Heading to Tech Field Day

We all have those moments during our day, week, month or year that we absolutely look forward to.  Morning coffee, 3:00 Friday afternoons, summer vacation, an upcoming conference.  Tech Field Day has worked its way into my 'something I look forward to' category.  I honestly love hitting the do not disturb button, firing up the browser, logging into twitter, throwing the headphones in, and connecting up to the live stream.  I have found myself camped out in the lab, a remote part of the datacenter, hotel rooms, and sometimes in the convenience of my home office to take in all of the TFD goodness.

Some folks like reality television, sitcoms, or bing watching their favorite series - but for me, I must admit Tech Field Day provides for me a simliar level of enjoyment.  Maybe it is the thrill of being "front and center" and catching the latest in what the industry has to offer.  Maybe it's the joy of the "damn that is cool" or "why didn't I think of that" thoughts that cross my mind.  Maybe it is the guilty pleasure of watching the interaction between the delegates and the presenters, anticipating what is going to happen next.  Maybe it is spontaneity of the whole thing - like the nerf gun war during the Pure presentation, which I still remember to this day.  Maybe it is the "ah ha" moments and realizing just how much I don't know and jotting down a bunch of things I need to go learn about.  I am sure it is a combination of all of the above.

Last year, I was fortunate to engage with TFD in a new way, and participate first hand at TFD Xtra at VMworld as a presenter for DataGravity, which was an absolute highlight.  Once getting warmed up and getting a few of the nerves out (which goes along with sitting in the proverbial "hot seat"), I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  It was a blast to share customer stories, dialogue and answer questions from the delegates, as well as  listen and gather input.  TFD provides such a valuable format for all those involved and as I have seen directly the impact it makes for a presenting company, with new features and functions being introduced as a result of delegate feedback.

And so now, in less then two weeks I have been invited to participate in yet a new way to this series of events for which I have become so fond.  It is an absolute privilege to be asked to participate as a delegate at the upcoming Storage Field Day 10.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself that all of this is happening but not for too long, as there is some good work to be done. After all, this is my rookie debut as a delegate and so some solid preparation is required - like reading the newbie FAQs, reviewing past presentations from the tech vendor lineup, and catching up on some rest before the event.

To state that I am excited would be a major understatement.  What a great opportunity to engage with TFD in a new way, with a new perspective, working alongside amazing delegates - all while learning about some of the great new innovations coming out of the tech community.  My geek tank is full.  See you in Silicon Valley or on the twitter stream at #SFD10

 

Disclaimer: I am attending Storage Field Day 10 as a guest of GestaltIT and they paid for travel and accommodations. I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog.

And so the Journey Continues.....

Just over two years ago I made a change professionally that was a catalyst for my career.  I joined the proverbial "Dark Side" of IT working at my first OEM as a solutions architect.  My years at DataGravity were simply amazing.  Contributing to product launch, developing a channel business, building a customer base, and always being the internal advocate of the customer.  All invaluable experiences that have forever shaped me.  

I have heard it said "The person that you will be in five years is based on the books you read and the people you surround yourself with today."  If this is in fact true, then my five years look bright - and it is not because I am good at reading.  The people that I have had the fortune of surrounding myself and developing friendships with over the last couple of years has without question, been the most incredible part of the journey.  

As my time with DataGravity begun starting to wind down, I drew on inspiration gathered from a couple of episodes from one of my favorite podcasts, The Geek Whisperers. In particular, Scott Lowe's advice to never underestimate the power of your own community and Kenneth Hui's genuine vulnerability, absolute trust & reliance on his network to call in quits without the next job lined up.  Thank you both, and of course the Geek Whisperers crew for providing such timely inspiration because when the rubber meets the road, the community did not disappoint.

In fact, things can happen very FAST...sometimes TOO FAST and before I knew it my head was swimming, combing over what the next career move would be.  Drawing on good advice from several friends I realized quickly that I needed to take take a break before jumping back into the fast lane.  I was fortunate enough to enjoy some much needed time at home, as well as take a few trips to see some old friends.  A key highlight during this time off was observing Andy Banta in his natural habitat - an absolute bucket list item for those who have not had the experience.  Trust me.

And so the journey continues.  I am very excited to announce that I have begun working at River Point Technology with a focus on emerging technology, predictive analytics, and cloud enablement for a strong and ever growing customer base.

During this time, not a resume was transferred nor a suit put on - yet there was plenty of opportunity.  I don't say that to boast but rather to draw upon and confirm that my greatest professional assets are the very people I meet, help, and get help from on a daily basis.  Thank you all.

Securing Files Containing Sensitive Data

Everyday I see more and more sensitive information being saved in places where security is wide open.  Credit Cards, Intellectual Property, Social Security Numbers, Private Certificates - you name it - I have seen it.  So I wanted to build on a series of recent posts to demonstrate how PowerShell can be used to help secure sensitive files. In this workflow we will identify sensitive files using the DataGravity Discovery system, secure them with PowerShell, and validate our updates.

THE WORKFLOW

  1. Identify files containing sensitive data with DataGravity and export files names. (CSV format)
  2. Run the ChangeFilePermissions.ps1 PowerShell script
  3. Validate Permission Changes and restore original permissions if required.

Identify Sensitive DAta

In earlier posts I have highlighted easy ways to find sensitive data using the DataGravity search and dynamic tagging.  An example of these sensitive tags are social security numbers lurking in unsecured files.  The simple search below returns this list of files residing on a public share. 

We can export this information out to a CSV file and use it as an input parameter in then next step.

THE SCRIPT

The full ChangePermissions PowerShell script is available on my Powershell repo on GitHub.  Let's look at an example of how to run it:

ChangeFilePermissions.ps1 -ShareFilePath "\\CorporateDrive\Public" -csvFilePath "c:\temp\public.csv" -SensitiveTag "SS" -logFile "C:\Temp\FilesPermissionChanges.log

Script parameters:

-ShareFilePath is the path to share where the files containing sensitive data live.  In our example it is the public share.

-csvFilePath is the path to the exported CSV listing all files, including those that contain sensitive information. This is an export from a DataGravity search.

-SensitiveTag the sensitive tag(s) to look for when selecting which files to secure (Ex. SS, CC, Email Address, etc.)

-logFile is an optional location for where we want to log the activity of what files have been secured.

Securing Files with Sensitive Data

It is very important to place emphasis on the fact that when dealing with automation and the modification of security permissions for anything we must BE CAREFUL and be sure to have our UNDO button handy.  Remember that just as fast as you can automate a process, you can equally as fast have a royal mess on your hands.  Check out my UNDO button later in the post.

In the example below, we are running the ChangeFilePermissions.ps1 script against the public folder to deny access to all files that containing social security numbers.  The script can be modified to include other sensitive tags or a combination of tags.

We secured 30 files on the share by changing their security access.  This is validated by looking at the activity timeline within DataGravity, which confirms that the 'set ACL' operation was performed on the files.

VALIDATE SECURITY

We can also validate the security of the files was updated by attempting to access one of the files and verifying that we no longer have permission to view the file.  This is validated by: i) output log from the script ii) security tab of the file properties.

The UNDO Button

I personally always like to have a back out plan when making large amounts of changes - after all who doesn't like and UNDO button? DataGravity's Discovery Points work very well as my UNDO button and therefore I recommend creating a manual one before running the script.

This gives us the ability to restore any or all of the modified files to their original security settings.  You can see that it is easy to view previous versions for any file and restore if needed, including the original permissions.

I hope you find this walkthrough and script valuable to making your environment more secure.