Ipswitch surveyed IT professionals across the globe and it turns out that data security and compliance are top challenges for IT teams in 2016.
How We Did It
Ipswitch polled 555 IT team members who work in companies across the globe with greater than 500 employees. We surveyed IT pros globally, partnering with Vanson Bourne in Europe, between October-November 2015 to learn about their File Transfer habits and goals.
255 in the US and 300 in Europe (100 each UK, France and Germany)
Totals by industry:
Other (includes Technology, Consulting, Utilities/Energy, Construction, & others) 32%
2016 State of Data Security and Compliance Infographic
Last week I got about halfway through writing my “deep dive” into what’s new in WhatsUp Gold version 16.4 and realized this was going to have to be a two-parter. So consider this post a “part 2 of 2” and enjoy the swim in the pool as you check out the new features and what they mean to you. Here’s a link to part 1 of this blog, in case you missed it.
SNMP Extended Monitor
SNMP (simple network management protocol) is a fundamental part of any network monitoring product, and as you’d expect, WhatsUp Gold speaks SNMP fluently. We have active SNMP monitors, performance SNMP monitors, and Alert Center Threshold SNMP monitors. But, keeping all your SNMP monitors straight can be a challenge for a network administrator.
To help with this, in WhatsUp Gold 16.4 we have added the SNMP Extended Monitor. This is a new active monitor that allows you to consolidate many SNMP monitors into one. If, for example, you want to monitor 10 different SNMP OIDs (object identifiers) on a certain device, but don’t want to clutter the device with all these individual monitors, then simply add a single SNMP Extended Monitor and consolidate your OIDs there. Within the single monitor, you get to set thresholds on each OID. Tripping any of the thresholds will trigger whatever alerts you have setup for the device. You can get the details of which OID triggered the alert via the State Change Log, or in an email alert.
Another great feature of the SNMP Extended Monitor is the ability to load and reuse the multi-OID configurations from a standard XML file. This allows you to re-use the OID definitions and their associated thresholds across many devices.
Application Performance Monitor
Application Performance Monitor is a powerful plugin for WhatsUp Gold. It allows you to systematically monitor servers on your network a higher up the stack, and look at critical statistics that relate directly to the performance of your running applications. And, it comes with a bunch of pre-defined application profiles that let you get up and running quickly. With the release of WhatsUp Gold 16.4 we have added some new monitoring profiles as we continue to add value to this product. We’ve added profiles for Linux, Apache Web Servers, Windows DNS, SharePoint 2013, and Microsoft SQL named instances.
I’m particularly excited by the addition of Linux and Apache profiles. We already had a profile for MySQL, so now, we’ve pretty much got the LAMP stack covered. As enterprises start to rollout Linux and other open source technologies, there’s no reason to change your monitoring environment. Keep it all in the single pane of glass with WhatsUp Gold.
Related to my excitement about monitoring the LAMP stack in our Application Performance Monitor, I’m also thrilled about our new ability to monitor JMX, or Java Management Extensions. JMX is a technology that is used in Java application servers, many of which are open source, like Apache Tomcat or Apache ActiveMQ. JMX allows these application servers export various measurements and statistics related to the Java application. Think of it like SNMP, but for Java apps.
In WhatsUp Gold 16.4, we’ve added the ability to create active JMX monitors, and performance JMX monitors, so you can get alerts when a monitor is out of threshold, as well as chart the performance over time. And, because navigating JMX can sometimes be difficult (just like SNMP), we’ve provided a JMX browser in the product, so that you can quickly figure out what measurements your app server is exporting (just like our SNMP browser).
These three new features, plus the ones I went over in last week’s post (aka part 1 of 2) make it plain that we continue to innovate and add customer value. Give 16.4 a try!
And for those of you who want a super deep dive, check out this video that provides an 11 minute technical overview of WhatsUp Gold 16.4.
For most companies, a new year means a clean slate to renew goals and focus on success. Here at Ipswitch, we started the year releasing major improvements to WhatsUp Gold with version 16.4.
Diving Deep into WhatsUp Gold 16.4
In a previous blog post, my colleague Kevin Conklin outlined the general highlights of these updates. In this post, I will take a deeper dive into each improvement and its implications for monitoring your networks.
For those of you who want a super deep dive, check out this video that provides an 11 minute technical overview of WhatsUp Gold 16.4.
