Ask 10 network professionals about infrastructure security and you’ll get almost as many opinions ranging from “you don’t need more than a firewall and a good set of access rules” to “invest in a variety of included and separate network security tools” and everything in between. However, the truth usually lies in the middle.

Admittedly, you don’t always need to buy a shelf full of software to realize good infrastructure security on a budget. “All you really want is a good firewall and good security permission within the network,” says Ryan Jones, an independent network security consultant. “Use a limited-access principle and give everyone the minimum required access and escalate the permission upward only when required.”

This approach will work for some, but others — especially those involved in banking or e-commerce — will need at least another layer. “Using metrics management and monitoring [for] the network and data is complex, but basically, apply some methodologies and use the software of your choice to manage security,” recommends Rodrigo Arruda, an IT specialist for Itaú, an international financial institution headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “It does often involve some cost, though.”

Stay Up to Date

You don’t have to spend your department’s whole budget on just a few things. In fact, Peoria Magazines says much of what you can do to secure your network without breaking the bank is free or close to it. Keeping your software up to date between major revisions is usually free and will plug up holes you might discover at an inconvenient time.

Stay Fired Up

You should also be using a sturdy firewall product and configuring it per the nature and sensitivity of your data. Don’t set it to auto-learn, which can be just as bad as auto-correct on a smartphone. Manage the rules so it knows which programs have what level of access, and be sure to specify the ports that will be used. Keep in mind firewalls should be supplements to more comprehensive authentication and threat-detection protocol.

Deny the SPAM

Although Kaspersky and similar cloud-based security services integrate pretty well with professional email platforms, your team should be willing to invest about $1,500 in a decent spam-filtering appliance, as phishing is often how network intrusions are initiated with unsuspecting staff (you’ve trained them on phishing content, right?).

Lock It Up Properly

Another way to ensure infrastructure security on a budget is to limit user access. This means John in Accounting and Mary in Sales shouldn’t be installing new software on a regular basis. In fact, these users should only need to install new software once or maybe twice a year. Only administrators, and select department heads, should be given administrative access to the network. Everyone else should be given the most basic rights they need to do their jobs efficiently and securely.

Use Deception to Foil Intruders

Sun Tzu, in his famous tome, said: “All warfare is based upon deception.” A minor modification and it resonates with IT personnel: “All ‘warefare’ is based upon deception.” In other words, use software to deceive intruders. Products like Sourceforge’s Active Defense Harbinger Distribution (ADHD) can detect a malicious network entry and block all outgoing traffic to that IP. To the intruder, your network just went dark.

Use a VPN for Remote-Access Users

Once upon a time, you could give your remote users a phone number, have them dial into your network and use something akin to a secure net key to give them remote access. The encryption that a virtual private network (VPN) uses is typically unbreakable, and even if it is breached, it will have taken so long to do so that the connection itself drops by the time that key is broken. OpenVPN is a solid open-source project and free through its community version.

Keeping your network secure with limited funds isn’t impossible, but it may seem like an insurmountable task at times. With proper planning, however, it doesn’t have to. Whether it’s free or very inexpensive, spam filters are your biggest commitment. Most of the suggestions above will only cost you and your team some necessary time.

If asked to name the five most-viewed sporting events in the world, what would you say?

Perhaps The World Series, March Madness or Wimbledon?

All good guesses, but you’d be wrong in each case. Here are the top five events when it comes to attracting a media audience, with the most-viewed at the top:

  1. The World Cup
  2. The Olympic Games
  3. ICC Cricket World Cup Championship
  4. Super Bowl
  5. Monaco Grand Prix

iStock_000037172808MediumAnd while they are all on the same list, the standings aren’t even close. The World Cup is far and away the most watched sports event on the planet. Here are some interesting statistics from FIFA’s 2010 World Cup Television Audience Report.

In-home audience reach based on viewers watching at least:

  • 1+ minute of coverage: 3.2 billion representing 46% of the global population in 2010
  • 3+ consecutive minutes of coverage: 2.8 billion representing 41% of the global population in 2010
  • 20+ consecutive minutes of coverage: 2.2 billion representing 32% of the global population in 2010
  • 30+ consecutive minutes of coverage: 2.0 billion representing 29% of the global population in 2010

Think about that for a moment. Nearly half of the world’s population tuned in for at least a brief time to watch one of the 64 matches that make up the World Cup tournament. In fact, FIFA says 909.6 million television viewers watched at least one minute of the 2010 World Cup final at home between Spain and the Netherlands, and the total likely topped a billion when adding online and public screenings. One billion people for one match. Really mind boggling numbers when you consider that the highest-rated Super Bowl (a borderline national holiday in the United States) of all time, the New York Giants vs. the New England Patriots garnered 111.6 million viewers.

