Diagnosing cancer and stopping crime: How big data is leaving its mark

big dataIt’s easy to get lost in big data. The terabytes of data compiled and crunched by machines and programs offer new insights about our world. But where’s the signal? The noise? What does big data actually mean for you and me?

Big data isn’t about finding the needle in the haystack, but rather understanding the haystack, needle and all. Big data’s value lies in its useful and actionable insights, which are only as powerful as the data you’ve collected and the questions you ask of it. Understanding what the data can provide and how to use it is already earning dividends for some industries. (more…)

Technology in the classroom, part 2: Improving infrastructure and security

digtal learningAs the school year progresses, so does student achievement. And so must your school network and its security. After all, security threats to your network and mission-critical data don’t leave for the summer. We’re again looking at our digital learning checklist to guide analysis of your school’s current IT environment, see where improvements can be made, and help you begin investing for the future.

Let’s continue, focusing on network infrastructure and security. (more…)

Think hackers aren’t targeting your small business? Think again.

cyber criminalThe fallout from the massive data breach of controversial website Ashley Madison probably still hasn’t hit rock bottom.

The names and email addresses, as well as more sensitive information, of about 37 million Ashley Madison customers were exposed after malicious hackers published the information on a dark web forum. The consequences of the Ashley Madison breach are potentially devastating for Ashley Madison’s clientele, and the company is facing serious fallout as well, including class-action lawsuits and incalculable damage to its brand.

Leaders at many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) might be thinking, “I don’t need to worry about a data breach — no one is interested in attacking my business.” (more…)

The deadline for E-Rate is approaching — are you on schedule to get funding?

classroomWant to lose a classroom’s attention in less than 15 seconds? Open a video on a poor wireless connection.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but for many schools it happens daily. E-Rate funding, which comes from the biggest grant program for K-12 school districts and public libraries, provides Internet access and infrastructure for schools and libraries throughout the country. Run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), E-Rate helps schools and libraries improve their Internet access and wireless connectivity by providing money for technology upgrades and improved access. The pot of E-Rate funding is now above $2 billion. (more…)

Incident management isn’t enough — here’s what IT really needs

incident managementIn all of the latest IT security threat reports, one theme is clear: Breaches and compromises are on the rise, both in quantity and sophistication, and there’s no sign of them slowing down. Organizations of all sizes are at risk. Businesses need to be ahead of the game, maintain a strong security posture, and be prepared for anything.

But is it possible to be prepared for the unexpected? Yes it is, but only if you focus on developing and implementing sound incident management practices.

This includes everything from initial detection of an intrusion in the IT environment to response and recovery services. But here’s the rub: Incident management programs are useless if they can’t detect an incident or attack in real time. This is the key component to the IT security universe. (more…)

Anatomy of a Design: Determine the right network requirements

infrastructure designThis is the second post in a series about IT infrastructure design.

In our last post on IT infrastructure, we examined the general requirements of a hypothetical law firm in need of a new infrastructure. Now, we’ll research network requirements, because without the network, business as usual grinds to a halt.

In this example you can see how an organization’s employees, business, and other requirements influence the best solution for its needs. Think about the factors that go into determining this solution and how they might apply to your own organization. (more…)

4 overlooked essentials police departments should consider in their body camera initiative

policeCops and citizens agree: Body cameras for law enforcement agents have many benefits. These smartphone-size cameras help police departments assemble concrete evidence and accurately conduct investigations. But they also improve the visibility of crime prevention, can build and further public trust, and prevent frivolous complaints from becoming serious headaches.

But body cameras are a significant investment. Detroit will spend nearly $3 million on the cameras and storage, and Jersey City is hoping to secure grant money to offset some of the $1.2 million that a slew of cameras will cost. Such a large IT purchase must be made strategically with a full view of all the technology needed for a successful body camera program. But often, the behind-the-scenes equipment needed to roll out this technology goes overlooked. (more…)

How to launch a streaming TV service when your file storage is at capacity

streaming-tvOn-demand streaming services have made relaxing easy – search for a title, and hit play. But the behind-the-scenes technology that makes streaming content possible can be a lot of work to implement.

That was the recent challenge for an international broadcast television network. Years ago, it had the foresight to record and store all of its programming, and executives, eyeing up that library of content, decided to launch a streaming service in early 2016.

But the network’s glut of data stored on tape and rapidly diminishing storage space meant it was quickly approaching the point of no return. It needed an IT upgrade to not only ensure a successful launch for the streaming service, but to have a place to store new programming as well. (more…)

Anatomy of a Design: How business needs shape IT infrastructure design

infrastructure designThis is the first post in a series about IT infrastructure design.

IT infrastructure design can be the difference between getting a job done and doing the job well. Infrastructure design is a relevant topic no matter your business or industry, though exactly what that infrastructure looks like will vary from company to company. Financial and business considerations will influence the “must haves” and “wish list” components of a business’s IT environment.

Imagine a law firm. What are its IT needs, and how does it fill those requirements? Does it have in-house IT professionals or does it rely on an outside expert to handle IT issues? What are the firm’s core IT requirements, and what are its special requests?

There are two main reasons to focus on law firms. The first is size: Because most law firms in America are small businesses (a law firm is a service business, and most firms employ less than 50 people), their needs are relatable to many organizations. Second, many firms fail to maximize their technology or network capabilities due to lack of IT expertise. (more…)

Is it a patch, or just another problem for your network?

security patchWhen is a patch not a patch? When it becomes another exploit on your network.

We sometimes lose sight of these obvious points when talking about patching and vulnerability management. At Tenable, we often discuss vulnerability management (it is what we do), which leads to conversations about patching and patch management (even though that is not what we do). Patch Tuesday has driven systems administrators and vulnerability management professionals into a myopic patch mentality; sometimes it works well, sometimes it works just well enough, and sometimes it leads to stupidity.

Patching isn’t always the answer. When vulnerabilities are found, there should be a logical process for dealing with them. While “slap a patch on that bad boy” is often a great answer, and frequently the easiest, it is not the only response to network vulnerabilities. (more…)