Significant changes in the structure and use of IT, including such seismic trends as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), virtualization and cloud computing, have introduced new challenges to IT administrators and staff. Added layers of complexity require new skill sets and knowledge bases as well as tools to effectively run a modern enterprise network. This raises a few questions about how IT teams are coping with the changes.
When you think of the cost of a security breach in your network, the immediate thought is often a dollar amount; for example how much money has the breach caused in lost sales? Consequently, many think that private enterprises are the only ones that are prone to be at risk for attacks on their networks. The fact is public sector, educational institutions and non-profit organisations are just as much at risk and the potential costs are both great and varied.
It seems as if the Sochi Winter Olympics and March Madness happened just yesterday, but the month of June is here, and with it, one of the most highly anticipated sporting events of any four year period. It could be argued that the FIFA World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world, and with a soccer powerhouse country like Brazil hosting the tournament this year – across 12 venues – sports fans are getting the eye drops ready so they can watch every moment of the action between June 12 and July 13. ESPN will present all 64 matches across three networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC).
In the world of mission-critical networks, the very idea that you may be ‘playing a hunch’ when it comes to investigating a service-affecting issue likely would be met with utter derision. The pressure is to provide confident answers to critical questions; what happened, who was affected and how long will it take to resolve. This can be daunting especially when the air is thick with accusations and the ‘interested parties’ trending towards ‘C-level’ can be insurmountable.
Of course, the truth is that playing educated hunches lies at the very heart of network troubleshooting. It is only after following and discarding a number of possibilities that you can exonerate yourself in what is known as the mean-time-to-innocence.
While at Cisco Live today, I was struck by the traffic patterns on the show floor. Wherever there was a traffic jam, it seemed as though it was caused by a few people walking slower than everyone else, or by a momentary obstruction that halted traffic. Enterprise networks share many of the same attributes (and problems) that show floors do in that respect. The part that makes it worse for enterprise networks (vs. show floors) is that there are mission-critical applications that run on top of these networks. When networks have performance issues (even momentary ones), the impact on these applications can be catastrophic.
There is something both cathartic and caustic whenever the term “ice” is added onto something of cultural and artistic value. Let’s see, you have hip hop artists like Ice-T and Ice Cube who rapped about social injustice and the hardships of poverty. Then you have this generation’s iconoclast, Vanilla Ice (nee’ Robert Matthew Van Winkle) who let us know it was perfectly fine to “play that funky music” when you had a rough day or that humming “Ice Ice Baby” to your newly born child while rocking him to sleep didn’t constitute you as being strange.
On April 7, the “Heartbleed” bug was announced. It’s a serious flaw in the OpenSSL 1.0 – 1.0.1 code series which affects all applications using it for encryption. In short, it means that anyone who can connect to the server can remotely read the server’s memory – including the SSL certificate secret key, usernames and passwords, and anything else.
With the Heartbleed bug exploit code in the wild, anyone can take advantage of the critical time between public exposure of the exploit and when all organizations can patch (or take offline) vulnerable systems. So, for almost every organization in the world, there are three questions that come to mind. The first question is “which of my public facing servers is vulnerable?” The second question is “have I been exploited since this became public?” And the third question is “what have I lost?”
The EndaceProbe™ Network Recorder helps answer all three questions.
As Interop once again draws near, the InteropNet infrastructure stands ready and waiting to provide critical connectivity to the thousands of visitors and hundreds of exhibitors who attend the show. Each year, InteropNet is provided by a dedicated band of volunteer vendors, whose preparation starts early in February at the UBM hot stage. There, the network is designed, constructed and tested, so that it is ready to be shipped to Las Vegas in time to provide the network for Interop. Each year, the team reviews the latest technology to determine what is needed to provide a state of the art network that can showcase emergent trends in the networking space.
Last month, we talked about how to keep the Winter Olympics from clogging up your networks as employees raced to stream live events during the workday. Well, in the U.S., today and tomorrow are two of the biggest sports streaming days of the year. Although we’ve already seen some play-in games this week, when Ohio State and Dayton tip-off this afternoon in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the annual “madness” repeats itself all over again. This is because this next slate of games will run almost continually over the coming 36 hours, mostly during regular business hours. And let’s be honest, most of us want to sneak a peek at the scores and witness some of the thrilling upsets that happen every year.
“Spot the bad guys, stop the bad guys,” are rational and valid goals when it comes to securing your network. In fact, many organisations commit the majority of their security resources and investment to defense and detection, often by deploying automated technologies and solutions. But by their very nature, such solutions focus on protecting against known vulnerabilities and threats, have little context of your own network and can’t be a complete security solution.