Do you have an active firewall project? What should you look for in a next gen firewall? Watch our short video blog with our technical specialist Malcolm Orekoya and find out what Juniper Networks’ Branch SRX series has to offer. Talk to a solutions expect from our team about our current firewall offers; including (for a limited time only) a FREE half day’s training session for new customers purchasing Juniper’s branch SRX series. Conditions apply. Visit our website here for details.
By Michele Lewington, MD at Netutils
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…
During 20+ years in the industry I can recall a time when my company felt more like a stage with a revolving door than a business. You’d bring in new employees – nurture, mentor and train them and no sooner they’d become a useful member of society, they’d be headed through the revolving door and looking for a starring role on a West End stage. It’s the way of the world and over the years you get better at finding ways to mitigate the fall-out.
On the flip side, I can’t help but be touched by the loyalty and commitment of others. It’s not always easy to win trust, to secure that much needed longevity and to walk the road of fair but firm. When you manage to do so and get it right, you can find yourself surrounded by the most remarkable, talented people.
I am gratified to have several such team members today; they have the capacity to make me forget about those that came and went via the revolving door and I am staggered to be celebrating 20 years in September with one of the first of our employees who acts as a constant reminder of how important it is to get the balance right.
Can she be accused of lacking ambition? Absolutely… mostly by uninformed individuals who know little about the dance of responsibility that we have performed and perfected over the years. Does she feel as if she has been held back or had her potential stifled? I don’t believe so, but just to be sure, I asked her to write a blog. It’s her first (and quite possibly her last) but read Claire’s story here and judge for yourself.
By Claire Hillman, Senior Administrator & Contracts Manager at Netutils
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Claire Hillman. These views are her own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
Hi, I’m Claire Hillman, Senior Administrator & Contracts Manager here at Netutils. Most of our customers know me as I deal directly with them on a daily basis and have done so for the last 20 years. I’m proud to say I share my 20th work anniversary with the company itself. I’ve been here practically from the start; I’ve watched my role and the company grow together. It’s fair to say we’ve been through a lot and when our MD asked me to write a blog about our 20 year journey together I jumped at the chance.
I’ve got a lot to say! Here’s my story:
In 1994 I had just left 6th form college and, like many others, wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Through a mutual contact Michele Lewington, Netutils, MD asked me if I would be interested in a couple of week’s temporary work to cover the existing Administrator who was leaving.
At the time, the role involved general office administration, processing purchase orders for computer software including Proxy remote control (which we still supply to the UK market today.) The software back then came as a fully boxed product and supplied with a hard copy manual, so I quickly got used to shipping loads and loads of boxes. However, my very first task was learning how to make proper tea. My employers were none too impressed with my first attempts and I was quickly taught the difference between dishwater and builders brew!
I soon realised that I really enjoyed the office environment at Netutils. Naturally, at this age the full time work environment can be a bit daunting. Everyone was very patient with me every step of the way to ensure I fully understood each task that was required of me, and they always taught me to never be afraid to ask if you are unsure. That’s something that we all really love about working at Netutils – great team spirit and you really feel supported!
As the 2 weeks were coming to an end, I was invited to join as a full-time permanent employee… that was a no brainer for me and my official start date was the following Monday, 5th September 1994!
Over the next 5 years, Netutils continued to grow and eventually moved to larger offices in Surbiton. Our portfolio of products continued to grow and soon after we were joined by our first university graduate – Toby Makepeace. Today, he is Netutils Technical Director and predominately works directly with our Service Provider customers; and is one of the most respected and experienced in his field.
As Netutils client base grew, so did my family. When I had been at Netutils around 7 years, my partner & I discovered we were expecting a baby. Such is our relationship, my MD was the first person I shared my pregnancy news with! The Netutils team welcomed the news and were extremely supportive throughout my pregnancy. My colleague Lesley Griffith was to cover my role for me whilst I was on maternity leave. Poor thing, she had been on the receiving end of so many jokes about the baby arriving early I don’t think she actually believed it when I did go into labour 6 weeks early!
