Setting the stage for 20 years …. The challenge is finding the star performers

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…

20yearsPictureDuring 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.

Control Illegal Downloading in 3 minutes

Our customers tell us BitTorrent alone can consume up to 55% of their Internet bandwidth. Video and social media content can also be dangerous.

Our partners Exinda made a short video on how to check if this is happening on your network and how to quickly fix the problem.  We thought you might be interested in taking a peek.

If you are responsible for managing your company network bandwidth and have concerns about internet bandwidth consumption then please join our FREE technical boot camp in central London on Wednesday 9th July at The Cabinet War Rooms and learn essential hints and tips to keep your network running and your apps performing. All attendees qualify for a FREE network health check. Visit our website here for more information and to book. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. We look forward to seeing you!

Highlights from Juniper Networks & Netutils Innovation Day, Cabinet War Rooms, London

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 Photo4 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.

APhoto2t 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 Benefits

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’)

Photo3Netutils 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.

FoPhoto1r 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.

Webinar: Harness the Power of Managed Wi-Fi Guest Access

[vimeo vimeo.com/http://vimeo.com/88244943]

Our hassle free & secure Managed Guest Access solution allows you to offer more than just Wi-Fi access. Captive portal allows you to actively engage with your users and guests, build your brand and promote your future services. Take a look at our latest webinar for an overview of our Managed Guest Access solution. Our secure, scalable and customisable solution delivers a seamless Wi-Fi experience on location. Rich reporting and analytics allow you to build your brand.

Don’t ignore the hype: IT trends deliver security with access

By Malcolm Orekoya, Technical Specialist, Netutils

Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya, Technical Specialist, Netutils. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.

How do we enhance security but allow users access to the data and resources they need seamlessly and improve enterprise productivity, while still keeping up with the trends in mobility, consumerisation and cloud? The answer is by following those trends.

Look beyond the technology and look at the people that use the technology. This tells us two things: users do not prioritise security, and your enterprise productivity is directly related to the ability of your users to perform their tasks efficiently. So companies cannot adopt a “lock everything down” mentality. It is effectively a denial of service attack against yourself, because you are essentially denying access to the essential services needed by your users. So security, and enforcement of it, is solely the responsibility of the enterprise. It may sound harsh, but it is the reality; employees are accountable for the procedures, guidelines and policies to which they are required to adhere to.

The only viable way to build a secure network that moves with CoIT is to use existing corporate user identity systems (such as Active Directory, LDAP, SQL) to integrate with evolving ideas to automatically provision context-aware applications and resources.

So how to secure data and the network while still allowing seamless access and speedy resource allocation? Don’t ignore the trends in the IT industry. Cloud and hosted applications are continually increasing in adoption because they guarantee a certain level of security of access, ease of access, flexibility, automated provisioning, ease of upgrades, cross platform compatibility and reduced CAPEX, while maintaining compliance and security standards. The providers of these solutions are themselves heavily regulated and required to adhere to high standards of data and network security.

If you prefer to retain in-house control of applications, then virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) means you benefit from reduced costs over time of purchasing user endpoint machines by moving to thin clients. But also these VDI platforms allow control of what applications employees have access to, and provide much more granular control on what tasks users can perform. Because a lot of the VDI platforms allow “hot-desking”, as user profiles are maintained on centralised servers, they provide access flexibility and remote access, which fit with CoIT needs.

Zero-Day protection is also another useful trend; the means by which an enterprise can protect its data and resources from threats and vulnerabilities that are currently unknown, so consequently do not have a fix. Zero-Day application exploits, targeted attacks, advanced information stealing malware and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) all pose a serious security threat to enterprises, but as these threats evolve, so does the approach to effective and manageable protection. Active defence, which discourages attacks by focusing on raising costs and risks to attackers, is slowly creeping into enterprise strategy. Proactive protection – including advanced Web Application Firewalls (WAF), counterstrike and intrusion deception techniques – are all protection methods that have seen a revival. For example, in 2012 Juniper Networks acquired Mykonos Software’s intrusion deception software (Junos WebApp Secure) to enhance its web application security portfolio. It places deception points along the way. When an attacker trips one of those tripwires, we are alerted to the fact they are there and can watch them.

