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Integrated Distributors Incorporated (IDI), a publically traded company, has its home office located in Billings, Montana. IDI has more than 3,000 employees in the following locations:
Billings, Montana,
600 employees
Sao Paulo, Brazil,
580 employees
Warsaw, Poland,
975 employees
Sydney, Australia,
340 employees
Tanzania, Africa,
675 employees
Japan, China, and Hong
Kong, 700 employees
IDI has accounts with major market retailers, federal governments, and large state governments. IDI operates a fleet of trucks in each country and has network interface agreements with subcontractors for freight forwarding, storage, and delivery.
IDI is responsible for the movement of goods, from multiple manufacturers and distributors to its clients, in a timely and efficient manner using cost-effective methods. Alternatively, IDI may transfer this responsibility to one of its joint ventures (JVs) or strategic alliances (SAs), if it is more cost-effective and the income differential is within acceptable limits.
IDI is also under pressure for several of its competitors in the logistics industry. The competitive market is driving IDI to improve its routes, delivery methods, fleet vehicles, and other facets of its business to increase profits (a strategic goal) and to reduce costs. The company realizes that the information technology infrastructure has been neglected for some time and that many operating locations are running on outdated hardware and software. On several occasions last year, IDI suffered no less than four network compromises through one of its JV Internet sites that led to the disclosure of sensitive and strategic information on contracts and mergers.
The chief information officer (CIO) made a strategic presentation to the board of directors and executive management to first assess the aging infrastructure and then, develop a multi-year phased approach to have all sites (except for JV and SA) on the same hardware and software platforms. Now that the funding has been approved for the infrastructure assessment, the CIO has asked you to update your passport, and buy some new luggage.
Information about the assessment provided to you indicates that the current state core infrastructure (switches, routers, firewalls, servers, and so on) must be capable of withstanding 10-15
% growth every year for the next seven years with a three-to-four-year phased technology refresh cycle.
There is a hodgepodge of servers, switches, routers, and internal hardware firewalls. Your review also disclosed that much (almost all) of the infrastructure is woefully out-of-date in terms of patches and upgrades. This operational neglect has unduly increased the risk to the network, in terms of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Since this will be a multi-year technology upgrade project, something must be done to reduce IDI’s exposure to vulnerabilities to increase the overall security profile and reduce the risk profile.
Your inventory and review of the data center indicated the following requirements:
14 Hewlett-Packard
(HP) UNIX servers
Four with operating
system 8.5 (one of them is used for application development)
Four with
operating system 9.X
Six with some
version of 11.X (one is used for test and production migration staging)
75 Microsoft Windows
2003 servers (equally split between production, test, and development)
Five application
Five Exchange e-mail
Core applications
include the following:
Microsoft Exchange
Oracle financials
for accounting and financial systems
Logisuite 4.2.2
installed approximately 10 years ago, has not been upgraded, however over
350 modifications have been made to the core engine and the support
license agreement has expired. Renewing this product will be extremely
expensive, and the progressive upgrading to the current version is cost-
and time-prohibitive.
RouteSim, a
destination delivery program, is used to simulate routes, costs, and
profits. However, it is not integrated into Logisuite or Oracle financials
to take advantage of the databases for real-time currency valuation and
profit or loss projections.
IDI has not
standardized on the office automation hardware and software. If a manager
likes HP, he buys HP whereas another manager may acquire Toshiba. Of the 600
workstations at headquarters, 200 are HP, 150 are Toshiba, 175 are IBM, 50
are Dell, and the rest are Apple PowerBook, although no graphics or computer-aided
design (CAD) software is available to maximize the PowerBook.