Weighing just 4lb 10oz my son was taken straight to the special care baby unit. Luckily he was absolutely fine, and unsurprisingly some of his first visitors were my colleagues from work laden with gifts, and they still spoil him 13 years later each birthday and Christmas.
A few years after the birth of my son in 2006 our most popular vendor, Funk Software was acquired by Juniper Networks. This was probably the most difficult of times for me – change is not always welcomed and working with this large, faceless organisation presented a real challenge and a massive change in processes. If there was ever going to be a time to move on, this was probably it! So what stopped me? I realised we were all part of this massive, new learning curve; it was obviously different for everyone but only by working together were we able to iron out the creases. Today, Netutils continues to operate as an Elite Partner to Juniper.
Throughout the years, as the company has continued to grow and change, so has my job and my roles. We are now based near the beautiful landmark of Hampton Court and I am still referred to as the Senior Administrator but in all honesty, that’s because we couldn’t really fit all my responsibilities on a business card! My job is varied and far reaching involving everything from providing support and assistance to our sales team to processing customer and supplier orders. I am also responsible for maintenance renewal revenues. Reporting directly to the Financial Director and MD I oversee accounts receivable & payable and manage all staff expenses. I’m also involved with customer service and managing the CRM.
I fully share the company ethos and believe that whether a customer has dealt with us over many years or has only recently started working with us they expect and should receive excellent customer service with a personal touch. Feedback tells us that our customers really appreciate the fact that we understand their requirements and deal with them in a fair and honest manner. I’m really proud that my depth of experience and knowledge of Netutils’ customers means that I can provide a truly great service to our customers.
So that’s my journey in a nutshell. At times I can’t believe that 20 years has passed. Thesedays it’s unusual to be in a positon for so long, when companies change people move on. Someone recently asked me if I lack ambition. Why would I stay in the same organisation for so long? My answer is simple, the company has continually allowed me to grow and gather new experiences. The variety in my role keeps me on my toes but above all what’s kept me firmly rooted at Netutils are the relationships I have built with the people here, both new and old . We care about the success of Netutils, that’s a shared goal and not just one felt by management.
Happy Birthday Netutils!
We were delighted to be joined recently by a number of organisations at our SRX Boot camp at Juniper Networks HQ in Addlestone, Surrey for one of our SRX Boot Camps.
These hands on training sessions are perfect for organisations with Firewall projects in the pipeline in the next few months, allowing attendees to get hands on with the SRX series firewalls and really get under the skin of the Juniper Networks Unified Threat Management Firewall series.
IT and Network Managers joined us from a diverse range of organisations, all with firewall projects coming up. The session allows organisations to learn more about both the branch and the high end SRX series, as well as gets hands on with the devices in the lab configuring the units.
A big thank you to @juniper_uk for looking after us all so well at their HQ in Addlestone. We were very pleased that Area Partner Director, Darryl Brick joined the session and addressed our attendees giving them some essential background on and introduction to Juniper Networks, giving us all a really good feel for Juniper Network’s commitment to us here @networkutils as a valued Juniper Networks Elite partners and that safe pair of hands for our customer’s IT projects.
We are planning another SRX Boot Camp session in November 2014, so if you are interested in signing up then please visit our website for further information and to register your interest. Please note you need to be new to Juniper Networks and have an active firewall project in the next 12 – 18 months. You’ll also need a working knowledge of CLI and the good news is that all organisations that fit these parameters can take an SRX unit away with them post event. So, come along, get hands on and learn as much as you can about the Juniper SRX Series firewalls!
We were delighted to be joined recently by a number of organisations at our SRX Boot camp at Juniper Networks HQ in Addlestone, Surrey for one of our SRX Boot Camps. These hands on training sessions are perfect for organisations with Firewall projects in the pipeline in the next few months. These training sessions give you the opportunity to get hands on with the SRX series firewalls and really get under the skin of the Juniper Networks Unified Threat Management Firewall series. We plan our next SRX Boot Camp at Juniper HQ in Addlestone in November please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
By Vanessa Cardwell, Marketing Manager, Netutils.