With the World Cup set to kick-off today, we thought it would be both an entertaining and informative exercise to look at this event and the potential it has to impact your corporate network. Over the next several weeks we’ll explore what increased viewership of this event, coupled with the increase in networked devices and availability of streaming options mean to your organization.

The world’s most popular sporting event is about to kick-off, is your network ready?


Halloween represents the time of year that we embrace ghouls and ghosts, celebrate the macabre, and eat too much candy. This coming Thursday I’ll be greeted at my front door by trick or treat’ers, lined up for their packaged sugar rushes. In between trips to the check out the little ghosts and ghouls, I’ll be watching one of my favorite horror movies. For me, being scared is part of the fun.

Click for full image.
Click for full image.

However, for sysadmins and network managers, Halloween plays itself out every day of the year. So what better time to visit the issues that turn your server rooms into your own personal house of horrors?

We know no two networks are exactly alike, so we focused on 13 network nightmares that represent the common hauntings of every server room. The number alone signifies something to be wary of. Some buildings don’t have a 13th floor. Any Friday that falls on the 13th day of the month can give even non-believers a moment of pause. These 13 network nightmares highlight the type of problems that keep many IT folks awake at night, while fearing the unspeakable network terrors that may face them at work the next day.

Even though Halloween may be a lot of fun, mention any of these 13 nightmares to a network manager and you are likely to see a look of true horror.

Here’s the fleshed-out list of network nightmares, and some tips on how they can get solved in the real world. Have an evil glance, if you like:

1.  The Zombies: Only Zombies should be slow, not your network.  Slowdowns can make it nearly impossible to keep systems and applications up and running at peak levels. With better insight, you can move fast to solve problems before they start to negatively impact business operations and users.

2.  The Vampires: Don’t let network vampires suck the life out of your wireless network. These creatures can take a bite out of network performance with the use of satellite radio and streaming video. Once you track them down, put your stake in the ground and kindly share IT policy so they can listen to Pandora back at the crypt, and not in the office.

3.  The Skeletons: Dealing with bare bones budgets is a constant problem for IT professionals, who are expected to provide higher levels of service to users, with fewer dollars. IT folks should be able to face the skeletons in their closets and monitor their networks, applications and systems affordably.

4.  The Frankensteins: A whole bunch of disjointed pieces and parts can yield monster network monitoring problems. Network administrators should not have to play the mad scientist. Trying to make the nuts and bolts and random wires of their network play nice together shouldn’t look like a scientific experiment gone wrong.

5.  The Spiked Maces: Spikes in network performance can make anyone nervous. Be prepared for high levels of traffic on days when Apple offers a download your users cannot resist. When you can be proactive, the spikes on the network won’t come swinging at you like a medieval mace.

6.  The Ghosts: What problems are haunting your network? Network administrators can be effective ghost hunters and find the spectres, including slowdowns and frightening downtime.

7.  The Chucky (Knife-Wielding Dolls): What may seem like a small threat can actually instigate big problems. What little monster is wiggling their way down into deep layers of the network to compromise security? Unchecked small problems can quickly turn into a network breach if it takes weeks before you find the culprit, especially if the problem is intermittent. Small problems are not “child’s play.”

8.  The Jasons (Scary Intruders): Don’t let software and applications lurk in the shadows. Network administrators need to know which users have downloaded unauthorized applications onto their networked laptops. Turn on the light so you don’t get lost in shadow IT.

9.  The Mummies: Are you continuously wrapped up in the same problems that keep returning? Finding the source of an issue shouldn’t be as hard as digging into an ancient Egyptian crypt.

10.  The Devils: No cost shortcuts like free open source products can tempt you with big promises, but can steal your soul if you depend on them to monitor your network. Listen to the haloed, winged creature on your other shoulder and invest in an affordable solution that gets the little devils out of the network.

11.  The Gravestones: Downtime? More like Rest-in-Panic. Finding the source of a problem on the network shouldn’t bury you  six feet deep.

