The Ipswitch, Inc. Network Management Division is excited to announce the public availability of the Technical Preview Program for WhatsUp Gold v14.4 and WhatsConnected v3.0!

The Technical Preview Program allows WhatsUp Gold users to experience the latest version of WhatsUp Gold and WhatsConnected before they are released for sale, and your participation will help Ipswitch identify any areas for improvement in our products.

Check it out now!

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With the onslaught on “Black Friday” and the forthcoming “Cyber Monday” a week away, its not doubt that the holiday shopping season is upon us. The ads were leaked weeks ago and people have been strategically mapping out their shopping plan. (By the way, what is it about this time of year that changes even the most rational beings?) We’ve heard the stories about these legendary shopping days (I was once shoved aside by a rather sweet looking grandmother in an electronics store, and I’m sure I’m not the only one).

From people being trampled in a fight for Tickle Me Elmo, to online stores slowing to a crawl due to limited time offers, there all sorts of tales out there– and we want to hear yours! Ever participated in the midnight store openings, dealt with a crashed network from employees shopping online, or had the last Cabbage Patch doll snatched from your hands?

Comment back with your favorite or craziest story and our favorite will win a $100 Amazon.com gift card! We’ll announce our “Holiday Shopping Ninja” winner on Tuesday, November 30th.(And don’t forget to take our Cyber Monday poll on the right hand side of the homepage)

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Great question asked by Wayne Hemrick at ArticleSnatch.  In his answer to “How would you send large files in an ideal world?”,Wayne touches on a few very important considerations when thinking about person-to-person file sharing, including:  ease-of-use, large file size, and security.

I agree that the ability to easily send ginormous files is only part of the problem that a business should be looking to solve.  It’s no secret that people need to send other people files as part of their jobs.  In many cases, these files contain information that is sensitive and confidential.  In my opinion, the real issue is that business users lack a way to ensure the security of these information exchanges.

Wayne correctly points out that many of the currently used tools are insecure, inefficient, complicated and some even require the intervention of IT professionals.  But the growing risk of privacy loss and data breaches has made the security aspect of sending files a top concern.  Organizations need to demonstrate to their customers that they understand this and are taking steps to address it.

Businesses require a simple file sharing solution that:

  • Enables employees to easily send files (any size, any type) to other people
  • Lowers company risk by securing and protecting internal and customer information
  • Provides visibility into what happens after file is sent for auditing and compliance

The ideal solution must provide for guaranteed and trackable file delivery that your business can rely on.

This new log management platform boosts enterprise security, regulatory compliance and forensics

WhatsUp Event Log Management 9.0 allows enterprises of all sizes to protect critical information and meet important security and regulatory compliance requirements. The modular set of applications delivers a flexible, user-friendly format to simplify the challenges and complexity of log management.

With WhatsUp Event Log Management, customers can automatically collect, store, analyze, alert and report on both Windows Event and Syslog files for real-time security event detection and response, compliance assurance and forensics.

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More than any other question, customers and prospects are asking me: What is the Ipswitch Cloud story? What are you going to do in the Cloud?

The Cloud has been the topic of discussion in many Product Management and Research & Development meetings and strategy sessions here at Ipswitch. While we may not have all the details sorted out, I want to provide you with a my initial thoughts…and I’d like to encourage you to provide feedback.

Ipswitch looks at the Cloud as having multiple personae. That is, to say, it represents various “things” to us.

In one sense, it’s a destination. When I use a Cloud-based service, my destination is the Cloud and there are attributes about this destination that are pre-configurable, predictable, and static, as far as connectivity goes. The notion of a set of Cloud Streams offered by Ipswitch is a real possibility. With over 10 million active users, we could offer pre-configured, governed connections to common Cloud-based SaaS providers like Salesforce.com or Office 365.

In another sense,  the Cloud represents a way to broker information to some other endpoint that may be cloud-based or on-premise. Our Sendable offering is just that. We broker the interactions between people and systems. Brokering includes adding layers of visibility, management, and enforcement. In this case, it’s important to offer multiple ways of connecting and multiple ways of provisioning, from ad-hoc to more formalized adapters and interfaces.

Finally, we look at the Cloud as being half of any domain-to-domain exchange of information, whether it’s people-to-people, system-to-system, application-to-application, or business-to-business. Companies of any size need to seriously consider a hybrid approach to MFT, B2B, and EAI overall.

Do you use WhatsUp Gold? Do you love WhatsUp Gold? If so, then show us the love! We want to hear your stories and then we want to see them in video.  But don’t worry, because we’ll take care of the video part; just provide us with the idea. Visit our YouTube LUV2WUG channel to see other ninja videos that have come to life!

The video with the most votes from each major region around the world will win an iPad with the help of our WUG Ninja Nation panel.

Join the WUG Ninja nation and tell us why you LUV2WUG.

Neil Chesanow just published a very informative article for Medscape titled “Why Your Patients’ Data May Not Be Safe: 5 Steps to Protect It”

I had the pleasure of talking with Neil as he was writing the article and I must say that I’m impressed with the 5-step approach he outlines to prevent privacy breaches.

1.    Develop a strict-but-realistic security policy
2.    Control access to patient data
3.    Monitor electronic health record (EHR) activity
4.    Require more complex passwords
5.    Encrypt all outgoing files

Although written from a medical/healthcare point-of-view, the steps can be applied to help any business or organization think through some of the issues surrounding the protection of sensitive and confidential files and data.