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Vanessa Cardwell, Marketing Manager, Netutils. These views are her own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
On Wednesday 19th March 2014 we invited organisations to join us at The Cabinet War Rooms in London to ‘Take a Closer Look’ at Juniper Networks. The aim of the event was to build relationships with organisations interested in having face to face time with Netutils and Juniper Networks’ technical experts and to learn about the latest innovations in datacentre and campus and branch networking & security from Juniper Networks.
The War Rooms lent itself extremely well to the event. Churchill’s bunker was the perfect place to take stock and work together to strategise and address some of the networking & security challenges we face in today’s constantly evolving enterprise.
At the top of the day the ice was expertly broken by Major Wade & Mrs Hughes our 1940’s actors. Wade and Hughes welcomed our guests to the War Rooms and delivered a wonderfully entertaining introduction to the War Rooms complete with whistle blowing and bell ringing! Once our guests were reassured they were safe underground the event commenced.
David Silsby, Sales & Marketing Director introduced the details of the day to our guests and explained how Netutils’ goal as an organisation and Juniper Networks Elite Partner is to help make sure our customer’s technology does what it is supposed to. Supporting organisations to ensure their networks are fast, secure and available to the right person at the right time, making sure we give you access to technology when and where you need it.
Next up was Brett Ley, Director, Datacentre Sales EMEA. His presentation focused on Innovations in Datacentre Networking & Security. In a world of ever-changing apps, evolving virtualisation and the rapid adoption of cloud, mobility and big data technology, today’s network needs to be incredibly agile. Brett Introduced Juniper Networks’ MetaFabric Architecture—a simple, open and smart approach to network architecture. MetaFabric leverages Juniper Networks’ comprehensive portfolio of switching, routing, orchestration, SDN and security solutions.
- Switches optimised for the data centre to support any switching fabric architecture for any application.
- Routers that interconnect multiple data centre locations and clouds, across virtual, physical, and SDN workloads.
- SDN solutions that automate and orchestrate creation of virtual networks.
- Data centre security solutions that adapt to defend, detect, and respond to targeted threats.
- Automation and orchestration management tools that provide network visualisation, analysis, and control.
The MetaFabric architecture solves the complexity of creating a network for today’s data centre landscape. It has three pillars:
Simple – Enables ease of deployment, operations and management of the network without service interruption.
Open – Maximises flexibility by integrating with any data centre environment, eliminating vendor lock-in.
Smart – Saves time and improves the performance of the network through data, analytics, and actionable insights.
The bottom line is that the MetaFabric architecture delivers the agile and efficient network foundation required for today’s dynamic data centres.
(Further reading: Juniper CIO Uses Cloud to Support ‘Consumerization of Data Center’)
Netutils Senior Technical Specialist, Malcolm Orekoya then delivered an overview & demo of Junos Space.
Exponential growth in network traffic, changes in mobile user behaviour, and the onslaught of new cloud services and applications are expanding the avenues available to malicious attackers. Managing enterprise security policy in these complex environments can become prone to error and overly time-consuming, especially if management solutions are slow, unintuitive, or restricted in their level of granularity and control. Poor policy management can also lead to security mis-configuration, making the enterprise vulnerable to sophisticated threats and regulatory noncompliance.
Junos Space is an open, secure, and scalable software platform that allows customers, partners, and developers to build and deploy simple, smart applications that manage and analyse network element data and optimise network infrastructure and operations management of infrastructure running the Junos operating system. Malcolm demonstrated the attributes of the Junos Space solution that allows customers to maximise their network value and scale solutions while reducing complexity.
Malcolm demonstrated two main applications of Junos Space – Network Director & Security Director. Security Director provides efficient and cost effective management of Juniper Networks SRX security platform and allows you to scale management reach across your security and network devices and ease administration and reduce configuration errors through a responsive Web interface. Network Director offers a unified wired and wireless network management application for Juniper Networks switching and wireless portfolio, featuring full life cycle management including pre and post deployment life cycle tools with single pane visibility to manage Network infrastructure, users and services.
Jonas Gyllenhammar, Pulse Architect, EMEA concluded the session with his presentation on Innovations in campus & branch networking and security.
