Manufacturers must have computer systems that work. When talking about making systems that keep working, we often talk about "hardening" the system, but that can be misleading. Some things are hard but brittle, in that they can resist light pressure but shatter under a hard shock. What you really want are systems that are resilient—able to absorb shocks and bounce back without breaking. That sounds good, but how do you translate “resilient” into an operational computer system?
Windows 10 got off to a flying start, with business users quicker to adopt it than any previous version of Microsoft’s operating system. They were lured by the company’s promise that this was the most secure Windows ever. They were promised that it was easier to manage and that productivity of employees and IT departments would rise. The evidence shows that this time, the promises might have been true.
Remember the days when no one had a PC at work, let alone at home? When a few people punched cards to be fed into computing machines that occupied whole rooms? Probably not. These days, an employee might not go on holiday with the family without half a dozen computers among them—laptop, a couple of tablets, phones (that are really computers), e-readers, smart watches, and so on.
You can’t manage an IT system effectively if you don’t know what it comprises. It’s alarmingly easy to lose sight of what makes up your IT ecosystem. And the job isn’t made easier by developments like employees bringing their own devices to work.
When we look at network switch specifications, we tend to fixate on the numbers for the front of the box. Switches are sold on the basis of how many ports of a particular speed they make available to the network. It's easy to understand why we do this, but it gives a picture of the switch that is, at best, incomplete. At worst, the picture we get is misleading, and advancing technology could make the picture even less accurate.