SSL Certificate Monitor
If you are responsible for web servers that use HTTPS, this monitor can save you serious embarrassment and potential loss of customers and revenue. If a certificate expires on your web server, your customers will be shown a scary expiration message instead of your web page. While the message does allow your customers to get to your website via a special link, many customers will lose trust in your website and will simply abandon the page, and might never return.
To solve this nasty problem, the SSL Certificate Monitor will alert you a number of days before a certificate expires, based on a warning time frame that you select. A common setting for this monitor is 30 or 60 days. Thus, if an alert is triggered, you will have plenty of time to get a new certificate and load it before the current certificate expires. Your customers will never know.
In addition to checking for certificate expiration, the monitor also tests to see if the DNS name of the web server matches the canonical name in the certificate. This is also a frequently encountered configuration error which can cause angst for your customers. With this monitor, you can ensure that this configuration error never happens.
File Content Monitor
In WhatsUp Gold 16.4 we added a great new tool for the IT admin’s toolbox: the file content monitor. The monitor is deceptively simple. It scans a text file or files of your choosing looking for a string, and then alerts if it finds the string. This opens up WhatsUp Gold to monitoring lots of things that it couldn’t before, except through custom scripting.
A common use case is to monitor the logs of custom applications. Let’s say that a custom application puts the word ‘error’ into a log text file when some problem occurs. Using this monitor, you can be alerted when this happens. We’ve made sure that the monitor remembers where it was in the log file between polls, so it won’t alert again on the same error. Or, you can have the monitor read the log file from the start on each poll, which handles other logging use cases, such as when a log file is re-written on a regular interval. This is one of those monitors that can be used in all sorts of creative ways in diverse networks.
Flow Monitor is a great plugin for WhatsUp Gold. It gives IT admins a detailed view of their network like no other part of the WhatsUp Gold platform. We’ve made a couple of key changes to Flow Monitor in this release.
First, on the Flow Sources page, we have added better sorting and filtering. You are now able to filter sources based on DNS names and IP addresses, or any part thereof. If you want to see the sources that have interfaces in the 192.168.1.x network, no problem. Just type that in ‘192.168.1’. In addition, we’ve added better sorting on the sources page. Both these improvements have been asked for by our customers, especially for those dealing with a large number of flow sources.
In addition to these interface improvements, we’ve also added two new reports: Top Endpoints, and Top Endpoint Groups. A common use for Flow Monitor is to show which devices on your network are sending or receiving the most data. We have reports like Top Senders and Top Receivers for this. But we’ve never had a report that showed the devices on your network based on total traffic, both sending and receiving. That’s what the Top Endpoints report does. In addition, like many of our other reports, we have a version of it meant for groups of IP addresses that you define, giving you a way to make your environment more understandable. With these two reports, you can really get at your bandwidth hogs like never before.
These improvements will make using monitors in WhatsUp Gold easier and more user friendly. In 2015, we identified the places WhatsUp Gold could be stronger and more useful on a day-to-day basis. This work prepared us to launch these exciting upgrades in 2016 and start the year off right. Look for my next blog post for another deep dive into more new features.
Today we announced the findings of our third annual ‘Happy Holidays?’ survey that revealed the nightmares IT pros can expect during the holiday season. Our survey was conducted across the US and the UK, polling a total of 543 IT pros.
Employees working remotely or being careless during holiday celebrations will create a nightmare before (and during) the Christmas season.
What we found interesting about the survey data:
Coping with the nightmare before Christmas
Rather than celebrating the holidays with friends and family uninterrupted, IT pros will be dealing with the network nightmares that arise. The survey polling 165 British IT pros revealed that over a quarter (27 percent) can expect to be either on-call or working on Christmas Eve, with 10 percent on Christmas day. 13 percent of IT professionals in the UK also expect to be tied up with work matters on New Year’s Eve.
IT Pros and Employees: Home for the holidays
IT teams can expect an increased demand for remote management capabilities and 24/7 access as employees will be working from home, traveling or on vacation. When asked what percentage of their workforce will be working remotely over the holidays, 47 percent of IT professionals in the U.S. and 51 percent of the Brits said up to 25 percent. Another 29 percent in the US said up to 50% of their workforce, as compared with 26 percent of the British IT pros.
Holiday horrors continue
When asked what the most common IT problem employees face when the office is closed for the holidays, the top two issues for IT pros in the UK and the US were laptop problems (39 percent) and the inability to access the network (36 percent). 28 percent of IT professionals in the UK indicated poor application performance was also a common problem, followed by the 21 percent that reported security-related issues (e.g. malware on laptops). To add to mounting pressures, 41 percent of IT professionals in the UK have experienced a major network outage during a company holiday while 38 percent of IT professionals in the US have experienced the same.
