System Administration

We take care of all aspects of your IT infrastructure.
We manage Windows, Linux, networks, backups, mail servers and web servers.
As a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), we offer you the best possible service for your cloud strategy with Office 365 and Azure.
With our advice, we help you to accelerate the digitalisation of your processes.
Our support solves both large and small problems your users have in a structured and reliable manner.
With 24/7 monitoring of your IT systems, we identify problems before users are affected.

Network Management

We plan, create and monitor your entire IT network. Safety and reliability always come first.
We configure central firewalls, routers and switches and integrate all components – from printers to load balancers.
Our monitoring system oversees your infrastructure 24/7 and sounds an alarm in the event of a malfunction.

In modern IT landscapes, networks are just as important as the computers themselves. Without a network, there is practically no digital collaboration. IP networks are therefore a special aspect of IT infrastructure. If problems arise here, whole departments are often affected, or even the entire company.
A lot needs to be done to ensure that the network functions reliably and securely. Traffic shaping and QoS (quality of service), for example, ensure that important services get enough bandwidth. Layer-7 policies and DNS control ensure that the network is not used for improper purposes such as social media, video streaming or peer-to-peer applications.
The use of network address translation (NAT), a STUN server and port forwarding enable secure IP telephony with your SIP provider. Sometimes IP packets have to be recorded using tcpdump and analysed in detail in order for it to be possible to operate the network without errors. Port security defines which devices can be operated on a network connection.
The list of topics is almost endless.

If we are allowed to help shape the product selection, we rely on two very different but combinable concepts. On the one hand, we look to pfSense, and, on the other, to Meraki from Cisco.
As an open source system, pfSense is based on BSD. It is extremely safe, very flexible and the price cannot be beaten. However, pfSense requires experience and knowledge of Unix and the network protocols used. On the other hand, Cisco Meraki stands out for its simple, cloud-based operation, its high level of user-friendliness and good support. We have had very good experiences here, especially with regard to site networking and the provision of secure WiFi.

No matter what, we ensure that your network is securely available.

Security

IT systems need to be available, and the information processed must be protected against misuse. Threats due to ransomware, password spoofing, viruses and fully automated Internet attacks are growing all the time. Nothing works today without IT. Disaster recovery must therefore also be budgeted for and tested in good time. A company needs to be able to control who has access to which parts of its information at all times.
We analyse your setup, suggest appropriate measures to achieve your goals, and then implement those measures.

A well-functioning backup system protects against data loss and is therefore the basis of every security concept. These days, all systems that are accessible on the Internet are subject to permanent and automatic attacks. The use of properly configured firewalls is essential.
However, the company network is also not a place where blind trust should prevail. Many successful attacks are carried out from within. Special attention should therefore be paid to the topics of network security, permissions management, restriction of administrator rights and monitoring.
Desktop systems have to be kept up-to-date at all times in order to close any known security gaps as quickly as possible. An up-to-date anti-virus system must be permanently running, with up-to-date signatures. Logins with passwords should be supplemented by MFA (multi-factor authentication).
Employees in the home office need secure connections to the central infrastructure via VPN.
In the event of a disaster, such as a burst pipe, a fire or a ransomware attack, your systems may need to continue running seamlessly at another location, or at least be able to be quickly restored there. A hybrid strategy, in which, for example, Azure is available as a high-availability reserve data centre, can be a good solution.
Encryption of messages and data may also be particularly important in your company. Encryption of emails and files with the help of S/MIME or PGP can help here.

We are always by your side when it comes to security and protecting your IT.

Server Management

Although cloud services are now also being used more and more in small and medium-sized companies, a company’s own servers are often the heart of its IT.
We make sure that your Windows, Linux and VMware servers are running securely. Of course, we also take care of your applications. We manage Active Directory, databases, mail servers, file servers, print servers and much more. Our consultancy will support you in finding the optimal decision for your server architecture.

We understand server management to mean all the work that is necessary to keep the server operating system stable, secure and properly configured. Initially, it doesn’t matter whether this relates to Windows, Linux or VMware systems. We offer manual and automatic procedures for patch management. We’re fans of automatic updates. This is especially true for terminal servers, on which a wide variety of software is often installed. But, of course, we also patch manually if desired or required. In any case, patching requires transparent planning, which we would be happy to draw up for you.