The reality is that vulnerabilities and threats exist, and come from inside as well as outside the network. The biggest insider threats are the employees, but we can only educate staff on how to handle sensitive corporate data and how to use corporate resources. For outsider threats, innovation brings assistance.

CoIT without Risk – There’s no effective risk management without end-to-end security

By Malcolm Orekoya, Technical Specialist, Netutils

Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya, Technical Specialist, Netutils. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.

Everything delivered by the IT department nowadays is frequently classified as a service function.  With Consumerisation of IT (CoIT), the consumption of these services is affected by the trends in mobility, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and cloud, which in turn puts pressure on the scalable infrastructure you need.

The number one risk management concern for IT managers with CoIT is security, but in what context? As workers become more mobile, adopting BYOD and accessing corporate applications and information remotely, an IT manager needs to be able to guarantee that the access and authentication from these devices is secure – as well as make sure that if these devices are lost or stolen, the information they hold and can access does not end up in the wrong hands.

One way of achieving this is via profiling based on the user, type of device (managed or unmanaged), resources being accessed, location being accessed from and the role of the user. For example, an employee using a corporate device, accessing the network remotely and an employee using a personally owned device, accessing the network via the wireless local area network (WLAN), are two distinct profiles that require different policy enforcement.

To minimise risk, authentication (user and device) needs to work with posture checking of endpoints, secure remote access, mobile device management (MDM) and secure wireless connectivity. An end-to-end security infrastructure is required; one that is easy to deploy and manage, as well as one that can provide the performance, access and integration needed. For example, Juniper Networks provides the single Junos Pulse endpoint client, capable of providing secure mobile remote VPN access and network access control (NAC), with role based access control and 802.1x authentication. In addition, the Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite MDM is purpose-built for mobile devices and provides anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-malware, endpoint firewall, loss and theft protection and endpoint monitoring.

CoIT is not the same as BYOD; it covers the changing trend in the way technology is used. Therefore, cloud services such as storage (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive) and applications (Office365, Salesforce, GoogleApps) – as well as in house developed proprietary applications – all need to be secured within their virtualised environments.

The underlying infrastructure of the virtualised environment and the networking infrastructure (switches, routers, firewalls) needs to provide an end-to-end approach that is secure, scalable and resilient. For example, the single operating system in the Junos OS from Juniper Networks, runs across many of its security platforms, allowing administrators to consistently apply policies across the board without having to learn and manage a variety of systems. The innovative technology for securing the virtualisation space is Juniper Networks’ virtual gateway (vGW) product, which focuses on security within the hypervisor and between virtual machines as they communicate in the virtualised platform, as well as outbound. This is a further example of how vendors and manufacturers need to understand the elements that form the foundation of front end resources.

Numerous surveys have shown the impact of the proliferation of personally owned mobile devices onto the enterprise network. One of the impacts of this over the last few years has been the malware threat, and general increase in the amount of cyber threats specifically targeting mobile devices – especially Android devices.  Risk management needs to focus beyond managing mobile devices via MDM platforms, to actually securing the corporate data in transit. This involves sandboxing technologies, such as Secure Virtual Workspaces (SVW), which were the initial and most popular solutions in the early days of mobility, to new smarter devices that encrypt data on the devices and in transit, or provide dual boot functionality with physically or logically separated segments on the device.

CoIT is here to stay; we have been talking about these trends for a few years now. If you are managing risk, the next step is to understand the solutions currently available, which will help manage it from end to end.

Webinar Recording: Take Control of your Network & Manage BYOD

[vimeo vimeo.com/http://vimeo.com/66222337]

The more devices employees bring to work, the more difficult it becomes for network managers to ensure a good user experience. BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) complicates how you manage bandwidth consumption and assess and fix application performance issues. View our webinar and discover how to quickly restore order to your network. Exinda can help you address the challenges of BYOD and assure a reliable user experience by improving visibility, optimisation and control—allowing your users to be productive from anywhere, anytime and on any device.