https blogBy Robbie Adair, PS LIGHTWAVE Consultant

To HTTP or to HTTPS

No need to debate this age-old question any longer, the evidence out there definitely says you should use HTTPS on all your websites, even if they don’t handle sensitive communications. Not only is HTTPS becoming a requirement for many of the new web browsers and progressive web apps, it provides security and data integrity for both your websites and your users' personal information.

The Long Journey

When a user visits your website, they use a browser that then sends a request to your web server. The browser software is probably safe on their side, and you (hopefully) have secured your web server. So all things look good, right? But just like in the old west, the danger the Pony Express faced were the open fields between. That’s right, there are open fields that your website data goes across to get to the visitor’s browser, and that is where HTTPS comes into help save the day and prevent outlaws from stealing your data. These outlaws come in many variations, like illegal hackers, and even legal companies that inject ads into pages on their journey to the browser.

team swen wulfBy Jennifer Henderson, Communications Manager

Swen Wulf joined PS Lightwave as Network Architect and Security Manager in 2014 after working for Phonoscope Enterprises Group as Network Security Manager since 2002. With over 20 years in the IT world, Swen has extensive experience and knowledge of IP networks. Having worked at Solid Systems and Network Oil, Swen knows both sides of the Information Technology relationship and has a personal understanding how important it is that the customers’ servers are running and their network is secure.

He finds interest in the open source software scene. “The concept of many different skilled programmers working together on a project to improve software is amazing. There is so much talent out there.” The network world is full of specialization, and Mr. Wulf has a good all-around understanding of it. He can troubleshoot a Linux box having an issue one day, and a packet loss on a private Ethernet circuit the next.

robert switchBy Robert Jacobs, Network Architect Director

During the recent presidential inauguration, heavy demand was placed on the PS LIGHTWAVE IP network. Customers were streaming video and audio and data from tablets, phones, laptops, desktops and IPTV devices across our market. January 20, 2017 was also the best day ever. It was proof that our engineering and our concepts worked. We delivered twice the amount of traffic over a three-hour period. There were no network issues and no problems for our customers. The Switched Layer 2 network routed all traffic beautifully. 

Switched Layer 2: How it Works

Today’s modern Layer 2 switched network architecture, sometimes referred to as metro Ethernet or an Internet Protocol (IP) network, combines Carrier Ethernet and switches in ringed configurations, offering greater throughput, lower latency and less maintenance than a legacy network design. In an IP network, the bigger the pipe, the greater the capacity. Traffic chooses its own routing path, which reduces delays. 

John Lambert

PS LIGHTWAVE is pleased to announce that John Lambert, former Vice President of Technical Operations for enTouch Systems, has joined the PS LIGHTWAVE management team as the new Vice President of Operations. Former VP of Operations, David Caddle, was promoted to the position of Chief Revenue Officer, where he will be responsible for all revenue generation processes at PS LIGHTWAVE.

Mr. Lambert brings 26 years of experience in business development, financial performance and staff productivity to his new role with PS LIGHTWAVE. During his previous tenure with enTouch Systems and Grande Communications, Mr. Lambert launched successful network upgrades and gained expertise in capital approval processes, customer retention and satisfaction, new product launches, higher market penetration rates and increases in reoccurring monthly revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).  

PS LIGHTWAVE staff caught up with Mr. Lambert recently to discuss his career in telecommunications.

How did your career create value in your life? How has it shaped who you are?

I started in this industry 26 years ago as an installation technician. The value of hard work and dedication, with its constant emphasis on providing superior customer satisfaction and service, has enabled me to grow my career to where it is today. Starting from the frontline and moving up through the ranks of business has allowed me to experience success on many levels, as well as opportunities to be mentored by many along the way. The insights these experiences have brought me professionally and personally are priceless.

Password TipsBy Swen Wulf, Network Architect and Security Manager

Password security as a topic comes up from time to time. The most important thing you need to know about password security is to use complex passwords. Typically, people create a complex password, but then the same password is used on multiple sites. The problem with this is that if your account on Website A is compromised and you used the same email and password on Website B, you are going to be exposed and busy for a while changing passwords everywhere.

Today, most websites require a password with upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers. They also have length requirements. I use a trick that has been effective in avoiding the reusing of a password, so if a hacker gets access to one of your accounts, you have to only worry about that account and not all of your online accounts.

swen interviewPS LIGHTWAVE’s private network uses industry best practices and standards to ensure the safety of your data and mission-critical applications. It starts with the security awareness of our own staff, the training we use, our configuration management, the maintenance procedures, outage handling and secure and limited access to our infrastructure. We are a facilities-based network, which means we manage the network from A to Z. Our goal is to provide our customers with quality service, and security plays a large part in achieving this goal.

Our network staff undergoes background checks and certification training. Depending on a team member’s role, access to infrastructure on the network is limited. This allows the right access for troubleshooting or configuring a device and reduces the potential for human error.

kkKevin Kane, senior project manager for PS LIGHTWAVE, was recently selected to head the five-member PS LIGHTWAVE project management group. "With his project experience, especially dealing with carriers and carrier backhaul, he is bringing that knowledge to coach and manage new project managers to handle our growth," said David Caddle, PS LIGHTWAVE CRO.

Kevin began his telecommunications career in 2001, assisting with aerial construction before switching over to the outside plant permitting group. "My job was to find the best, most easily constructed route while collecting permitting data," Kevin said. He gained valuable knowledge of the importance of quality control and accurate site surveys as an assistant project supervisor.

ransomwareRansomware is on the rise, and the FBI is asking organizations to report the crime to provide a better understanding of the threat. Ransomware encrypts files and documents on hard drives and servers so that the documents cannot be opened without paying a ransom for an encryption key.

One of the best ways to prevent Ransomware from shutting down your network system is to educate employees on the possibility that someone may be falsely representing the company via email. This process, called "phishing," uses a fake internal email address.

TOP100Workplaces2016Each year, the Houston Chronicle and Workplace Dynamics select 150 Top Workplaces in Houston. The Top Workplace award winners are chosen to participate from a pool of 280,000 businesses in the Greater Houston Area.

How Nominees are Selected

Once a business has been nominated by one of its employees, Workplace Dynamics follows up by administering a third-party survey to all company employees. The employee survey weighs responses to 23 statements to determine how companies measure up in key areas including direction and values, execution on plans, connection with employees, training and work/life balance, relationships with managers, employee engagement, and pay and benefits.