F5 IT @ Go To Amsterdam Conference

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Last week we got the chance to attend one of the most innovative events in the IT industry, Go To Amsterdam Conference which was held at Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre a nationally listed building, one of the most beautiful conference centre in Amsterdam.

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F5 IT expands into solutions and services

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F5 IT has grown from a small consulting company to a staff of nearly twenty five  in a relatively short time. We now believe we have the smart individuals we need to start adding value to our customers, such as delivering network and security solutions, developing new solutions and software from scratch. This will also make our day even more exciting, as we get to take ownership of our own projects and designs. This will also take us closer to our customer and build a stronger relationship.

 

I want you to keep this in mind when you are at our customer’s offices, at seminars, courses, or other venues, and spread the word.

Internship – 3 Months at F5 IT

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Life after 3 months at F5 IT:

“The most valuable lesson was the importance of cooperation in solution development”

 

It’s been three months since F5 IT’s two interns Andrei Mocanu and Adrian Nicoara joined the team of developers located in Constanta. This was part of the company’s initiative to offer an opportunity to those who are still studying, or have just finished an IT related university to get more acquainted with the day to day work of a software programmer. At the same time Mihai Lita has joined the team as a new developer, covering the need for an experienced professional to help with the high number of on-going projects. Now that internship program is over, we wanted to find out from all three of them how the whole experience went. In short, they seem to all agree that Miruna Chivu, Oana Cristian, Mihaela Coman and Radu Cojocaru have done a great job in mentoring them, but emphasizes that the other team members were equally helpful and friendly. Let’s find out more from them in the interview below:

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Three out of four will invest in IOT. Here’s why.

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IOT. One of the buzzwords – but how will it bring value to your business?

69% of all businesses plan to invest in IOT in 2017, according to Techrepublic.  What about the 31% that are not planning to invest in IOT – wake up!

Here are some reasons we believe in dramatically higher IOT investments for the years to come.

IOT could be the best investment this year!

IOT meets businesses

And we mean any kind of business, not only Industry 4.0 businesses. All companies are IT companies – the managers who believe they are not running a tech company will not be around in 5 years. So, any company is a tech company and any company needs to manage their data. Data comes from systems, from people, from things. And data helps making better decicions.  Data will improve efficacy and drive growth. Get yourself an IOT infrastructure and start collecting your data – it’s your gold for the future!

IOT to explore AI and ML

There are public data available for everyone. But your own data is only available for you, and that’s a competitive advantage. And the more data you’ve got, the more knowledge you’ll get using ML.  Where is the best location to establish a new sales office? In which area of the city will you succeed with the new fine dining restaurant? And since a lot of data moves the cloud, you have the power to analyze it.

IOT API’s

If you provide “things” be prepared to share the data. If you provide a platform, be prepared to be asked to import anything, including those beyond any international standards…

IOT Ecosystems

Very connected, literally, to the above point, but I believe the time when one vendor think they can provide a complete IOT Ecosystem, well, that’s gone. Your ecosystem will consist of units or software from small startups in a mix with the large IOT players. By the way, a kitchen accessories, bike, radio or home lightening-producers are all IOT players today. The IOT ecosystems – for the smart city and for the businesses – are also driven by easier communication with the units: LoRa networks, cheaper mobile solutions and better mobile coverage will enable more “things” to be online. I did mention the startups, didn’t I? They will be moving even faster…

IOT Security

How secure is your new training watch? Or the new coffee machine? So, they communicate with your phone, right? Or you installed their software on the computer at work? Hm….  Take care of the security-part of IOT! The recent months there has been IOT-attacks taking down services from Twitter, Spotify, Netflix and Playstation…

IOT service-oriented business models

As in many other areas, there are new business models coming up – moving from products to service oriented business models. In the future you won’t buy a “thing” (product) – you will buy a service, or a “thing”-as-a-service.

 

 

For further information regarding these matters, check out www.f5it.no or www.smartcity.as.

And just to make sure the terms are right:

IOT/IOET = Internet of (every) Thing/s

ML = Machine Learning

AI = Artificial Intelligence

3 IT developments to look forward to in 2017

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There is much to be expected from when it comes to innovations in the field of IT for this year. Some will have the ability to simplify the work of those in the field of development, whereas others are just entertaining gadgets for which tech-heads go crazy.

Useful or just fun, these inventions will have the ability to bring the world closer to the sci-fi future most of us envision. As we step into the first month 2017, let’s have a look at areas in which the tech world will see improvement.
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F5 IT wins first prize at the „Top Commercial Companies” event in Constanta!

