Thursday, March 28, 2013

BYOD: The Importance of Wireless Site Surveys

Alongside BYOD’s meteoric rise in the workplace, there’s been a corresponding explosion of mobile device malware. With the total mobile malware samples across all operating systems rising from 11,138 in 2010 to 28,472 in 2011, it’s clear that mobile data is under attack. Given that an estimated 60% of employees use a mobile device for work, both a mobile device use policy and mobile device management plan for your organization are fast becoming necessities.

The first step to developing a mobile device use policy and mobile device management plan is to assess your current wireless environment through a wireless site survey. Wireless site surveys help organizations design and implement a plan that will deliver the required wireless coverage for their unique needs. It is critical to have a comprehensive understanding of the type of wireless network that will best serve an organization’s needs in terms of security, coverage, and cost, before beginning a wireless project.

Did you know? Great Lakes Computer is now offering 3 wireless site survey options: active, passive and predictive.

  • Active - An active wireless survey is performed by connecting GLC’s Wi-Fi adapter to the client’s wireless network. This type of survey allows Great Lakes to determine what the end user would experience.
  • Passive - A passive wireless survey is performed through an application that collects the most comprehensive data on the RF environment. This method creates a good picture of the existing wireless environment, which allows Great Lakes to determine any “holes” in coverage and make adjustments to the network as needed.
  • Predictive - A predictive wireless survey is performed by creating a simulation of the RF environment through entering information about the environment into an RF modeling tool. By using test equipment to perform a “walk-through” and taking measurements along the way, Great Lakes can accurately plan and design a complete wireless network solution.

The type of wireless site survey that is used will be based on each organization’s unique requirements. This allows for the most accurate assessment of what is required from an infrastructure perspective to support a mobile device use policy and mobile device management plan for your organization.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why Blades for Virtualization?

So you've made the decision to virtualize your environment. You've probably also decided which virtualization platform that you’re going with (VMware, Microsoft, etc.), but have you thought about the server boxes that you will be putting it on?  While you may be intimidated by blade servers because of the perceived complexity and alleged higher price point, here are a few reasons that you should consider before you decide...

  1. Blade servers can offer a 3:1 ratio of systems in a physical space compared to equivalent rackmount servers.
  2. The centralized management of blade enclosures reduces OpEx (operational expenditure) by reducing time required for routine maintenance and support.
  3. Shared power and cooling greatly improves resource utilization.
  4. Wire-once connectivity allows for significantly quicker deployments, upgrades, and maintenance.
  5. Combine the centralized management and wire-once connectivity with server management software such as HP Insight Control, and you will see an exponential increase in your support team’s productivity.

So if you are looking to purchase seven servers or more for your virtualization project, then you should definitely consider blade servers. Seven is the magic number in this scenario, because it is commonly the break-even point for the cost of a blade server infrastructure versus rackmount servers.  Once cost has been eliminated as a factor, the simplicity and density that blade servers bring to your virtualized environment will outweigh all other factors.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Review of Juniper Networks's Mykonos Acquisition

The one year anniversary of Juniper Networks’s acquisition of Mykonos Software was last month on February 13th. We've decided to take a look back at what’s happened in the past year to see how Mykonos software has integrated into the Juniper Network product portfolio, and what advantages it has brought to the Juniper customer.

For starters, what exactly is Mykonos Software and why did Juniper Networks want it? Juniper Networks purchased Mykonos Software for their Mykonos Web Security software product. This product is a Web Intrusion Detection System that provides comprehensive web application security by detecting, tracking, profiling and preventing hackers in real-time.

Due to its functionality, the Mykonos Web Security software product has been integrated into the security portion of the Juniper Networks product portfolio. It is important to note that Mykonos is not a Network Intrusion Prevention System; it only protects web traffic and deals with HTTP and HTTPS protocols. This means that it basically acts a reverse proxy, and sits in your network DMZ between your Firewall and your Application Servers.

Mykonos is unique in its approach – it detects threats using deception. It does this by inserting detection points into web application code to create what is essentially a minefield. This detects hackers with certain malicious intent, and then Mykonos takes it a step further by capturing the hacker’s IP address and using techniques such as a persistent token and a fingerprinting technique.

Using these techniques to track and identify the hacker, Mykonos can then profile the hacker and record the incident. Once the hacker’s intent and skill level has been identified and recorded by Mykonos, the next time they attempt an attack, Mykonos will be ready with a response tailored to their unique hacker profile that can be deployed either automatically or manually in real-time.

The fact that Mykonos provides web intrusion prevention in real-time is a major advantage, but the biggest advantage that Mykonos brings to the Juniper product portfolio is the ability to proactively identify hackers before they do damage with no false positives. The claim of zero false positives is truly unique because Mykonos creates deceptive traps that only a hacker with malicious intent would be able to find because they are inserted into the code that a normal, non-threatening user would never see.

So, overall, we say bravo to Juniper Networks for making the Mykonos acquisition.  Their security offering is truly more robust with the Mykonos offering, and it provides an edge that can’t be found elsewhere in the market thanks to the combination of real-time prevention and zero false positives.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why You Should Consider Making the Move to Blades

Once the perceived complexity of blade infrastructures has been eliminated, it is important to look at the many advantages that blade infrastructures provide.

One key advantage of blade server infrastructures it that they save time, which in turn saves dollars. Time is saved in multiple ways. For instance, since provisioning a new blade server into a blade infrastructure is as easy as inserting a new server into the blade chassis, time is saved by eliminating work that would be necessary when provisioning a rackmount server such as connecting external power, network or fiber cables. All of these components have been consolidated within the blade chassis by means of the common midplane.

Another way that time is saved with a blade infrastructure is through administration. The blade enclosure management software offers remote control capabilities over the blade chassis and its individual components. This allows administrators to remotely log in and perform management tasks for every aspect of the blade chassis through the combination of web management software and remote consoles. This allows for reduced man hours, freeing administrators for other tasks.

Another key advantage offered by a blade infrastructure is adaptability. Blade infrastructures are change-ready because they can easily start out with just a single blade server in the chassis and expand to grow alongside evolving organizations. As further proof of its adaptability, all modular components that are deployed within the blade chassis can be swapped without having to power down.

Additionally, since blade enclosures can accommodate interconnect modules like Ethernet network switches and FC for SANs, adding one is a simple process. To begin, the interconnect module will need to be added to the blade chassis. Then the server blade IO module needs to be mapped to the switch ports through the blade management software. The blade management software can also automate operating system deployment and patching for further adaptability.

Blade infrastructures are also energy-efficient. Due to the shared power and cooling provided by the blade chassis, blade infrastructures offer a reduced heat signature and power requirements. This allows more energy-efficiency than traditional rack-mount servers, which enables blade servers to reduce overall power consumption and heat output and therefore, reduces the number of cooling fans that are needed.

Additionally, chassis-based power supplies and cooling fans tend to have more enterprise level features and offer better reliability and efficiency than the standard units installed in commodity rack servers.
The biggest advantage of blade infrastructures is the cost-savings that result from reduced management and support costs, reduced IT infrastructure costs, and reduced third-party expenses.

The reduced management and support costs are derived from reduced startup, less management, and reduced downtime. The reduced IT infrastructure costs are the result of the shared components within the blade chassis due to the common midplane. The decreased third-party expenses are a result of reduced cabling and the lack of need for third-party management tools.