SD-WAN 101: Understanding the technology that makes your network more efficient

SDWANThere are a few clear signs that your school’s network deserves a failing grade. Do students in the computer lab struggle to do research because the administrative offices are hogging bandwidth? Is it difficult to scale and manage, especially across multiple buildings? If so, it might be time to rethink your networking.

For many, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) is the gold standard for wide-area network (WAN) routing. But if you’re experiencing the challenges above, it might be time to look into SD-WAN. (more…)

The SIEM-ple way to spot a data breach as it’s happening

logLast July, the Office of Personnel Management announced it had discovered a huge data breach: The background check records of current, former, and prospective federal employees and contractors were stolen, including 21.5 million Social Security numbers. Like many security breaches, this one could have been averted with the right tools in place.

In its 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon found that 84 percent of organizations that suffered a security breach the previous year had evidence of that breach in their logs. Every action your employees — or nefarious outsiders — take generates a kernel of information, which can become evidence of unusual behavior, or a trail of crumbs to follow after an attack to see how it was carried out.

But with so many logs and so much information to sift through, most organizations don’t tap the information these logs contain. (more…)

How VMware vSphere licensing changes could affect you

changes-aheadIt’s almost the end of the road for some VMware products. After June 30, organizations will be unable to purchase licenses for three VMware offerings:

  • vSphere Enterprise
  • vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) Standard
  • vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) Enterprise

Though your organization can’t purchase new licenses for these products after that date, you do have several options moving forward. Let’s review. (more…)

How E-Rate funding can help schools and libraries secure their wireless networks

erate securitySchool districts across the country just wrapped up the application process for the next round of E-Rate funding, while libraries still have a few weeks until the deadline. As the adoption of mobile devices, tablets, virtual reality, and 3D printers adds pressure to their wireless capabilities, many are planning to expand their networks through the E-Rate program.

But as they do, they should keep in mind that schools and libraries can be breeding grounds for viruses and bugs – security bugs, that is. A growing wireless network poses additional challenges to IT staff, who must think about security as funding helps expand their network. (more…)

This is why every organization needs adaptive and autonomous security

McAfee adaptive threat preventionMore than 300 new security threats are detected every minute. Ransomware and malware are growing at double-digit rates, and mobile malware grew 72 percent in the last quarter of 2015. In the face of advanced targeted attacks, full vector protection and a timely response are major challenges for security teams across every sector. Most organizations rely on a multi-vendor, siloed security infrastructure in which products don’t communicate with one another, allowing attacks to penetrate gaps and invade a network.

IT security staff shortages and a lack of automated processes create these inefficiencies and lapses in protection. Plus, existing security infrastructures lack integration of the inspection, intelligence gathering, analytics, and enforcement components of an enterprise security architecture. These essential elements constitute the underpinnings of cybersecurity best practices known as the protect, detect, and correct process of incident response.

What’s the solution? Integration. Instead of buying the entire “best of” list (the best end point protection, best firewall, best IPS), organizations should be adopting security systems that talk to each other, regardless of the vendor. Knowing how that works and why it’s necessary will help you further strengthen your IT security. (more…)

How the Internet of Things is driving cost-saving efficiencies for manufacturers

Cisco Internet of Things for ManufacturingIf there’s one industry that demands efficiency, it’s manufacturing. Lined with robots and skilled workers side by side, modern assembly lines pump out millions of goods every year at record speeds. But nearly every line will experience maintenance shutdowns, can improve flow, and can correct designs and oversights.

Manufacturers are now combating those challenges with Internet of Things (IoT) devices that can bring about big results through data collection. In fact, 61 percent of North American manufacturing executives said they’d be willing to use IoT devices to monitor equipment for predictive maintenance services.

This is the next step in the evolution of industry, which has come a long way from the steam-powered 18th century. The mass production of the 20th century and the advent of robots in the 1970s sped production lines, and now those tools are getting smart. The digitization of manufacturing means smart devices and technological progress that’s opening new opportunities.

Welcome to Manufacturing 2.0, where IoT devices are boosting productivity, improving efficiency, and putting money into manufacturers’ pockets. (more…)

Why it’s time for spring cleaning of your data preparation process

Datawatch clean your dataIBM estimates that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. Of course, your organization produces just a small fraction of that total amount, but it’s the most important data for your business analysts.

Unfortunately, finding what’s important is a major time drain. Data analysts spend 80 percent of their time manually sorting through data to compile spreadsheets. They’re copying and pasting data from one document to another, and building micros and formulas to process complex numbers. Most of this brute force work is time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient; manually preparing, cleaning, and consolidating data from different sources is a near-impossible task, not to mention the potential for error or bias.

Clean, accessible data is no longer a “nice to have,” but a critical business asset that drives compliance in the health care field, for example. The more data an organization collects from disparate systems and applications, the more complicated it becomes to process into clean, easily digestible spreadsheets. All organizations face data challenges, but enterprise organizations in particular are dealing with terabytes of disparate data from a variety of sources, both internal and external. (more…)

How one health care firm fixed its data storage worries

medical dataWhen the new IT director at a U.S. health care and financial management firm examined his on-premises storage environment, he noticed something unexpected: The last byte of storage was in sight.

The company needed storage, and soon. The entire business — collecting, analyzing, and processing new medical records, health care, and insurance data — depended on it. A lack of storage space would halt the review and processing of insurance claims and billing, and there wasn’t much time to prevent it. (more…)