Category Archives: Network Monitoring

Unified Communications can be a Boon for Business…if it performs as it should

When was the last time you checked to see if your communication tools and features were performing up to par? Your voice, data, Internet, network security and cloud storage components are mission critical applications and should be treated as such.

Not only is a network monitoring solution crucial to detecting slow or failing components, it is essential to operating your business on a daily basis. As an added benefit, it increases productivity and helps improve your day-to-day operational efficiency.

As a business manager, when considering options to integrate your technology infrastructure, network monitoring and a unified communication solution should go hand in hand. With an effective monitoring application you can unify diverse communications platforms and tools into one seamless solution that will improve both internal and external communications.

Operating multiple infrastructures and disparate applications is a complex process—and it’s not likely to get any simpler. Regardless, system downtime is crippling for any business and simply unacceptable.

Adopting an integrated communications and network monitoring solution provides several benefits for businesses:

  • Increase employee / user productivity by providing quick and easy access to important information
  • Pinpoints when the network is affecting VoIP performance, and vice versa
  • Helps uncover any potential problems before they turn into bigger issues that cost your company money with automatic network monitoring applications
  • Reduces cost by integrating multiple systems into one system
  • Ensures performance for mission critical applications and features

You’ve heard the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Take the necessary steps today to avoid system delays, productivity losses and excessive costs by choosing the right network monitoring tools for your business.

Security Attack Analysis for Finding and Stopping Network Attacks

The bad guys are winning.

No, this is not a review of the latest superheroes movie. It is the plain and simple truth when it comes to network security attacks. We’re all too familiar with the names of big, formerly trusted organizations who have recently suffered breaches. And we’ve all been affected, both professionally and personally, by these breaches.

So rather than rehash these attacks once again, let’s take a brief look at an approach that can help make sense of the barrage of alerts from security systems, which instead of adding awareness, are merely hiding the needle in the haystack.

Current security systems do their job well – nowadays most would argue much too well. For fear of missing a critical event, security systems err (heavily!) on the side of caution. In doing so, they produce false-positives – a lot of them. The volume of these alerts can quickly become overwhelming, rendering them almost as useless as no data at all. Remember, this is exactly what Target admitted. They did see alerts when the initial hack happened, well before any data was taken, but those alerts went uninvestigated.

On the positive side, false positives can be reduced, and sometimes pretty quickly. Many false positives are a result of some routine activity on your network that may be classified as out-of-the-ordinary for a general network. And because it’s routine on your network, it generates lots of security alerts. Armed with detailed information at the time of the alert, quick analysis will indicate whether or not this condition is normal for your network, and if it is, you can retune your security solution to ignore this condition. Every time you are able to do this you make your security solution more and more effective – a lot less hay and more needles.

This approach is called attack analysis, and it relies on network recording and network forensics to supply detailed, network-based information that can be used to unequivocally determine whether or not a security alert is the real thing. And if it is, you have a complete recording of the network activity from before, during, and after the attack so you can quickly stop the attack and assess the damage.

Interested in learning more? Check out our complete webinar on this topic, including detailed use cases, at http://www.wildpackets.com/resources/ondemand_webcasts.

BYOD Booming In Financial Services

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the latest mobile technology trend changing the way employees across a variety of industries access, share and store information. But a recent survey, “The Changing Mobile Landscape in Financial Services,” shows that the BYOD movement may be a double-edged sword for the financial services industry if the correct security procedures are not in place.

On one hand, BYOD can help businesses cut costs in a number of ways. Companies save on hardware and operational cost because employees use their personal smart phones, tablets, and laptops to access company data.  And according to research, employees are more productive when they use their preferred interface to complete work-related tasks.

On the other hand BYOD compromises the security of the company’s data, thus making network monitoring more difficult. The aforementioned survey collected responses from more than 400 IT professionals working for financial firms. Major findings included:

  • About 50 percent of respondents stated that their firm currently lacks a mobile plan
  • Forty-five percent of respondents employed by BYOD firms said that their company’s plan is not aligned with IT objectives
  • Thirty-six percent noticed a disconnect between their organization’s mobile strategy and business operations
  • The percentage of personally owned smart phones and tablets in the financial services workplace will increase from 40 percent to 49 percent in the in the next 12 months

These results make clear that many financial firms still lack the policies and tools required to ensure employees using personal mobile devices are not creating a serious security risk. Clearly, financial data is usually quite sensitive, so the onus is on these financial companies to adopt security solutions—quickly.

WildPackets can’t really help in developing policies for each individual company, but we can certainly help with assessing compliance with corporate policies, ensuring that the networks BYO devices connect to remain secure and high-performing.