The ability to access anything from anywhere is the new norm in today’s world of communication. This creates a lot of concerns when it comes to corporate data being accessed securely.
It is not only the challenge of the mixture of managed and un-managed devices and their security state but also the protection of actual valuable data that needs protection.
This requires a new echo system involving secure access and intelligent firewalling to bring together security intelligence and deception techniques from multiple sources.
What was really engaging about Jonas’ session was his point that the phenomenon of BYOD is not simply about bringing your own device, its more than that; it’s about a robust access management policy solution for your organisation and this requires a dynamic policy driven security enforcement solution. A bit of a mouthful perhaps but Juniper Networks’ end-to-end Pulse solution makes this straightforward. In short, it’s simply about 2 things:
The User – are they known or unknown?
The Device – corporately owned? BYOD, staff member with an unknown device? Or Guest with an unknown device?
Junos Pulse allows you to combine different users and devices. An end-to-end solution which covers all use cases delivering network wide policy orchestration.
Jonas spent some time detailing the different attributes of the Pulse solution – profiling, on-boarding, authentication, device / user authentication, role based access and network wide automatic threat mitigation. The Pulse solution keeps BYOD simple. It supports the requirement that users need BYOD in different flavours – light and full access. As well as providing full network access to known users and devices, it’s vital to have a simple identity based guest access solution for Wi-Fi access, keeping you compliant and secure. In short, Pulse allows you to deliver the right policies for the right use cases, making the access and on-boarding experience seamless for the user.
Jonas also introduced our audience to Junos WebApp Secure (JWas) Jonas demonstrated how easy it is to detect, identify, track and stop hackers in their tracks. The simple, clean interface of the solution allows for easy monitoring. Junos Web App Secure looks at two areas – Certainty and Specificity. This ensures that you are blocking the right activity without impacting your business, and identifying malicious behaviour that other solutions can’t even start to think about finding.
The demonstration of Junos WebApp Secure illustrates how the Juniper Networks’ security ecosystem adapts at the speed of risk, where allowing easy access is balanced with stopping attackers from getting what they want.
For further information on innovations in datacentre and campus & branch networking and security please do get in touch. Keep checking our blog for regular updates and videos from our events.
We made a video of the event. You can check it out on our blog here.
At our recent Innovation Day with Juniper Networks at The Cabinet War Rooms, our Sales & Marketing Director, David Silsby discusses what sets Netutils apart as an IT, Networking & Security reseller.
Our Innovation Days are a great way for organisations new to Juniper Networks to get under the skin of what’s new and innovative in datacentre and campus & branch networking and security. Watch our short video for a taster of our recent workshop at The Cabinet War Rooms in London. Thanks to Bark Films for the great video.
By Oliver Reynolds, Service Provider Account Manager, Netutils.
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Oliver Reynolds, Service Provider Account Manager, Netutils. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
It may seem like a very strange question, but have you ever asked yourself if your business is really ready for the next big win? Now, this isn’t a question to ask in order to provoke a long winded response about the work you’ve done to understand your customer’s requirements, but simply: “do YOU believe your current infrastructure can handle the additional load that next customer your sales guys are so eagerly fighting for will bring?”
If your sales team bring in that big business win they’ve been shouting about and if your current infrastructure is ready then maybe the rest of this blog isn’t for you. On the other hand, the initial question may have made you think and maybe even highlighted some concerns about your ability to facilitate their requirements, either way, I challenge you to read on and question if you are truly ready.
With the industry ever-evolving , ISP’s are constantly under pressure to provide bandwidth against new services that, at point of conception, are not necessarily developed to be efficient in their bandwidth use, but to enable new value add services to increase revenue. Video and data are key examples. Both are services that have required specific compression codec development to decrease their bandwidth and improve quality of service.
So, has this started to make you think if you’re ready yet?
What if that new customer you bring on-board is the next Google or Facebook wannabe? Will they be looking to move forward with niche and unique services that haven’t had the efficiencies considered? Will your network be able to support the increased strain this new customer is going to bring? Again, your answer may well be yes as this was a consideration when purchasing your latest datacenter switches, routers etc. Brilliant! But what if it’s still not enough? How easy is it for you to increase that capacity and how much is it going to cost you? Will it still be stable running at 80% utilisation? Will that imply a reduction in the quality of service the rest of your customers have experienced for so long? You can answer these questions by engaging an experienced technology partner to review your existing infrastructure and provide competitive analysis on how you can move forward.