Office software
ranges from several word processing packages of various vintages, such as
Lotus SmartSuite, early versions of Microsoft Office 5, WordPerfect 7.0,
and PC-Write. None of the packages is capable of integration with the
other, and transferring files often cause corruption when opened in a
package other than the original creation.
has not been updated since the company moved into its current headquarters
15 years ago. This has left many of the new features for telecommunication
lacking and not integrated with the customer service database to improve
call management efficiency. The non-descript system was acquired for a
service provider that is now out of business and limited spare parts are
Even though
polices exist that prohibit the introduction of personal devices, such as
BlackBerry or Blueberry, iPods, and iPhones, many of the executives have
had local administrators install the clients on their unsupported, non-standard
personal laptop computers, and workstations that interface with the
Internet. The devices have little, if any, protective measures to prevent
exposure and loss of data or network compromise.
The original wide
area network (WAN) was designed by MCI in the early 2000s and has not been
upgraded. Several data rate increases have occurred in the Asian offices,
and Brazil has been distressed. During peak periods, usually between
September and March, the capacity is insufficient for the organization. Many
times, the Internet customers are lost due to dropped connections and
abandoned shopping baskets, further reducing growth and revenue.
works through a limited Mitel SX-2000 private automatic branch exchange (PABX)
that only provides voice mail and call forwarding.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
While earning frequent flyer miles and increasing your personal growth, your arrival in the Sao Paulo office is followed by many pleasant surprises. You discover that the Brazil office is a model of standardization. The Brazil office has the following setup:
30 Microsoft
Windows for file and print
4 Linux (UNIX)
servers for major production applications
2 Linux (UNIX) servers
with the Internet zone with Juniper high-speed switches and routers
A storage area
network based on EMC CLARiiON
SAP R/3 (ECC6-Portal
based apps)
Materials management
IBM Lenovo T 600 standard
portable computers
Up-to-date information
security policies, although in Spanish
The telephone
system provided by SP Telesis—one of the four competing providers in the
metropolitan city
The NEC NEAX 2400
series PABX used for internal and external communications
No problems were noted here, but it was good to get out of the office and see the world. Although, two technicians are available for this network, vendors are unwilling to sign service agreements or commit to defined standards for service response. Both technicians are qualified with one being a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) who has little experience in the WAN environment. The Sao Paulo office is connected to the corporate office through an on-demand virtual private network (VPN) connection with a common six-character password that is used by all office personnel and the shipping and receiving departments. While sitting in the cafeteria one afternoon, you hear one of the technicians discussing increasing the privileges of the shipping supervisor’s account. The shipping supervisor claimed that he would be more efficient if he could see inbound receipts based on sales and had privileges equivalent to the general manager. No anti-virus or malware is installed, as hackers have never attacked the location.
Warsaw, Poland
Strategically staged to assist IDI for major growth in the Middle East and Asia, the office in Poland is the home portal for expansion and geographical client development.
Although this is the largest office, based on employees, this office has minimally sufficient computing power to stay afloat on day-to-day activities. The hardware and other networking essentials of this office are as follows:
86 Microsoft
Windows servers for file, print, and basic network connectivity
6 Qantel UNIX
servers for major production applications
S&S, the
primary freight forwarding application is about 10 years old and does not
interface with the McCormack dodge accounting and finance system
6 Web servers (4 are
primary and 2 fail during clustered load balancing)
IBM Infinity
hardened server serving as a proxy for the network
infrastructure include 6 Cisco switches to break the department up in to
transaction zones–Catalyst 49XX series
Shipping and
Internet, with
self-service pages for small to medium customers
Intranet to keep
staff trained on various aspects of changing custom laws and regulations
Global Positioning
System (GPS) performance monitoring to control the large fleet of trucks
with location transmitters
A separate access
enclave is used for unmonitored access from strategic alliance and JV
A public wireless
network is sponsored in the cafeteria running WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
with no password
is a Siemens Saturn series Private Branch Exchange (PBX) approximately 8
years old, and some of the features have become faulty. The desktop phones
have not been replaced or upgraded during this time.
Mareck, the son-in-law of the shipping director, has the technical responsibility for network operations, information technology (IT) security, and end user computing. Mareck earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture and worked as a hothouse tender before marrying Loueasa, who is responsible for IDI’s accounts receivable department. Although the accounts always balance, noticeable period end adjustments seem necessary since Mareck and Loueasa bought their new multi-story home.