Hello Family!

This is Andrew, your friendly sysadmin (as well as son, brother, husband, etc). I just wanted to let you know that I am working on a plan to consolidate and harden (security-wise) some of the technical assets that I manage for the Ferguson Enterprise System (FES).

These changes are driven by several things, including a desire to have a centralized family photo/video management location. However, the largest driver is the recent issues concerning the NSA’s use of what I believe to be unconstitutional searches.

There is 0.0000001% chance (rough guess) that this these searches would ever affect anyone using the FES, however sysadmins (such as myself) take this very seriously and, in my opinion, I have a duty to protect the infrastructure I oversee from such threats.

Honestly, this was a longtime coming. The Internet isn’t a safe place and many of its protocols are based on trust. Several prominent sites have been surreptitiously infiltrated (including Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft) using National Security Letters that prevent anyone from disclosing the activities that are transpiring. These letters are typically overbroad and have heretofore been unchallengeable in the court system. These companies have struggled to defend against such threats and have fallen short (in many peoples opinion, including myself) of doing all they can to prevent such incidents from occurring.

Additionally, many services, such as Google Apps, which provides email, calendar, contact, and many other infrastructure elements, have been provided as free. And as they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If the service is free, you are the product…not the client.

These changes will be carefully thought out to balance ease of use, cost, maintainability, and security. Furthermore, some of the technology is not quite ready for deployment yet, so it will likely take several months (perhaps even a year or more) for everything to transition. Any comments and suggestions you have are welcome.