I drove all the way from Boston to Denver not long ago and got to thinking about a major industry conference at the end of last month in Florida where we showed WhatsUp Gold software and talked shop. The theme of our booth was “the building blocks of network monitoring and management” with the use of LEGOs bringing it all together through booth construction and visuals.

cisco live booth photo 2

One of the inspired activities within our booth was the ability for visitors to draw on a LEGO and add it anywhere they wanted onto a free-form structure. Observing people’s choices was interesting. We offered white, green and yellow LEGOs; along with black, green and gold markers to write whatever they wanted. People’s messages varied wildly. Some wrote words relevant to the attendees of the show such as “syslog, “WUG rules” (WUG is an acronym for our product name) and “net man”. Others promoted a sports team or their hometown.

Quite a few wrote a reference to Star Wars as we had a LEGO artist constructing a LEGO mosaic of Darth Vader, which we raffled off on the last day. Some messages had meaning to the writer but are hard to categorize.

jason with artist

And then there was the placement of the LEGOs on the community structure. Some people were careful to pick a spot that contributed to the stability of the structure, while a smaller number were adventurous risk-takers who snapped one edge of the LEGO into a precarious and unexpected spot.

Later in the show, people stopped by to see their LEGO again and discover what the shape of the structure had become. Though it remained a combination of order and chaos, stability and risk, the community clearly preferred organization and reliability.

Perhaps the project was a metaphor for the jobs of the people who contributed: a balancing act that demands knowledge and a careful approach seasoned with creativity and ingenuity.

— Sarah Meyer, Director of Product Marketing, Network Management Division

Our services team recently assisted a casino with their WhatsUp Gold install. The casino outsourced network management to a third-party consultant, whom we called to get the credentials for their core router. He told us he would “call us back”.

 

Sunglasses on a craps table

Three weeks passed. No return call from the consultant.

Enter WhatsConfigured. A quick analysis revealed a back door through the casino’s firewall and core router, exposing sensitive data assets. Back of the house compromised.

Third parties, disgruntled employees – or just simple human error – it’s critical to ensure your network is properly configured. Find out if your network security is tight – run WhatsConfigured on your network free for 30 days.

WhatsConfigured provides businesses with security and control over critical infrastructure & configuration data:

  • Archiving authorized configurations
  • Scheduling regular configuration audits
  • Alerting when configurations have been changes
  • Comparing running configurations to authorized configurations

Learn how to uncover common IT vulnerability – run a free scan of your own network to see if you’re secure.

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Shadow IT continues to extend itself, but there are ways to take control and turn up the lights.

Unapproved applications and devices can drastically diminish available bandwidth, and ultimately cost IT by hurting the performance and availability of critical IT systems. As a result, production suffers and IT pros spend way too much time trying to find the root cause of the issue before they can solve it.

Shadow01-Cov-Cassaday_02

The key to effectively managing shadow IT is the ability to visualize, isolate and resolve issues before they impact network availability and performance.

  1. Flag unauthorized and unapproved applications. Before they can impact network performance
  2. Proactively monitor bandwidth utilization. Know who and what are consuming your bandwidth, and identify root causes before they cause slowdowns and outages.
  3. Monitor for rogue wireless devices. Unapproved devices affect bandwidth within critical areas of your network infrastructure and slow access to critical business applications. Know who is accessing what, when, and through what device through Layer 2/3 discovery.

Network monitoring isn’t meant to blow the whistle on Shadow IT or BYOD, but instead it is meant to maintain visibility and control to avoid problems that affect users.

(Turn on the lights and take better control of Shadow IT. Give WhatsUp Gold network monitoring and management software a spin and download a 30-day free trial here.)