Celebrations gone wrong
While employees are spreading holiday cheer, IT pros are left tackling the consequences that can result from company holiday celebrations. Over half of IT professionals (57 percent) in the UK reported that they’re worried that their network could suffer a data breach at the hands of a careless celebration. In addition, 36 percent of IT professionals in the UK confirmed they have had an IT user report the loss of a device holding company data following holiday celebrations in a pub, restaurant, or at a party.
What to expect in 2016. When asked what IT believes to be the “must-have” gadget in 2016, 34 percent of IT professionals in the UK said wearable technology, whereas 33 percent of IT professionals in the US said smart phones. The survey also uncovered that the top resolution in 2016 for IT professionals in both the US and UK was increased level of network security, with about 50% reporting in.
For the full findings from both the US and UK, download the respective infographics and data below.
My name is Greg Jankowski and I lead our online and technical support groups here at Ipswitch. In order to make a good first impression I decided to keep my first post short and sweet.
We are working to improve the ways we engage with our customers who use our managed file transfer products (or are just interested in the technology) and are developing an online community to serve this purpose. This yet-to-be-named community will allow folks to ask questions and comment, share content and ideas, learn best practices, and build new connections.
Before we get too far along in development, we would love to get your feedback via a brief 2 minute online community survey. As a token of our gratitude for taking the survey, we will award one lucky respondent with a shiny new Apple Watch.
>> Be sure to engage with us next month during the Ipswitch Innovate 2015 User Summit, a two-day (October 21-22) online only event for IT professionals to learn from each other, and our product experts.
Today we announced the release of our Network Manager’s Free Toolkit that provides three tools to make IT pros’ workdays a little easier. I get the pressure IT pros are under to keep applications, servers and networks performing well, which is why we created this new toolkit as a free and helpful resource. (Click here to download the tools.)
The Ipswitch Network Manager’s Free Toolkit includes the following:
It takes two to make a company. Sounds like a cliché, you say? Or is it a bold prediction by the retiring Cisco CEO? In his last keynote as CEO, John Chambers envisioned that many large companies of the future will only have two employees – a CEO and a CIO. All other functions will be outsourced. Did Cisco Live exhibit trends that could support this type of a structure? Let’s take a look at three trends that I observed: ‘
Trend #1: Cloudy with no chance of rain
The writing is clearly on the wall for custom underutilized hardware. Whether it is in networking, computing, or storage, customers are embracing (demanding?) the flexibility to purchase resources on demand; that is modular, inter-operable software that can be deployed on commodity hardware. The hardware can be replaced at any time, with products from any vendor, without the applications missing a heartbeat. Workloads can be running anywhere without the worry of downtime (no rainy days!!). This can be in a private cloud (racks of commodity equipment) or elastic capacity bought in the public cloud. More importantly, these applications and workloads are increasingly directly related to the business function provided by the company. Any other supporting functions like sales, CRM, accounting, and collaboration tools are outsourced. Clouds, public or private, are changing how the business is run. Businesses will continue to buy capacity in an elastic manner to adapt to the changing business needs. And all they will need is a CIO to make sure it all keeps working seamlessly. At Cisco Live, this trend was clearly evident in Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure.
Trend #2: Connected Everything
On my way to Cisco Live, I traveled with my personal administrative assistant. She told me when my airport shuttle was arriving, which terminal and gates my flight was leaving from, and which train I needed to take to get to the hotel. And she never missed a beat. Her (his?) name is “Google Now” and s/he is helped by an army of robots connecting everything imaginable. Needless to say, I didn’t need to visit the “Connected Everything” exhibits at Cisco Live to convince me that tomorrow’s traveling CEOs may not need a dedicated human assistant. This function is being automated where possible and outsourced when not.
Trend #3: Eyes on Everything
So, who is the watch guard of all of this outsourced and automated infrastructure to make sure the critical nature of the business is not impacted? Infrastructure monitoring was the 3rd prominent theme at Cisco Live. More specifically, it was with the mindset of a “Single Pane of Glass“. When business critical needs are met by a diverse set of resources, the need for a single pane of glass is even greater. Automation and correlation of the raw data from multiple sources, translated into meaningful business metrics would allow both the CEO and the CIO to make decisions in real time when necessary and generate analysis to support their decisions.
Of course, we may sound overly imaginative with the notion of a two-person company. But a two-function company (a business function and a technology function) is certainly within the realm of possibility. And if Chambers is right, we will certainly see companies reorganizing around these two disciplines.