Monitoring is particularly important for the servers. Alarms need to be triggered when, for example, disk space is running out, a mail queue is getting fuller and fuller, a service via TCP on a remote computer can no longer be reached, or the connection to a network drive for a specific user can no longer be established. The list could go on almost indefinitely.
When it comes to security, it is essential to at least set local permissions and firewall rules. However, it may also be necessary to configure audit logs and perform log file analyses.

Every server has services that run on it. The question of which service runs on which server is an important aspect of the architecture of your IT landscape, which we would be happy to plan or review with you. Of course, on every server, there are services and applications running that have to be managed. The spectrum here is almost infinite. We support the administration of many standard systems, such as Active Directory, file servers and print servers. We integrate Linux systems with Samba in your Windows domain or carry out AD migrations using the Active Directory Migration Tool. In the area of databases, we offer management for SQLServer, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Apache Cassandra. We always pay special attention to integration of the server services with the backup system. As specialists in software development with Java, we, of course, also take care of managing JEE servers, such as Wildfly, Glassfish, or Apache Tomcat.

Desktop/Laptop Management

The days of sneakernets are over! Badly maintained endpoints are a real threat to IT security and productivity. Software has to be professionally configured for everything to work. We do this economically and professionally and also rely on automation and remote management. We keep systems up-to-date and secure. If your users do at some point need help though, we assist quickly via remote support.

From a detailed perspective, the requirements are complex:
Not only the operating system, but also the installed software must be updated regularly. Printers, drives and the VPN need to be set up. The softphone, Outlook and other Office programs have to be configured. The headset must work properly for Teams. Drivers have to be updated, and the secure login to the laptop using a smart card needs to work.
Virus scans must be carried out regularly, and users should not be able to switch this protection off. The laptop’s hard drive should be encrypted. Security guidelines are defined centrally with rules.
Perhaps you want a central catalogue of hardware and software to make an inventory of your assets. A support employee needs to be able to access the screen if necessary. The local permissions of the users probably have to be restricted in order to keep the system stable over a prolonged period of time.
It is almost impossible to do any of this manually. We therefore rely on group guidelines and the Desktop Central software from Manage Engine to optimally maintain your laptops and desktops.

Backup Management

Backup is life insurance against disasters, unintentional deletion of data, and sabotage. Its importance cannot be overestimated. We plan, implement and control your backup – and can gladly use VEEAM or Bacula for this. Whether servers, files, databases or emails – we will see to it that your data can be restored.

There are many technologies to choose from: cloud backup, tape drives, hard drives or virtual tape libraries. The solution is always a compromise and depends on your requirements. Storage duration, speed of restoration, offline storage, budget and, of course, the capabilities of the chosen backup system all have a big influence on the choice.
As a rule, the systems must flexibly support many different requirements: while a daily backup may be sufficient for the file server, databases often need hourly backups in order to keep losses within an acceptable range should the worst come to the worst. Securing emails in Office 365 requires different methods than when using a Linux mail system. The requirements when backing up and restoring a Sharepoint server are very different from those for a simple file backup. When backing up virtual servers, the system must be able to handle VSS or other snapshot technologies. Usually, these backup jobs need to executed with the highest possible privileges, which requires careful planning of the architecture. There are important connections between backup and IT security. For example, if the system runs on Windows and is integrated in the Active Directory domain, this may be convenient in terms of administration, but it also means that an attacker is with domain admin rights can probably destroy all online backups. A tape backup could help here – provided the tapes are removed often enough. Backups especially have to work when large parts of the infrastructure are no longer available. The subject quickly becomes complex…

Put your backup in our hands. We will make sure that it works.

Software Development

We are professionals in commercial software development. The implementation of complex systems based on Java and open source technology has shaped us. To this day, it is the focus of our business activities. We prefer to develop using agile methods.

Our Technologies

A broad spectrum.

After almost two decades, a lot has come together in this area. Java and object orientation have remained. Microservices with Docker and Kubernetes are often our method of choice these days. But systems based on JEE or Struts are still in production, and we develop these further. In current architectures, distributed systems are more the rule than the exception. Today, REST is the de facto standard for communication between the components, and we use this as well as SOAP or RMI. We also generally integrate cloud services such as Amazon S3 or DynamoDB with REST. NoSQL databases have become more and more important in the last few years. In recent years, we have implemented an increasing number of projects with the document-oriented database MongoDB and the key-value database Apache Cassandra. Even so, relational databases with SQL still play an important role. As developers, we have experience with most products. As a rule, we encapsulate the access via object-relational mappers such as Hibernate or Eclipselink. Our direct experience with relational databases is essential when it comes to, for example, optimising queries or database structures.

