Regardless of your business’s size, it is dependent upon a stable networking environment that guarantees access to business critical computing resources whether you are in the office, at home, or somewhere in between.
Ross Goldstein joined the All Covered team through a recent acquisition. With more than 25 years of experience working with technology, Ross has gained a well-deserved reputation as a Networking Subject Matter Expert (SME).
Andreas: Please tell us how you came to be employed with All Covered.
Ross: I joined Techcare back in 1988 as an Apple technician. My main focus was supporting Apple environments in the schools–that meant working with Apple II and Macintosh platforms. Early on I developed a passion for our educational clients by being able to directly impact the use of technology through the delivery of curriculum. At that time, Apple’s networking scheme was proprietary, but later on we were able to integrate into non-Apple environments. I had to understand non-Apple networking environments well enough to know how add Macs to different systems such Novell, DEC/VAX, LANtastic, and AS-400. Our team became cross-platform experts which helped us with our business clients because we were able to differentiate our expertise against that of our competitors.
In 1998 I became a partner and the CTO at Techcare. I continued to develop my networking skills through hands-on experiences with our clients coupled with a consistent level of training. A few years later, we developed our managed services practice which provided us with additional networking tool sets and services to offer our clients.
Andreas: Please identify your role in the company and the market to which you are attached.
Ross: My current role includes overall technical direction; I am the final escalation point for our clients and our staff. As a Senior Solutions Architect for the Chicago market I’m involved with the majority of our clients’ educational and business critical networking infrastructures.
Andreas: What is “networking” is and why does it matter to small and medium-sized businesses?
Ross: Today networking plays a vital role in any organization. The network provides a foundation and delivery mechanism that ensures our clients have access to the resources they need. Not too long ago, the network just existed in a single location such as an office or a computer lab in a school. But now even our smallest clients’ networks are no longer in a single location. With new technologies, the network has been extended through Wi-Fi and cellular services, and also by adding VPN (virtual private network) access to encrypted critical resources. Our role to our small and medium-sized businesses is more important than ever due to the extensibility of the network. Our planning and support of the network must provide the expected performance, access, and the protection of those resources.
Andreas: What is the difference between having networking experience and being a Networking SME?
Ross: I believe a Networking SME must have networking experience especially when working with small to medium-sized clients. But just because someone has networking experience does not necessarily make them a Networking SME. While a person with some networking experience may be able to install a switch, router, or firewall or even connect the network to the Internet, they might not have the skills or knowledge to take into account what is critical to the client or to their operation. Someone who only has some networking experience may not have the expertise to identify and provide the best, customized network to meet a client’s unique needs. When providing networking services, a Networking SME should be able to guarantee the following:
- A network design that will minimize service outages
- A network designthat will protect against data exposure and loss
- A network design that provides accessibility
- A network design that provides scalability
- A network design that provides interoperability
- A network design that provides the necessary tools needed for troubleshooting– even the smallest client should have a switch that supports SNMP (simple network monitoring protocol) so that in the event that issues arise, network alerts can be generated and problems remediated.
Andreas: What did it take for you to become a NetworkingSME?
Ross: My expertise consists of 25 years of hands-on technical experiences. I first realized I had a passion for technology when I was a child and my father brought home a digital alarm clock from Heathkit.I realized that I liked tinkering with electronics when I repaired my first portable Zenith AM tube radio which I keep in my office (it still works).
I started my formal education at Control Data Institute where I completed the Electronics Technology program. I then went to Georgia Tech and started their engineering program. Later, I returned to Chicago and attended Oakton Community College and finally University of Illinois. I hold multiple certifications in Cisco, Microsoft, EqualLogic, Novell, A+, WebSense, LightSpeed, Apple, HP, and IBM. Throughout the years I’ve attended formal training classes at Cisco, Apple, Ingram Micro, Microsoft, and other workshops. I’m also a firm believer in the necessity of providing a lab environment for our engineers to test out scenarios – we don’t figure it out, we ‘configure’ it out.
Andreas: How do clients benefit from having a tech support company that has a Networking SME on the team?
Ross: Our clients benefit because we provide the following:
- Interoperability expertise for dissimilar networking infrastructures
- Network design based on proven standards
- Networking projects that are on time and on budget based on best practices
- Effective troubleshooting toensure maximum uptime
Andreas: Looking forward through 2012, how do you think the acquisition will affect your clients and staff?
Ross: I’m excited for the opportunity to join the All Covered team. While we’re still in the transition phase of the acquisition, it has allowed us to bring additional depth to our clients and our staff.