One of the more critical points that I believe Neil highlighted is how important it is to control access to confidential information.  Access to sensitive files and data should only be granted to people that are required to use it as part of their job.  Not every employee or external partner should have access to all company information…. And it’s easy enough to control and enforce access by applying simple rules and policies.

Monitoring, reporting and auditing file and data activity is another critical point raised by Neil.  The ability to see who accessed sensitive information, when and how many times they access it, whether they moved or sent it to another location or person, and if/how the transmission and file itself was secured and encrypted are important pieces of information from both an internal security policy as well as compliance perspective.  Believe me, you don’t ever want to turn down an eDiscovery judge’s request to provide an audit trail for a particular file or communication and not be able to provide it.

Although we are all familiar with budget cuts, this might ring close to home for the UK public sector, where on October 20 the government announced an intense review of public sector spending. However, given the less than ideal state of the international economy, working effectively within budget constraints is no less prevalent worldwide. Our Channel Manager, Steve Demianyk, provides some tips for the IT department under fire.

Tip #1 Make the most of the infrastructure you already own

Document port-to-port connectivity, ideally, with an inexpensive layer 2/3 discovery, mapping, and inventory tool. With a complete inventory in place, troubleshooting, auditing, and repurposing unused resources becomes easier.

Tip #2 Need more hardware? Consider moving to an internal cloud!

Ipswitch hasn’t purchased a single piece of hardware in the three years since we’ve moved to the internal cloud. Your first step in virtualization is to decide which serves to move to the cloud. Usually, supplementary servers like DNS, domain controllers, DHCP, and file and print servers are good places to start because they don’t take full advantage of the hardware on which they exist. Web servers, mail servers and small databases are also good candidates.

More complex servers can be virtualized, but this must be planned out carefully. Before virtualizing any server you should run a trending analysis and performance monitoring. You will want to measure processor use, memory use, storage, network traffic volume and disk I/O. An overloaded server should not be moved to the cloud in any case.

Tip #3 Look for ways to troubleshoot and resolve issues faster

Industries studies show that 80% of IT time and resources are spent on finding the problem, and only 20% is for fixing the issues. If you are running more than one network management solution you will have to manually examine multiple reports and interfaces to correlate information across various types of metrics. This can substantially lengthen mean time to resolution (MTTR), making the job much more difficult and time consuming. Look for an infrastructure management solution that will let you discover, map, monitor and manage the network devices, servers, applications, virtual resources, port-to-port connectivity, configuration settings and network traffic from a single console.

Tip #4 Ensure 24×7 health, availability and optimal performance of infrastructure and applications

Performance monitoring should be a routine task. This seemingly unimportant activity can minimize risks and increase the likelihood that network issues and bottlenecks are found early on. A network management solution with an all-inclusive console will make this job easier and more efficient.

Tip #5 Look for cost-effective solutions

They do exist. If you currently use one of the big four solutions you might want to reconsider your solution for the upcoming year. You can still have a solid IT management solution for a reasonable price, but you may have to sacrifice the bells and whistles. One might naturally look towards open source solutions, but configuration can be a nightmare and the risks are high: vulnerability, scalability, liability, lack of tech support.

As the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy puts it, “Don’t panic” (in the face of budget cuts). Just weigh your options and find ways to do more with less.

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Thanks to Chris Hampton of Realtime Publishers we have a few tips to make your life as a network admin easier.

Through automation and other efficient methods of network management you can make yourself the ultimate resource for network status and configuration knowledge, while at the same time alleviating your stress points.

One way to help yourself is to utilize tools that save time. Why waste time with manual network topology documentation when ARP Cache Discovery and Link Layer Discovery Protocols can do that for you? They query your devices’ Management Information Database files and collect extensive info to assist in building a network outline that is up-to-date in near real-time.

Another important ability is staying in control. Know your network: what devices are on your network and where they are located. You should know device interdependencies and how they are affected by changes to the network. In order to do this it is a good idea to track all changes. Collecting up-to-date status information with powerful scheduled discovery checks will allow you to do this. A network management solution that offers device configuration management from a central location would be a great asset to you in this situation.

With such a tool you can also enhance your ability to keep the network available by pinpointing issues quickly and reducing downtime. Pinpointing becomes easier when you have a network management solution that automatically generates network maps and map views and can export these maps to documentation tools like Microsoft Visio. Easily-retrievable maps provide you with insight into a network’s overall design.

Once you have these abilities at your fingertips, daily network administration tasks are a cakewalk. Plus, you’ve succeeded in making yourself the ultimate resource.

On Wednesday, November 3 and Thursday, November 4, Ipswitch File Transfer will be exhibiting and speaking at SecureWorld Expo, the leading regional security conference that brings together the security leaders, experts, senior executives, and policy makers who are shaping the very face of security.

The “Exhibits and Open Sessions Registration” for SecureWorld Expo is complimentary and it gives you access to the expo floor, the keynote presentations, and open industry expert panels. Plus, you’ll get to hear the luncheon keynote from L. Frank Kenney, The Data Breaches You Don’t See Hurt You The Most,” and the industry expert panel Data Protection: Walking the Thin Line Between Employee Productivity and Security.”

Here are the details:

What: SecureWorld Expo – Dallas

Where: Plano Convention Centre, Plano, TX

When: November 3, 2010 and November 4, 2010

Why: Meet the Ipswitch File Transfer team, learn about our solutions (from WS_FTP to MessageWay), listen in on L. Frank Kenney’s luncheon keynote, and keep up to date on the latest in the security world!

Plus, if you visit us and mention this blog post, you’ll receive a Starbucks gift card – on the spot!

See you in Dallas!