that process, I was able to bring a lot of my knowledge and skillset to the business, but in turn learning a lot, as well as we expanded into multiple products and multiple regions around the world I've really had a wonderful experience. Being able to make a big impact at this organization.
Louis Maresca (00:38:24):
That's amazing. KRS is a very interesting organization. You know, we hear a lot about you know, we do, we covered a lot on the show as well. We cover a lot about digital transformation, people moving to the cloud, you know, what are, what are you guys seeing?
Sachi Thompson (00:38:38):
We're seeing actually, you know, that's a push clearly. That's what a lot of our customers are doing. What I'm seeing recently though, is that there's more of a hybrid approach to that, or it's taking them a little longer or they're more selective about what they're gonna go ahead and move into the cloud. Curvature was also acquired by part place technologies in 2020, and they also host and have a multiple of products that allow our customers more opportunity to do more with their environment. So whether they don't wanna go into the cloud or they wanna monitor them first, our managed services fills in there. And then our hardware division sells the infrastructure and then our maintenance division provides the uptime for it.
Louis Maresca (00:39:18):
Yeah, I think we should, we should definitely cover more on this show about the fact that, you know, organizations are still maintaining, you know, on private, private cloud infrastructure. I talk a lot with organizations on a weekly basis that they're still doing that. Now, one thing I wanted to ask you is what, what are some of the key costs of doing business today when it comes to still managing an on-prem or even a private cloud network what should organizations be looking for there?
Sachi Thompson (00:39:44):
They should be looking for affordable hardware, right? Really making sure there's good security in the environment and, you know, good protection and firewalls and, and, and those things also finding a good managed solution so that they can remote in and get good you know, data and metrics on their environment and what's happening. And then mostly too, you know, just making sure that they've got plenty of redundancy there. A lot of the reasons why some of our clients have gone into the cloud and then chosen to go back is that there's a, a loss of control, right? One, it, you know, it makes it suppose it's easier. They can create a lot more efficiency in bandwidth, but with a lot of the security issues that have been happening as of late and more importantly not realizing how much their own customer base or candidly employee base is pooling and dragging files, it became really evident that those are things that are difficult to control in a, in a provider environment, not knowing kind of how things are happening. And I think too, just kind of with the pandemic and having an, a remote office environment become really the forefront of really what a lot of companies have been dealing with over the last two years. They've had to naturally create a cloud environment quickly and it's costly. So looking at that too, and seeing how to really fit in a good solution where they can have that connect connectivity but also have affordable solution.
Louis Maresca (00:41:06):
Now, one thing that we've seen over the last year, two years even is the fact that, you know, supply chain has definitely drastically changed. You know, some of the hardware spend as well as the cost of hardware out there. Yes. What do, what are you seeing organizations do to kind of adjust to that?
Sachi Thompson (00:41:22):
Yeah, so, you know, very similar to the used car market, the networking infrastructure market has seen a lot of that. We've been in the space for 30 years. Our value really has always been that we've provided a solution. Just like Brian mentioned earlier on the show is that we sell pre-owned equipment and we do it because many reasons. So initially we were always known to save clients money. What's really been at the forefront over the last two years is strictly availability. We have it and the OEMs don't and they won't be able to for the next year and they desperately need equipment. So that's been really important for us to see. And candidly, in the 30 years of being in business, we've never quite seen a supply chain crisis like this before. We really thought to, I actually thought it would be caught up by this time.
Sachi Thompson (00:42:09):
I think we're probably gonna see it even out first quarter of next year, but then now there's a lot of discussion around recession, right? Really needing to be able to optimize environments, create that connectivity and put that innovation into their environments for a fraction of the cost. And that's just not possible, quite frankly, if you don't in introduce a hybrid solution. And so really our clients have stayed with us and partnered with us is that's always been the case for them. They've always needed to find a way to maximize what they're trying to get accomplished for the most cost efficiently possible. And so now we're really just opening that value prop to a much larger audience due to the supply chain situation.
Louis Maresca (00:42:53):
You know, I've always bought pre-owned, you know, renewed devices cause I've had great luck with them. I, I buy 'em from reputable vendors like curvature. And so I've had great luck with them, but a lot of people think, Hey, I need to buy new in order to get these things to be reliable, have the same warranties. Can you maybe take us through, what are some of the true costs of buying new versus pre-owned or rebuilt stuff?