We’re really looking forward to seeing our customers and all the other IT pros here at Cisco Live 2015. In fact, before you even stop by our booth (#1006), you can meet the Ipswitch team on our nifty ‘Ipswitch at Cisco Live’ website — and pre-register for some irresistible daily grand prize drawings while you’re at it. And follow the conversation @WhatsUpGold.
As we prepare Ipswitch booth #1006 to open for business tonight I’d like to share the ‘top four totally worthwhile reasons’ to come on by this week. Yes we will have schwag, but I assure it’s above your average kind of schwag. Even our t-shirts.
1. Let’s talk about your network monitoring challenges. We’re good listeners. And problem solvers.
Let’s talk about how we can make your job easier to do by avoiding things like your users discovering network, server or application performance issues before you do. Or worse, when you can’t find the source of the problem and get sucked into a blamestorm. Not to mention those hungry bandwidth hogs crushing network performance, thereby upsetting other users, who then … ok, we’ve come full circle.
2. Why our approach to licensing our product is a lot better deal than everyone else’s
“The WhatsUp Gold device-based pricing model is one of the least complex licensing models we’ve encountered.” – Jim Frey, Vice President of Research at Enterprise Management Associates.
Glad you think so, Jim. We get overwhelmingly positive feedback once folks see how our device-based licensing approach will play out in their network. The way we go about it gives you:
Visibility – We think you should only have to license by device, not by all its interfaces and elements. You get to cover a lot more ground and feel confident nothing will go unchecked.
Transparency – No surprises down the road. No under-configuring. No spikes in costs just months down the road.
3. Drum roll… Introducing Version WhatsUp Gold 16.3!
“It’s amazing to see other customers provide feedback and then see those same ideas and features incorporated into WhatsUp Gold releases like this one.” – Matt Cline, Senior Systems Administrator at Optim Health. (Thanks Matt. We try our best.)
We’ll be showing off the brand new v16.3 of WhatsUp Gold released last week. We think you’ll be glad to see a sharp new user interface that makes for a better user experience. “I like the new WhatsUp Gold interface because it’s clean and modern.” – Matt Cline, Senior Systems Administrator, Optim Health. (Matt, thanks, we think so too.)
Expanded APM support for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint®, Dynamics, Lync®, SQL Server®, Internet Information Services (IIS), Windows®, Active Directory® and Hyper-V®. “The expanded pre-defined profiles for Microsoft applications are really useful for finding problems like slow database performance on production servers.” – Matt Cline. (Matt, we’re glad you like them.)
And more including top requests around productivity & monitoring flexibility from the WUGSpace Community
4. Prizes, Prizes, Prizes. Not Your Average Schwag.
Just in case you’re quite not yet convinced we’re a must-see stop on the show floor, we have some nifty prizes and giveaways you could win, like:
Everywhere You Want to Be*: We will be giving away $50 Visa Gift Cards throughout the day for those who listen to our presentation.
Inspector Gadget: Spend a few more minutes with us to see the WhatsUp Gold demo, and you will be entered into our daily grand prize drawings where we are giving away your choice of Surface 3, Xbox One, GoPro 4 or a $500 Visa Gift Card. (Decisions, decisions.)
Get X-ray vision: If you upgrade to version 16.3, take a screenshot of the new interface and share it on the WUGspace community and we’ll send you a WhatsUp Gold t-shirt that certifies your newly found X-ray vision.
We look forward to seeing you at the show. And join the conversation on Twitter @WhatsUpGold while you’re here.
*This is Visa’s slogan, just in case that wasn’t obvious.
We’ve given the Ipswitch Network Monitor Blog a makeover to make it easier to read and navigate, and encourage you to subscribe to join the conversation with your fellow IT pros. Our resident and guest authors’ posts on industry trends and issues run the gamut from APM to Zero downtime. In the months ahead you’ll see us addressing questions like these:
Will life in IT ever get simpler?
Is the Internet of Things hype or reality?
Why is my application walking instead of running?
iCare: We Make More Than Software. We Make a Difference.
Community involvement is an integral part of Ipswitch’s culture and values and we recognize that the vitality of our company is linked to the health of our communities. Our iCare program mission is to be socially responsible through philanthropy, community service and the ways we operate. So… what does iCare have to do with this blog? To show our appreciation, we’ll match every new, unique subscription with a $2.00 donation to a local charity*.