The question of whether you are ready for that next customer simply asks how much that customer is going to cost you at the point of overloading your network. Just considering that fact and reviewing the potential future risks to your network expansion with the right partner, will ensure that you align yourself to a solution that enables easy scaling when your business requires it, without pain to either your pocket or your customer’s quality of service.
I’m going to close with a statement by Colt’s Nicolas Fischbach, taken from a case study illustrating a deployment of Juniper MX Routers:
The future of networking is more simplification, more automation, and more elasticity,” says Fischbach.
We need architectures and technology components that enable us to achieve that. We can create a new virtual machine for a customer in minutes, so why should it take weeks to deliver a new service over an existing infrastructure? The network has to evolve to be very elastic, highly integrated, and fully automated to provide the flexible services that our customers demand today.
Juniper is one of our key partners enabling us to realize our vision,” says Fischbach.
The MX series router effectively supports our IP routing and switching requirements as well as future carrier Ethernet demands. Juniper collaborated closely with us to develop our Virtual CPE capabilities, which will take us to the next step of our high- performance, cost-effective, cloud-based vCPE solution.
Ensure you are planning not just for your business’ future, but also for that of your customers, both in resourcing and in the right technology partner. Otherwise that next deal may be the one to cause more pain than happiness!
By Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant, Netutils
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant, Netutils. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
As most of the United Kingdom is being bombarded by storms and hurricane-force winds resulting in flooding in several parts of the country, it is understandable that most of our attention is on this bit of news.
However, some of you in the IT world will have also heard of another flood hitting the headlines this week – the massive NTP reflection attack that exploited a vulnerability in the NTP protocol, a widely used protocol on the internet, which is used for clock synchronisation between computer systems.
Hackers seem to have taken the floods caused by the weather as a go ahead to press the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) button on their keyboards to launch a massive flood of their own on the internet. The attack was first revealed on Twitter by CloudFlare’s CEO Matthew Prince on Monday 10th January 2014, saying “Very big NTP reflection attack hitting us right now. Appears to be bigger than the #Spamhaus attack from last year.” The attack has been recorded in Europe as the biggest DDoS attack to date reaching 400Gbps at its peak.
So with flaws in protocols such as NTP and DNS, that were not built with security in mind being continually exposed and with the world wide use of such protocols across the internet attracting more malicious hackers, what should you do to mitigate these denial of service attacks?
Well in my opinion, for starters administrators and organisations need to be proactive about keeping abreast of the latest security alerts, news, blogs and trends.
There have been several organisations, such as the US-CERT and Team Cymru’s Secure NTP Template page, that have released alerts and mitigation techniques regarding flaws in NTP as well as other protocols. Proactive enterprises would have already taken steps to mitigate the specific NTP threat, but also sought general DDoS protection for their business critical web facing systems.
In addition to looking into DDoS protection vendors and services, it is important to understand the differences in the plethora of protection solutions and vendors available on the market. For example solutions like Juniper Networks DDoS Secure product, provides DDoS protection against in-bound as well as out-bound traffic, which is a unique selling point in comparison to some other vendors in the same space.
Finally, it’s important for organisations to know where their strengths and weaknesses lie and lean on the experts where necessary. A lot of enterprises do not have a SOC or the human resource (in helpdesk or administrators) to proactively manage their security. This should be recognised and the use of expert security consultants to work alongside the on premise teams should not be avoided, not for financial or “it won’t happen to me” reasons. Because at the end of the day, every organisation that has at least one point of contact with the World Wide Web is susceptible, and in almost every attack situation, the end customer and the organisation will end up feeling the brunt of the consequences of any ignorance or neglect.
We have already helped customers who have been affected by the recent NTP attack and urge you to get in touch with us even if you’d just like some advice to help assess the level of vulnerability in your organisation.