Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

Category Archive for "IT Strategy"

Testing Suspicious emails using Windows Sandbox

Co-workers often forward me emails when they are unsure if it is a valid email or something malicious. As one of the IT managers, I need to evaluate these emails in a safe environment. The tool I use for this is Windows Sandbox.
Windows Sandbox was added as a feature to Windows 10 with the May 2019 Update (version 1903). Every time you start Sandbox, it creates a Virtual Machine with a clean install of Windows 10. When you shut it down, the image is erased. This makes it an ideal environment for testing untrusted applications, links, and emails.
To enable Windows Sandbox, first make sure you have the minimum requirements:

Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, version 1903.
Hardware virtualization enabled in your BIOS
At least 2 CPU cores
4 GB of memory
1 GB of available disk space

Once the minimum requirements are met, click Start, then…

IoT Luncheon: Connecting the Greatest Minds in Greater Boston

It’s not often that you can get some of the brightest minds in an industry in the same room together to discuss trends and opportunities in the market. This past March, Tallan was able to do just that and this coming September, we’ll be doing the same thing. Boston is one of the top regions if not THE top region in the country focused on Pharma, BioTech, and Medical Device Manufacturing.  The health of this industry and the proximity to Tallan’s headquarters is a stroke of luck.  However, we made our own luck through our partnership with one such company, Abiomed.
Abiomed is a ‘leading provider of medical devices that provide circulatory support.’ The brilliant minds on their team developed a solution to monitor the health of their devices, and report necessary findings to the individuals working in hospitals who care…

Exploring Advanced Persistent Threats

What Are Advanced Persistent Threats?
Advanced Persistent Threats (also known as APTs) are prolonged targeted cyberattacks. Such attacks are carried out by a well-funded (typically state-sponsored) group of highly skilled hackers who have high aspirations. Typically, APTs involve the creation of custom attacks that specifically target the victim’s network/machine. APTs primarily target government agencies, defense contractors, manufacturers of products, vendors, and partners of a primary target, and companies with intellectual property. The Stuxnet worm is a good example of such an attack. It is believed to have been created by the NSA, CIA, and Israeli intelligence. It was discovered in 2010 and was responsible for destroying several centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility. The worm would search infected computers for signs of Siemens Step 7 software (used on industrial computers serving as PLCs), if found, it would update its code…

Selling an IT Vision: How to Make Sure Your Boss Sees the Same Value That You Do

Whatever your job is, I’m sure your overarching goal is to improve your organization.  For some people that means driving revenue by making sales; for others, it’s implementing technology that solves a problem, creates efficiencies, or saves time.
For those of you who fit into this second category, it’s likely that you’ve had a great idea or two in your time.  And, hopefully, you’ve brought these ideas to your boss or leadership.  If you executed everything properly, they saw the same value that you did, and together you charted a path to move forward.
But that’s not always how this scenario plays out.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of amazing ideas that never make it past a proposal.  At Tallan, we recognize the importance of seeing these ideas through to execution and implementation proving that they truly do provide the value you’re proposing. …

X12 EDI Databases for HIPAA Transactions

The X12 HIPAA transaction set is used across the healthcare industry to transmit claim, enrollment and payment information. Given the importance and ubiquity of these EDI files, you might assume that translating them from ANSI to a relational database format would be well-supported with a range of options.
In practice, a task as common as parsing a claim or encounter and storing it in a database can quickly escalate into a significant problem.
One solution we’ve seen involves archiving a snapshot of the EDI file using filestream storage. This can satisfy some retention requirements, but provides little in terms of fine-grained tracking or analytic capabilities.
A more complete approach is to parse the X12 file into its discrete elements and store them in a relational database. The ideal solution captures the full extent of the EDI transactions while also applying a reasonable leveling of flattening to keep in the number of table joins under control.
The…

Introduction to Windows Server Active Directory Domain Services and Active Directory Health

For most corporate networks, Windows Active Directory Domain Services is the critical backbone for the support of your enterprise information structure. An improperly performing Windows Server Active Directory can be the cause of the most minor of nuisance issues, up to and including as much as the complete failure of your corporate environment’s security and authentication structure and the loss of access to your data, systems, and network shared resources.
This introduction post on the subject of the health of your Windows Server Active Directory Domain Services is part one of an occasional series of blog posts that I will have on Active Directory Health.
Performing an Active Directory Health Check in small and midsize environments can be somewhat problematic for the local, in house network and resource administrators. Often times, those smaller businesses don’t always have dedicated, full-time Active Directory administrators,…

Introduction to Nano Server in Windows Server 2016

  
General availability of Windows Server 2016 was announced in early October 2016.
Windows Server 2016 includes 3 main editions:

Datacenter: This is the main, large scale edition release of the Windows Server operating system, designed for corporate and enterprise environments
Standard: This edition is most ideal for small to mid-sized organizations (as well as niche uses in larger corporations) that have smaller virtualization needs and / or more of a need for a general purpose server operating system.
Essentials: This edition is mainly designed for smaller organizations, generally with less than 50 users.

Under the Standard and Datacenter editions, there are three installation options:

Server with Desktop Experience: The Server with Desktop Experience installation option (previously known as Server with a GUI) provides an ideal user experience for those who need to run an app that requires local UI or for Remote Desktop Services Host. This option has the full Windows client…

The 2016 Revamp of the Microsoft Certification Program

Near the end of September of this year, (2016), Microsoft formally announced that they were streamlining their technical certification program, so that it was more closely aligned to industry-recognized areas of subject matter and expertise – “Centers of Excellence, used by the Microsoft Partner Network, which identifies technical competencies that are widely recognizable by both Microsoft partners and customers.”
The Microsoft Certification program has undergone many changes in the past four or five years; many of these had been very subtle, up until now, but that wasn’t the case five years prior to that, as the program underwent a major change at that time as well.
In this blog post I will outline some of the certification program history as I experienced it over my career in the information technology field. In future posts, I will review some of the changes being…

Using Dell Boomi Extensions

Dell Boomi provides the concept and implementation of extensions to allow developers and administrators to have distinct values for different environments without having to use multiple connectors of the same type.
As an example in a given scenario where a Dell Boomi Process uses a disk connector to read a file but the file location changes from environment to environment.
EG:
1. Test Server file folder location: C:\TEST\Inbound
2. QA Server file folder location: C:\QA\Inbound
3. Production Server file folder location: C:\PROD\Inbound

The 6 Not-So-Obvious Reasons a Project Plan Fails

Bad projects are expensive. In fact, organizations lose a whopping $109 million for every $1 billion invested in projects and programs, according to a Project Management Institute (PMI) study. And the bigger the projects are, the harder they fall. Large projects are 10 times more likely to fail outright, according to another industry report, and two times more likely to be late, over budget and missing critical features when compared with smaller projects. While small and medium projects may not be quite as fraught with peril, anyone who’s worked on them knows they certainly aren’t without their woes.
So, what are the culprits behind these epic and not-so-epic fails? According to PMI, common causes of project failure range from changing priorities within an organization (40 percent) to limited resources (20 percent). While some may be out of our control as project…

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