Sachi Thompson (00:43:17):
Yeah. So truthfully, when people buy new, there comes with a warranty with the product. But the difference is, is all of the costs that aren't kind of associated with that deployment, right? Finding the right engineered talent, taking the systems down to deploy that new offering, realizing too, that you don't really ever optimize that full productivity of that technology. For example, we have a lot of enterprise clients who just naturally, always adopted a three to five year refresh cycle on complete environments because just told, Hey, newer is better having it. There is better. You need to do that. Now, all of a sudden with the supply chain constraint, we've had these clients come to us and say, I want to change my strategy. I'm actually gonna change from a three to five year refresh to even a six to nine year refresh. What is that gonna do to my bottom line?
Sachi Thompson (00:44:06):
What you find is it's not only a significant savings, but it really shows an organization that these assets can do a lot more work for them if they just keep them there and maintain them. And so what we also do with our partner or our, our parent company is a lot of risk goes, well, what happens if there's no software available or, you know, what happens if it's end of life and it's in this environment and I need access to this, that's really where our third party maintenance offering steps right in, and then in, in the event that the customer wants, even more than that, they want to have professional services or, you know, special reporting or virtual CAPA cap capabilities on their environment. We offer that and then it really becomes an easy choice. Lou when you're bringing everything together, we take all the risk out of pre-owned.
Louis Maresca (00:44:58):
That's amazing. Well, we have lots more to talk about here and I do wanna bring cheaper back in when we come back. But before we do, we do have to thank another great sponsor of this weekend, enterprise tech, and that is it pro TV. Now your it team needs the skills and knowledge to ensure your business is a success. And with it pro TV, more than 80% of users start a video, actually finish it. Now it pro TV is engaging for your team and they will enjoy learning on their platform. Give your team the tools they need to make your business thrive. Courses are entertaining and binge worthy. Keeping your team interested, invested in learning is important and ITT pro TV definitely does it. Now. The tech industry is evolving, changing rapidly and your team needs to be trained today. And when a new release ly released or a system upgrade or a cyber threat faces your business, it pro TV offers the training and perspectives on those disruptions within days.
Louis Maresca (00:45:49):
If not ours, it's great. Now, why is it pro TV, right for your business? Well, get all the training and certifications for your team done all in one place. It pro TV has every vendor and skill you need for your it team training. Plus they provide Microsoft it training Cisco training, Linux training, apple training, security cloud, and so much more, a lot more out there more than 5,800 hours worth ranging from technical skills to compliance to soft skills. Now you can do so much more and so much with it. Pro TV business plans, track your team's results, manage your seats, assign us unassigned team members and access. Monthly usage reports see metrics like logins, viewing time tracks completed, and more plus easily manage those teams, manage subsets of users or, or teams by providing them with customized assignments, monitoring progress and reporting on usage of the platform.
Louis Maresca (00:46:44):
Plus assignments can be full courses or even individual episodes for those courses as well. You actually have advanced reporting as well. You get immediate insights into your team's viewing patterns and progress over any period of time with visual reports, don't forget the it pro TV has individual plans as well and give your team the it development platform. They need to level up their skills while enjoying the journey for teams of two to a thousand volume discounts, start five seats, go to it pro.tv/enterprise, and make sure to mention enterprise 30 to your designated it pro TV account executive to get 30% off or more on a business plan. And we thank it pro TV for their support of This Week in Enterprise Tech. Well, folks we've been talking with Sahi Thompson, she's global manager of hardware, division of curvature about renewed hardware about on-premise networking, but I didn't wanna bring cheaper back in cuz he's an expert here cheaper.
Brian Chee (00:47:45):
Actually, my big question is, you know, I've worked with curvature and I've seen a lot of the benefits. You know, I first met one of her in one of SAT's engineers, Gerard power at interop, and we got some great experience building some really big network stuff. But I think what a lot of people don't realize is curvature is dramatically different from say Joe's network salvage, shop down the street. Let's talk a little bit about the differences cuz I know it's not just hardware. Gerard was an engineer and he was at least as good, maybe better than some of the OEM manufacturers. You guys have a lot of talent on your staff. Let's let's brag about them a little bit.
Sachi Thompson (00:48:31):
Yeah, absolutely. And you're right, Brian, where we work and the employees that work at curvature are very unique. A lot of them come from us at local universities U C S B is in our backyard. We get a lot of great talent from the computer science programs, even at the local college level. And when you become an engineer in one of our factories or on our operation centers, you do thousands of hours on every platform. You have to test 1,050 phones before you can move to the next level of an, an access point and thousands of those units. And so, and because the product that we sell to our customers is a pre-owned solution. We know that that customer's making a buying decision truly on trust and choice. So we don't have the luxury of failure. We can't deliver a device that isn't working or operable when they open the box.