In the front-end area, we do a lot with Javascript or Typescript. But the JSF standard also plays a central role. Our focus here is usually on generating HTML and Javascript on the server side. The frameworks RichFaces or PrimeFaces are then very often used. However, the client-side generation of HTML and Javascript with, for example, Angular and React is becoming more and more important for us. We rely on GIT for the administration of the source code and the control of the development processes. We usually use Apache Maven or Gradle as the build tool.

Project Execution and Collaboration

As an IT service provider, we are always open to integrating ourselves into the processes of our clients. On the other hand, we can also implement your project independently with our tried and tested methods and processes. After all, we have more than 10 years of experience in commercial software development. During this time, we have learned that there is no standard procedure for implementing individual software projects. The following two types of project have emerged as a recurring pattern for us over time:

Expansion of your development team

As the client, you already have all the technological and methodological competence to realise your software project. Your technical project manager has experience in software development based on a division of the tasks and labour. You just lack the manpower.
Once we have understood your requirements, we put together a team of software developers for you. Since we only work with our own developers, it can happen that we cannot cover all frameworks immediately. We then create a training plan to prepare the developers perfectly for their task. If your capacity requirements exceed our reserves, we will expand the team with new hires. Our local management in India ensures that the new team members are quickly integrated and trained. During the first few weeks of our collaboration, one of our managing directors from Germany will supervise the project activities. He ensures a high degree of efficiency right from the start and will remain your contact person. During this phase, we focus our attention primarily on the topics of communication, user stories and project management.
After a short time, your project manager can implement the first work packages with the team. Experience has shown that our collaboration will be in full stride after 3–4 weeks. The team takes part in sprint planning or sprint reviews, estimates the effort involved and implements the programming according to your quality criteria. The team works with your toolchain and dovetails seamlessly into your existing project environment. The source code can be managed in either your repository or ours. Billing takes place monthly and is based on detailed records of time and task tracking.

Product Development

We take care of all the details involved in executing the project. We have experience in logistics, wind energy, shipbuilding, the global travel market, and many more areas. From the mobile app to the clustered server application, we have already reliably delivered numerous types of software. We will develop the architecture based on your requirements. We pay special attention here to reliability and the capability for modification and maintenance. Of course, we will coordinate everything with you. The implementation is then agile. We make sure that you can try out the product as early as possible. The early feedback enables early corrections. This approach requires a professional technical setup in which we roll out the future production system in its environment piece by piece. This effort pays off. The go-live is then ideally just an organisational decision. Here, too, billing is usually carried out monthly on an at-cost basis. If the software specification is sufficiently set in stone, we can also carry out billing after completion and acceptance of milestones.

Our Mindset

Software development requires knowledge, creativity, discipline and control. Depending on the task and project phase, in different weightings. Unfortunately, there is no general recipe. We can certainly expect technical expertise from developers. However, the required domain knowledge almost always has to be learned. The ability and willingness to learn are therefore essential. Creativity is frequently required, both in architecture and in programming, in order to find optimal solutions. Neither creativity nor learning can be forced. Software development therefore requires freedom at a high level. However, experience has taught us that freedom alone is not enough. In order for willingness to learn and creativity to result in more than just a “Hello, World!” project, freedom has to be combined with the definition of objectives. This combination requires good, transparent planning, and this should be taken care of by the developers. Unrealistic planning creates frustration and prevents creativity. In order for creativity to result in usable results, a certain degree of counter pressure is necessary. The financial framework of the project and the binding nature of the planning play an important role here.

Software systems should be expandable and free from bugs. In order to achieve this goal, adequate programming specifications must be in place. Compliance with these specifications requires discipline and control. From our point of view, the tool chains relating to continuous integration are very important in order to automate quality assurance. In particular, execution of the static code analysis, the automatic tests and the build play a central role here. Nevertheless, code reviews by an experienced developer are essential. In addition to quality assurance, we are therefore systematically increasing the skill level of our developers. The professional implementation of reviews on equal terms leads to reflection and knowledge transfer.

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