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We are proud to announce that F5 IT Solutions Partner SRL won the first prize at the „Top Commercial Companies in Constanta” contest, in the high-tech domain, subcategory for on-demand software development activity.
On the 3rd of November 2016, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Navigation and Agriculture of Constanta organized the „Top Commercial Companies” contest in the county, an event that reached it’s 23rd edition. The prizes have been given by CCINA representatives from Constanta, Mihai Daraban and Ion Dănuţ Jugănaru, and officials from the city hall – Decebal Fagadau, the mayor of Constanta and Claudiu Palaz.
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Having submitted their financial balance sheets on the 31st of December 2015, 27.495 companies were taken into account. The ranking is divided into six fields of activity: research – development and high-tech, industry, agriculture, constructions, services and commerce-tourism. The classification was made according to several economic indicators, including net turnover, operating profit rate, human resource efficiency and the efficient use of the employed capital.
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The award for F5 IT was recieved by Valentina Pintilie, F5 IT manager, on behalf of the entire team. We would like to thank our team in Constanta for their sustained efforts and great results !
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Getting started with Cyber Security

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Here are some thoughts from Vedanta Mishra, Security Analyst in F5 IT, on getting started with cyber security.

Cyber security its getting more and more complex day by day, it’s affecting anything and anyone from single individuals to companies of all sizes. Attacks are increasing in numbers for many reasons, digitalization being one of them. The recent case of big cyber-attack was on Bangladesh bank, where attackers manage to acquire around $81 million. There will always be attackers who want to take advantage of any loopholes left unpatched, regardless of what security infrastructure you have. However, there are ways to reduce the attack surface.

Let’s start with these;

  1. Reducing the attack surface:

   Checking vulnerabilities in critical assets and fix it. 

  • List down critical assets as per business requirement.
  • Scan the critical assets for known vulnerabilities.
  • Fix the vulnerabilities.

One can start with a vulnerability scan and check for known vulnerabilities and fix based on criticality.

If its the first time you are doing a vulnerability scan then there will be a large number of vulnerabilities with different levels of criticalities that can be overwhelming to fix; the best way is to filter out the most critical ones and move on to less critical ones.

This will not guaranty that everything is OK, but this will help in reducing the attack surface.

  1. Monitor the activities around the critical assets.

There are various ways to monitor the traffic activities, events and alarms.

This can vary from simple to complex solutions. Generally large enterprises have expensive SIEM monitoring systems, however now there are some less expensive and very effective SIEM products available that can be used for monitoring events.

This means we can easily check logs from firewalls, server events logs, etc, and check for suspicious activities. This is generally used for investigative work after an incident has taken place, when we know what we are looking for.

A more efficient way of checking logs is to have sensors placed in such a way that traffic to and from critical network segments can be captured and then collect them at single point for correlation (Using a SIEM product), but this is beginning of it, the more logs you have from different device more effective correlation you will get. Depending upon business needs one can increase or decrease number of sensors and logs for monitoring.

Attacks can come from both inside and outside, more and more attacks take place from inside, so monitoring of logs should be done in such a way that it should capture logs from both outside network towards critical network segment and from inside towards critical network segments or systems.

  • Setup the criteria of monitoring.
  • Make sure it’s getting monitored real time (depends up business need).
  • Check reports periodically, make sure mitigations have been implemented, document the mitigations.
  1. Educating Users:

Educate users about phishing attack and other type of attacks that users may face day to day.

Few examples:

  • Always check the source of email before clicking the link, check if the source email address is different from the name of the sender.
  • Never click on a link that looks suspicious
  • Never install software from untrusted sources.
  • Don’t turn off antivirus.
  • Keep software updated.

There are lots of other attack surfaces too, in more than 80% of attacks, the attacker uses privileged user IDs. Attackers always look for priviledged user IDs that they can use for malicious activities. Very often, privileged user IDs are shared among many IT admins and organizations can’t keep track of it. Privileged IDs should be secured, controlled and kept under constant monitoring. There are tools that can do very efficiently.

This is it for now, I will keep posting blogs about various security related topics, so make sure to visit our website frequently.

Installing the SmartCity environment sensors

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In action: installing smartcity environment sensors

The first sensors in Gjesdal muncipality in Norway are now installed. Environment sensors are important in a smartcity, actually in any city. You want to know the quality of the air that you breathe, right?

Håkon Hapnes Strand and Øystein Hermansen, consultants and advisors at F5 IT, where in charge of this part of the project, along with technical staff from Gjesdal muncipality. The Libelium Environment PRO-sensors were to be installed at kindergardens, this one is Bamsebo kindergarden in Gjesdal, Norway. The sensors are calibrated, and measuring a wide range of elements:  CO, NO2, CH4 and Combustible Gas, temperature, humidity, air pressure and particle matters.

When fed into our IOT hub, we can use machine learning algorithms to forecast pollution levels and so forth – this is possible because we also have included the local traffic data, weather data and other relevant data to correlate and compare. As time goes and the amount of historical data is being generated, the forecasts will be even more accurat, and the city can make highly qualified decicions based on what they know and not just what they think.

Why isn’t it mandatory with environment sensors at all schools and kindergardens? After all, the children spends most of the days there, and aren’t we concerned if the air they breathe is good or bad for them? After all, we urge them to eat healthy, wear a bike helmet and buckle up in the car…

 

New members at F5 IT – Mihai, Andrei & Adrian have finished the first week of training

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New members at F5 IT

– Mihai, Andrei & Adrian have finished the first week of training –

Since the beginning of last week, F5 IT Constanta has expanded its team of experts with 3 new members. While Mihai Lita has joined F5 IT as a programmer, Adrian Mocanu and Andrei Nicoara are part of the Summer Internship Program which our company has developed in partnership with Ovidius University. For more information on the successful projects, the department of Mathematics and Informatics has helped us achieve, visit our previous blog entries. In order for them to get a proper training, the induction period was taken over by four F5 IT senior programmers: Razvan Mandache, Oana Cristian, Daniel Corsei and Mihaela Coman.