Sachi Thompson (00:49:22):
So that they don't look at us like Joe's electronics store down the street or buying something on eBay. It is a like new experience it's fully tested. Not only do we do that, but we allow our engineers and environment where anything and everything that we sell, they have testbed and they can work on it, touch it. They understand it. But then we collect all of the data in the environments around all the platforms we sell. So we know the field notices or the issues or compatibility issues. So the extent of being able to work in our operations center and the knowledge base you need to know is, is very large. And then equally it dovetails nicely when they go out and they work in the field and they're working on environments rather than learning in a manual or maybe having a few hours or are hearing about certain products.
Sachi Thompson (00:50:09):
A lot of our engineers have physically touched them, worked on 'em and configured them for our clients. In fact, Brian, a lot of our customers use us to do all of their technical configuration in the past. I'd say five, six years ago, just running the operation centers. I'd send 20 boxes to a customer and a team of four or five. It engineers would meet on a Friday and they'd work all through the night and set up the environment and test it and then have go live on a Sunday. We do all that work. We actually set it all up, build it all out. We ship it on a freight pallet and one guy meets it and plugs it in. And it's operable and working we've created technology too, where our clients can remote in from their living room. And that was really huge during the pandemic. If you can imagine, no one's getting on a plane. People need to make sure that this replacement device is gonna work, needs to be configured. That was really leveraged considerably, but that's just something we've always done. That's really kind of one of our major differentiators is that the quality of the product we sell is at a very high level. It's there's no one out there like us.
Brian Chee (00:51:12):
Yeah. Well I've actually been your customer going on 30 years now. No, 20 years. Yeah. Yeah. I was. I used to be in charge of the Pacific for GSA office of information security. So you've not known my name, but you've known my purchase orders.
Sachi Thompson (00:51:28):
I do. I do.
Brian Chee (00:51:30):
One of the things that I noticed on your website is there is a very long list of ISO certifications. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> why does that make a difference?
Sachi Thompson (00:51:41):
It makes a huge difference. That's a huge, that's another big differentiator for us in the space is that I love being validated by third party, outsources that tell us what we need to do to keep a standard, both environmentally quality related and security related. People hate audits. I love them. I welcome them. I'm incredibly proud of how we run our operations floor. We don't make anything. The people are our company. And so when these auditors come through and they walk through the experience, they see, wow, you guys pretty much act and treat your business like a manufacturer. But Brian, we have to in order to troubleshoot an issue or a customer problem. So I hate customer issues, but they happen and we make mistakes, but it's brilliant to be able to pull up the log and walk that customer through the widget, how it happened, what happened and what we did wrong and how we're gonna correct it. The other thing that's really key is we're global. So I have distribution centers in Amsterdam and in Singapore and in the United States, just on the hardware side so that I can sure that I can deliver a product within 24 hours anywhere in the world. And, and if a customer receives a box from us in Europe or in Asia, it'll be exactly the same as if you received one from Hawaii.
Brian Chee (00:52:54):
Cool. Well, I've got one more question.
Sachi Thompson (00:52:56):
Brian Chee (00:52:57):
And you touched on a little bit and it's, how do you deal with end of life products? Some people want them, you know, in fact that's what I did for the us Marines and in Okinawa ordered end of life products, cuz we needed them. But what about people that are allergic to end of life? How do you help them? Upgrade, shall we say?
Sachi Thompson (00:53:20):
Yeah. So people who are end of life and like you said, I'd say a majority of our co core customer base uses that as a strategy, which means they remain them, keep them there, especially our manufacturing clients, our retailers, things that these are workhorse appliances that really stand the test of time. And so what we do with those clients, we offer redundancy, we provide 24 by seven maintenance to really ensure that keeping that asset in that environment can continue on and be fine. Those that wanna refresh, we always offer refresh. In fact what we typically do too, is we'll get a bend, a bill of materials from a vendor, right. A large networking vendor. And we'll actually talk to the client more about what are you trying to accomplish? What are you doing? What's your roadmap in the next two years, four years, five years. And because we're vendor agnostic, we could really solution something that saves them money, gives them all the compute they're looking for, but is outside of just that one brand solution. And that's also really unique.
Brian Chee (00:54:24):
Cool. Well, I'm gonna brag just a little bit. Okay. Let's talk about the IOP project at the time. It was the world's largest temporary network. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and that's how I met Gerard, but that's where I also met an awful lot of curvature engineers and was really impressed at how fast those pallets arrived. Yep. What's behind the scenes. Who, who else do you have in your your dugout, so to speak?
