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AJ Piscitelli, PMP
Project Manager | ERP Solutions Provider | Cloud Architect

As we enter December, most of us are adapting to scaled down gatherings, and mostly online gift shopping. It’s also a good time to go over things to make sure you’re all set for the holidays and be ready to go for the new year. These are a few of the checks that I do around this time, which may be useful for you as well.

Try to line everything up now

 I often take a few weeks off during the holidays, so I’m quite used to getting everything ready before I walk out the door on my vacation. I, like most people, don’t want to be disturbed during the holidays and want to use the time to relax and enjoy my family.

So, I spend the first two weeks of December preparing for my time off. I make sure that my resources have everything they need to be able to finish their work. I line up several reserve tasks that are lower priority, that my resources can work on if they get stuck. I make sure that all of my routine outside contacts know that I’ll be gone, that way they aren’t expecting a quick reply.

Even if you don’t take any time off around the holidays, I encourage you to line up things too. A lot of your co-workers and outside contacts will be off. This means that you might have to wait until after the holidays for your request. Also, getting everything ready ahead of time will allow you to focus more on your family during the holidays than work.

Checkup on your backups

AJ Piscitelli Blog

Backups are so important that I tend to mention them several times, mostly because I’ve seen the aftermath without them. It’s a good time to check your backups to make sure that they are completing successfully, and the backups are valid.

The validity is an important topic. If you haven’t done it recently, take some time to restore your backups to make sure that they work. If you don’t know that your backups are valid, then your data is at risk.

Re-evaluate what is being backed up

When was the last time that you edited your backup jobs? Have you added any servers or virtual machines since then? This is another area where I like to check at least twice a year. I like to take a look at my backup jobs and see all of the areas that are being captured. Ideally, the jobs are setup to automatically add new machines, or shared folders. But sometimes things get missed. Take a look to see if you have any machines or shares that might not be in your backup jobs.

Check subscriptions renewing in 2021

It seems that we have subscriptions for everything now: anti-virus & firewall, domains & DNS, network management & monitoring, and all kinds of different software packages. Take a look through your list and see all of the items that are going to renew in the first half of 2021. Do you still need these products? Maybe you don’t need to renew that old domain, or you aren’t using AutoCAD as much as you used to (I fall into this one). Now’s a good time to clean house and save some money!

For those subscriptions that you do need to keep, is everything in order? Do you need to adjust the size of the product that you are using because you’ve had an increase or decrease in the number of users? Has the associated credit card expired or been compromised? A little work now might save you some major problems down the road.

Check your budgets

Depending on how your company operates, you may have a budget for your department. How far over or below are you on budget? Do you need to adjust next years budget to account for the changes? Did you put off some purchases because of COVID that you still need? You may want to check with your accounting department to see if it makes sense to make those procurements now before the end of the year, or they may ask for you to hold off until the beginning of next year. Either way, it’s a good thing to check.

Wrap up

These are just a few small items that I try and tackle before the end of the year. I’m curious if there are any other items that you try to wrap up this time of year. Let me know in the comments below.

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AJ Piscitelli, PMP
Project Manager | ERP Solutions Provider | Cloud Architect

This is the second part of a true story from an IT Vendor dealing with a phishing attack at a small contracting firm, “ABC Contracting”. If you have not read the first part, you can find it here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/phishing-story-part-1-aj-piscitelli-pmp. As with part one, the names and identities of people and companies in this story have been changed for privacy.


Carriage House Doors "With FeneTech, we're seeing real benefits in the insights into our business, including inventory, job costs, and productivity." Shawn Guthrie
Carriage House Door
Carriage House Doors Carriage House Doors Carriage House Doors Carriage House Doors

Gains Cost Insight and Control with Rapid ERP Implementation

“We’re seeing real benefits in the insights into our business, including inventory, job costs, and productivity,”

Carriage House Door managers knew the company was successful, but they lacked immediate insight into the many custom garage doors they make each week.

“The challenge,” says Shawn Guthrie, director of manufacturing for Carriage House Door, “is how do we improve without dependable visibility? We needed to know more than the gross numbers to grow and improve the experience for our customers.”

Carriage House Door handcrafts gorgeous wood garage and swing doors and gates for high-end residential and commercial customers nationwide, produced at their California and North Carolina facilities.


AJ Piscitelli, PMP

Project Manager | ERP Solutions Provider | Cloud Architect

As we head towards the end of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I thought I’d discuss what I consider one of the most dangerous cyber threats today: Phishing. Phishing is when attackers try to steal personal information from you by pretending to be someone else, fake surveys, or other forms of social engineering. It is the most successful strategy that attackers use to gain access to your network. Attackers are getting more and more sneaky and creating more ingenious traps to capture your credentials and personal information.


Midway Windows & Doors “FeneVision is there when we need them.” Artie Strauss
Midway Windows & Doors

Doing Fabrication their way

“FeneVision is one of the best decisions our company has made.”

 Located on Chicago’s South Side, Midway Windows and Doors claims a rich legacy of unmatched quality and unparalleled customer service—a distinction that has earned this manufacturer of new construction, replacement windows and patio doors the unrivaled devotion from their customers throughout the Midwest.


DWM Magazine’s Drew Vass talks to FeneTech’s Matt Batcha about technology’s future amid COVID-19

DWM Magazine

If advancement is a product of necessity, COVID-19 could make enterprise- based software and automation permanent linchpins for door and window manufacturing. As more employees work from home, software providers say they’re leaning on features that connect to the workplace remotely including production lines. At the same time, machinery makers say the pandemic has reinforced the need for automation to facilitate social distancing.


AJ Piscitelli, PMP
Project Manager | ERP Solutions Provider | Cloud Architect

With so many active threats today, it is important today to protect your most important resources. By segregating your network, you can lower the attack surface area of your equipment. We discussed this a bit in my last blog entry about separating your Wi-Fi networks. But do you segregate your network while still allowing some traffic?


AJ Piscitelli, PMP
Project Manager | ERP Solutions Provider | Cloud Architect

A recent poll that I gave as part of a presentation few weeks ago showed that nearly all fabricators in our industry are using Wi-Fi at their facility. I can’t remember the last time I visited a facility that didn’t have Wi-Fi available. But are you exposing yourself to attacks by using Wi-Fi at your facility?