Subscribe in Three Quick Steps
Enter your email address next to the blue “Subscribe” button (see right)
Type in your email address and hit “enter”. A pop-up will verify you.
You will receive a verification email to activate your subscription. Click. Done.
Thank you for subscribing and we hope you enjoy reading our blog and learn how life in IT can get better. We also welcome comments to keep the conversation going.
*We’ll donate $1000 per the first 500 subscribers.
Many cash-strapped UK government bodies are spending on network management tools offering features that they either don’t need, or will never use. And they appear unable to easily gather fundamental data about the growing number of devices on their network.
How do we know this? We made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in the UK some months ago and surveyed 634 public sector organizations. We asked about their use of network management and network monitoring tools to manage present and future challenges. These organizations included local authorities, government departments, NHS trusts and universities.
What we found was a general lack of attention paid upon network management and application performance management. Case in point:
Even though the vast majority (93 percent) have invested in network management tools, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) cannot distinguish between wired and wireless devices on their network
The majority (87 percent) cited network performance as a key priority but less than a quarter (23 percent) bothers to review network performance regularly during office hours.
Additionally, just over a third (34 percent) review network performance on a weekly basis or less frequently while one in eight (12 percent) admit to not reviewing network performance at all
This is a perfect storm of device overload and application performance problems that they’ll struggle to manage. Government bodies in the UK should ask themselves what they really need to understand about their network, and ensure they’re using a solution closely aligned to this need.
Public sector organizations, including U.S. Federal agencies, can take control of their networks with a comprehensive, automated network monitoring solution run from a single dashboard. Empowered with this technology, IT professionals within any government organization can:
Respond to network problems before users notice, and keep critical systems operational
Discover and map an entire civilian or military IT infrastructure (Layer 2/3)
Receive network alerts when unauthorized changes are uncovered or when performance falls below preset service levels
As you may already know, there was a recent Security Advisory about new vulnerabilities in OpenSSL released in early June. This specific flaw requires a vulnerable OpenSSL library active on both the client and server ends of the transaction. The flaw allows a savvy attacker to sit between the client and server and turn off encryption, silently exposing information exchanged between those two end points. Technologies that only use OpenSSL to accept web-browser (HTTPS) connections will be vulnerable to this flaw only when the browser is using a vulnerable version of OpenSSL. Chrome for Android is the only major browser that is currently susceptible.
Security is a top priority for Ipswitch and our customers. Since this announcement, the Ipswitch Security Team has been working to determine the impact and issue patch fixes where vulnerabilities were found.
Through your Customer Portal you’ll be able to access instructions to properly implement the Security Update for impacted versions as available.
As with any security advisory, we understand that our customers may have additional concerns. If you should have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to the appropriate technical support team:
At a recent CIOboston event by CIOsynergy, I met two folks from Apprenda: Chris Gaun, Senior Product Marketing Manager, and Dave Cohn who heads Northeast Sales for the company. Apprenda is a ‘Private Platform as a Service’ company that sponsored the event with Microsoft. Both made the remark that IT needs to transition from being a cost center to being a profit center and do so by developing more customer-facing software for the business.
An intriguing concept and one that got the conversation flowing between the three of us and Al Ingram, Director of Operations in my IT department. And it got me thinking. At Ipswitch, IT worked with R&D on our Licensing System within our products to communicate with an IT-created back-end for product fulfillment and activation. That project certainly would fit the bill. We also manage ecommerce. Plus, as one of the leaders in Salesforce implementation, we have developed many tools and processes that could be shared/sold in the Salesforce ecosystem.
But I think this view of IT and what is needed is too narrow. Traditional P&L models, with their roots in manufacturing, assign IT as a cost center. But the way out is to question whether the model needs to be updated, rather than insist that IT produce traditional products that can be sold to customers. There is a value-add to the business from today’s IT that goes beyond viewing it as a sequence of projects or as simply ‘support’ resources. There is sustained return for the business, beyond just the savings that IT may have delivered vs. doing a project using more expensive outside consultants.
Measuring the Impact IT has on Business ROI
Business ROI must have an associated IT fraction that indicates long term value that IT created – it is a shared benefit. I am not suggesting that modeling IT as a profit center will be easy. Certainly, measuring just IT’s contribution to business productivity has been fraught with difficulty and controversy. But at a time when most IT departments can feel in their bones that they are making a difference to the business and every project is tagged as a business project rather than an IT project (as in the old days) we need these new models to evolve. Such measurement will lead to better valuation of IT: better funding, greater confidence by the business in IT spend, and expanded use of IT as a vital business leader.