Sachi Thompson (00:54:54):
So we have several engineers in all of our operating plants that allowed us the ability to pull that equipment together and ship it out around the world. And so we were really excited about being a part of that project. We have just in time equipment, we carry all of the equipment that we sell readily available. And so that also allowed us to put together an entire network for that show in a very short period of time, it was comprised of all of our run rate equipment that we sell.
Brian Chee (00:55:24):
Super cool. In fact, I'm using some, some of your equipment on the research vessel, Keana. It was a very nice donation. Thank you so much. And curvature has been supporting the world's deepest underwater observatory, but Mr. Lou, I think we're just about out of time.
Louis Maresca (00:55:46):
You're very close. We're getting there very super close. I, I did wanna ask one more question before we closed up. Now, one thing that I wanna do is channel a little bit of Curtis out there regarding security. Now we continue to see a lot of advanced attack vectors that are coming towards organizations, especially over the pandemic. People are extending their networks to home, but they're also trying to beef up their, the local on-premise network. So people connecting to them are, are more secure. Now what you're seeing from an organization perspective where people actually upgrading there to make things more secure to also enhance things like micro segmentation and so on
Sachi Thompson (00:56:24):
In our sector, we, we definitely see a lot of investment around firewalls around all of the managed capability and just adding more of that technology around it. Part of our part place technology group has an ISO division that runs all of that security and kind of manages that environment with a lot of consultive work. And we've got a resident expert on staff there and they provide a lot of knowledge and Intel around that, but also too, sometimes Lou, if those environments are too critical, that's not necessarily an area where we'll wanna step in and help. Right. That's really where we'll say you need to have the latest and greatest and edge technology in those environments, just so that you can act access to those real time updates that are just happening so frequently. And so that's the other thing too, that you'll find with curvature is that we'll really be more of a solution for you that if we don't feel like it's a good fit, we'll be the first ones to tell you.
Louis Maresca (00:57:23):
Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for being here. Unfortunately, we're running low on time, but I didn't wanna give you a chance to maybe tell the folks at home where they can go learn more about curvature, maybe even get started, get, get in contact with you.
Sachi Thompson (00:57:35):
Yeah, absolutely. So curvature.com is where you can reach us just to see a list of our products and offering so that we carry and part place technology is our parent brand as well. So you can learn more about our maintenance offering and our professional services. And if there's anyone that's in need of networking equipment, even like your previous story that you mentioned about the cost of gear, going up, please reach out to us cuz I know we can help and we've been able to do that and even more so than ever in the last 13 months. So we really try to make sure that we can provide good value hardware for our customers.
Louis Maresca (00:58:10):
Thank you so much for being here. Sathi appreciate it.
Sachi Thompson (00:58:13):
Louis Maresca (00:58:15):
Well folks, you've done it again. You sat through another hour, the best day enterprise and it podcast in the universe. So definitely tune your podcaster to twit. I want to thank everyone who makes this show possible, especially to my host, Mr. Brian, she thank you so much for being here. What's going on for you in the coming weeks? Where can people find you? Where can people reach out to you and get in touch with you?
Brian Chee (00:58:38):
I'm still working with a buddy of mine in Honolulu on lighting up a wireless internet service provider. And we just did just about finished the project of running the Neil Blazedale center providing network connectivity with wireless backups so that they could provide point of sale ticket sales and so forth. Lots of fun. And yes, we do buy used equipment or pre-owned equipment. Sorry. you know, in fact, I think Sachi might want to consider suggesting to management that they do a booth at WIPA za, which happens to be one of the largest wireless internet service provider conferences in the United States. And trust me, WIS are always short on cash. So finding quality pre-owned gear is probably gonna be very welcome to those folks. But anyway, I'd love to hear from you. I'd love to hear your comments. I'd love to hear your show ideas.
Brian Chee (00:59:44):
I strongly suggest you hit me on Twitter. My Twitter handle is a D V N E T L a advanced net lab, and you're all try and respond as quickly as possible. And as I find more information about what the little bird told me that happened at black hat, just as it becomes verifiable and not just rumor, I'll start sharing that. I'd love to hear show ideas, love to hear your questions anyway, if you want. You're also welcome to email me. My email address is cheaper, spelled C H E E B E RT, twi.tv, or you're also welcome to send email to TWT twit.tv and that'll hit all the hosts look forward to hearing from you and love your questions. Take care.