The overall experience seems to have been highly enjoyable by both the trainers and the trainees. In short, Adrian, Andrei and Mihai proved that they are not only fast learners, but also eager to assimilate as much information as possible. The first week of training was divided into daily session, each dedicated to a different technology. Given the success of the program, on Monday this week, the three new members have already started on an F5 IT project – a revolutionary App that is meant to help companies organise employees’ vacation periods more efficiently.

Let’s see what the mentors had to say about the training, followed by a short interview with the new members.

“I had a day of teaching them SQL. Regarding this technology, they seem to handle it great. We didn’t encounter any problems, as they all had some knowledge from University and they seem to easily understand the new knowledge I transmitted them. I think they will all do well in the new project from the SQL perspective. On Friday we had a brief overview of everything the interns had learned in the previous days of the week. They started to work on a small project in order to review all the technologies implied in the new project they will start working on this week.”- Oana Cristian

Razvan Mandache shares Oana’s confident opinion and the three trainees will be a great addition to the team, due to the positive way the reacted to training.

„I was in charge of their training on Tuesday, when I gave them an introduction into AngularJS. In addition to this, I offered my support to the other mentors whenever it was needed and participated in the review on Friday. All three of the interns performed a great job. They seem very willing to learn and eager to start working on the Smart Vacation Planner project”- Razvan

F5 IT’s programmers get to improve their mentoring abilities

Mihaela Coman mentioned that the experience was highly useful for the programmers involved. In her view, the fact that the three interns had different levels of experience has given those in charge of the learning sessions the chance to improve their training abilities.

„This internship is useful not only for our interns but also for us, the programmers. We learned to have different approaches depending on the knowledge each intern/new employee has. After this first week, I can say that they are eager to learn new things and even if almost everything is new for them, they seem to like the way we handle things. I was their trainer on their first day in F5 IT and I had to explain to them several basic ideas about the company, as well offer some details on how we operate internally. During the first part of the day, we had to do some configurations (connected to VSO, installed the IIS, SQL Management Studio and all the tools we need to start coding) and after that I showed them some code, how we handle tasks in visual studio online and started a discussion based on a project I’m working at this moment. The next 3 days covered the technologies we use in F5 IT and the last day, the interns and our new colleague had to create a simple app from scratch. This was meant to make them familiarize with the technologies and also to make them a bit more confident and open toward asking our help when needed.”- Mihaela Coman

In the interview below, we took into consideration the fact that Mihai has over 5 years of experience in the field of Oracle Development and challenged him to offer some tips to his training colleagues. We were also interested to know what motivated Adrian and Andrei to join the F5 IT team as interns and all three’s general view on their first week with our team.

What kind of software development do you like the most? (web, mobile, gaming, security)

Mihai Lita: For me, I must say that web development is the most appealing, but I’m always trying to keep an open mind and try new technologies.

Adrian Mocanu: I don’t really have a preference for a particular kind of software applications, but I do enjoy any application that turns out to be a challenge for my problem-solving capabilities.

Andrei Nicoara: I think all software development is interesting, but my favourites would be gaming and web.

What made you decide to join the Internship program?

Adrian: The main reason behind my decision to join the internship program was to start applying what I have learned during college in real life applications. Besides that, I also wanted to start learning from and share knowledge with experienced programmers.

Andrei: I was motivated by my curiosity for working in the field and the fact that I want to develop my abilities as a developer.

What did you learn during your first week?

Mihai: I’ve learned about F5 internal procedures and standards, but also found out something new in AngularJS.

Adrian: During the first week we have learned about the three distinct types of technologies that combined together make complex real life applications possible. Those technologies are: the database management system, we learned to work with DBMS SQL Server and with Transact-SQL, the server side, we learned to build REST services with Visual Studio and C# and last but not least, the client-side, where we learned to create single page applications using AngularJS, a powerful Javascript Framework. First, we learned each of these technologies independently so that in the final training day we could combine them by building a dummy application.

Andrei: We learned the basics of web applications development, as well as the technologies used within F5 IT.

Which programming language are you most eager to start working with?

Adrian: Well, I could say that I am most eager to start working with Javascript, more precisely with AnguarJS, because I am not that familiar with it, as I am with C# for example, or with client-side programming as a whole.

Andrei: All programming languages seem to be necessary and useful. To me, the most interesting seem to be Javascript and C#.

Given your experience as a developer, what advice can you give Andrei and Adrian for a successful career in the field of IT?

Mihai: My advice for Andrei and Adrian is to never stop learning because IT industry is constantly changing, you must adapt in order to stay up to date and you should never stop to challenge yourself in order to succeed in any organization.