The SWMI Story

Formatting a computer is so easy that anyone can do it.  Maintaining a secure, well-managed infrastructure is not; it requires not only someone who understands computers, but a good deal of common sense.  The goal of SWMI.CA is to educate people on the best ways to do this, whether they use a single computer with a wireless router at home, if they manage tens of thousands of systems in a corporate environment, or virtually anyone in between.

Secure: There is not a single aspect of IT that is the silver bullet for a secure environment; consider aspects such as intrusion prevention, protection from malware, data theft and sniffing as just a number of considerations for a secure environment.  Do not think that since you installed a router that also has a firewall you are necessarily secure.

Well-Managed: The old truism states that if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.  Imagine you are the manager of a company ultimately responsible for production, hiring and firing, payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable.  How could you possibly manage efficiently without knowing how many employees you have, or how many of your product you make in a given time frame?  What about costs?  You wouldn't know how many of your product must be sold – and for how much – for your company to be profitable.  IT is the same way.  It is vital that as a systems manager you have the right tools to know what you have and what is going on at any given time.  If servers go down will it be more efficient to wait for people to start complaining, or would you be better off knowing as soon as the server indicates that it is about to fail?

Infrastructure: Many of us do not consider that just like an architect your IT infrastructure should be planned out in advance before the first nail is driven (note: you should not use nails on your computers!).  Ask questions like 'What do I want to do with my systems?' 'Do I have the proper tools to achieve my goals?' and 'How do I leverage the tools that I have (or that I need to acquire) to achieve my goals in a secure, well-managed way?' based on those questions and answers, plan out your environment on paper before going ahead.  Get a second opinion to make sure you didn't miss anything important.  Then build the infrastructure that you will be able to manage and maintain securely going forward.

Maintaining a secure, well-managed infrastructure is not rocket science… but it is a science and not, as some claim, an art.  If you are an IT professional then take pride in your work and make sure it gets done properly.  If you are an end user then remember the next time you turn on your computer and it not only works as it should, but has not been compromised then thank your IT pro!

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