Louis Maresca (01:00:35):
Thanks sheer well folks. We also have to thank you as well. You're the person he drops in each and every week to watch and to listen to our show and get your enterprise. Goodness, I wanna make it easy for you to watch and listen and catch up on your enterprise and it news. So go to our show page right now, TWI that TV slash TW there you'll find all of our amazing back episodes, the show notes, coast information, guest information, and the links of the stories that'll be doing on the show. But more importantly, next to those videos there, you'll get those helpful subscribe and download links, support the show by getting your audio version or video version of your choice. Listen on any one of your devices or any one of your podcast applications, cause we're on all of them, definitely subscribe and support the show.
Louis Maresca (01:01:14):
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The plans start at five members. That's right, just five members at a discounted rate of $6 each per month. And you can add as many seats as you white, like you keep adding them. And this is really a great way for it. Departments, developers, tech teams to really stay on top of and access to all of our podcasts that we have out there. Plus just like regular memberships. You, you can also join the twit discord server as well as get that twit plus bonus feed as well. Definitely join club TWI at twi.tv/club TWIT. Now, after you subscribe, you can impress your friends, your family members, your coworkers, with the gift to TW cuz we talk a lot about fun tech topics on this show and I definitely guarantee they will find it fun and interesting as well. So definitely have them subscribe. Now after you subscribe, if you available 1:30 PM Pacific time, we do this show live.
Louis Maresca (01:02:40):
We're doing it right now, live that's right. You can check that out at all. Our streams live.twi.tv. You can check all the live streams that are on there. Plus you can come see how the pizzas made called behind the scenes, the banter, all the fun stuff we do here on TWI. So definitely check out the live stream. And it's also, if you're gonna be part of the live stream, you might as well be part of the live chat room as well. We have an IRC dot twit TV chat room. They're all there. They are lots of great characters in there. There's some reoccurring people, but also lots of new people. And each every week we have a lot of great questions and conversations and we get a lot of stuff from that. So definitely join the IRC channel. Thank you to everybody who's in there.
Louis Maresca (01:03:16):
You really make the show possible. Definitely hit me up. I wanna hear about all the things you're doing in the enterprise, in it at twitter.com/lou mm. There I post on my enterprise tidbits. Plus I also have great conversations with people like you definitely direct message me. If you can show ideas, things that we should cover on the show, things that you want us to talk about more definitely hit me up there and we will definitely have a good conversation. But if you wanna check out what I do do during my normal work week at Microsoft, definitely check out developers.microsoft.com/office. There you'll find all the latest and greatest ways for you to customize your office suite. That's right. You customize it with code. You customize it with macros automation, whatever you wanna do, check that out. It will really help you guys do more work, be more productive on that office.
Louis Maresca (01:04:00):
We so definitely check it out. Now. I also wanna thank everyone who makes this show possible, especially to Leo and Lisa. They continue to support this weekend enterprise tech each and every week. So thank you for their support. We couldn't do this show without them. I wanna thank all the engineers and staff on TWI. They really make it possible. Plus I also wanna thank Mr. Brian Chi one more time. He's our cohost, but he's also our tireless producer. That's right. He does all the bookings and the plannings for the show and we really couldn't do this show without him. So thank you cheaper again for all your support before we sign out. I wanna thank our editor for today, Mr. Anthony, he likes us, makes us look good after the fact makes us cuts out all of our mistakes. So thank you Anthony, for doing that. Our TD for today, he's our talented Mr. Ant Pruitt, who also does a fabulous show here on twit called hands on photography, which I learn something each and every week. I sometimes watch the shows over and over again so I can go back and learn it again. So what's going on this week? An on your show.
Speaker 5 (01:04:56):
Well, Mr. Lou, thanks for watching each and every week. My man this time on the show, I go through some listener feedback. They sent in some images and I gave them a bit of critique and some tips and tricks to help, you know, make that image look just a little bit better, you know, cuz we can all use a little helping hand from time to time to really help our photography shine.
Louis Maresca (01:05:17):
Thanks for watching brother. Love that. Thank you an and until next time I'm Louis Maresca just reminding you, if you want to know what's going on in the enterprise, just keep TWiT on.
Speaker 6 (01:05:29):
Hey, we should talk Linux, the operating system that runs the internet, but your game console, cell phones, and maybe even the machine on your desk, you already knew all that. What you may not know is that twit now is a show dedicated to it. The untitled Linux show, whether you're at Lenox pro a burgeoning CSED man, or just curious what the big deal is. You should join us on the club, twit discord every Saturday afternoon for news analysis and tips to sharpen your Linux skills and then make sure you subscribe to the club. TWIT exclusive untitled Linux show. Wait, you're not a club TWIT member yet. Well go to twit.tv/club and sign up. Hope to see you there.