12.  The Fog: When the fog sets in and bats come out to play, viewing the network can become eerie and impeded. If network administrators can’t get a complete view of their network, they won’t be able to clearly see through the fog and find the source of a slowdown or stoppage.

13.  The Werewolves: Don’t get bitten by the unexpected. Having the proper policies in place can be the silver bullet for dealing with bandwidth-hungry users.










The Early Days of BYOD

Happy 40th Anniversary Mobile Phone!!

How many of you are old enough to remember the first mobile phone, introduced 40 years ago today? If you aren’t, here is a picture of the first commercial handheld cellular phone that Motorola introduced in 1983, The DynaTAC 8000X. A beauty – and only the coolest of us owned one. It weighed 29oz, or almost 800g  and offered 30 minutes’ talk time and 8 hours’ standby. It also had an LED display for dialing and a 30-number recall. Yours for just $3,995 – equivalent to $9,300 in 2013.

We have come a long way! Today, employees use multiple wireless devices – alternating between smartphones, notebooks and tablets. As wireless becomes an organization’s primary user network, IT needs to deliver the availability and same performance their users expect from a wired network. BYOD complicates this by increasing network density, bandwidth consumption and security risks.

WhatsUp Gold includes the first-ever vendor neutral wireless monitoring solution – a single solution to let IT demonstrate compliance, investigate problems, and validate wireless network design. So it’s important for the Ipswitch team to say: Happy 40th Anniversary Mobile Phone and thanks for the memories!

Ipswitch Network Management Division is proud to announce that our award winning IT management solution WhatsUp Gold v16 is now offering its web interface in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese, at no additional cost. Instructions to help you transition WhatsUp Gold from English to the language of your choice is available in Japanese, Chinese and Russian.

For more information and to download WhatsUp Gold v16 in your preferred language click here!

The WhatsUp Gold team is thrilled to announce that we have signed our 100th reseller in the UK – Edinburgh-based Grant McGregor, provider of corporate-quality IT expertise and network computer support services!

Grant McGregor joins the Ipswitch Network Management channel programme as a silver partner and will bolster the line up of seven Gold, 15 Silver and 78 Authorised partners. Grant McGregor is capable of serving as its client’s entire IT department with support, project and IT consultancy services. The addition of WhatsUp Gold to its range of products enables Grant McGregor to provide technical prowess in delivering enterprise level service, regardless of the organisation size.

“Ipswitch Network Management Division’s suite of solutions was something that we felt would perfectly complement our existing portfolio of products. This accompanied by the comprehensive and mature approach of the programme made it really attractive to us,” says Grant McGregor director Jon Towers. “WhatsUp Gold delivers real, tangible benefits to the end user and is capable of monitoring the physical network as well as the virtualised environment through the various plug-ins. We are delighted to be working with Ipswitch Network Management Division and will look to introduce WhatsUp Gold to our ever expanding customer base.”

To read the full press release about this exciting announcement, click here.

Want to prove you have what it takes to get the job done? Ready to become a WhatsUp Gold Certified Professional and take your career to the next level?

Join the ranks of WhatsUp Gold Certified Professionals and show certified proof on your business card, on your office wall, in your email signature, in your online profile, and on your resume. Purchase any WhatsUp Gold Training and receive a WhatsUp Gold Certified Professional Exam, a $99 value, FREE.

Ipswitch’s WhatsUp Gold Training provides 33 practical, hands-on lab exercises in a cloud-hosted network environment. Delivered live by the same experts that created WhatsUp Gold, instructors are ready to answer your questions and respond to your requests in a personal and interactive setting.

To register for classes or get more information, simply:

Sign up for hands-on training today. Seating is limited. You must purchase by June 30th to take advantage of the free WhatsUp Gold Certified Professional Exam (a $99 value)! (You must purchase training before June 30 to take advantage of promotion, but may take training later.)

The WhatsUp Gold team is preparing for the 2012 CiscoLive Show, held June 11-14th in San Diego, CA! One of our favorite parts of the CiscoLive show is talking to our customers but to be honest, we’d love to see more of you there!

We have an exciting offer: We are going to help one lucky winner attend as well! The winner will receive the hottest ticket to the show – a full-conference pass – as well as a travel and hotel voucher for up to $1,000 USD.

Take a minute to enter our contest and be entered to win this great package!

The WhatsUp Gold team is thrilled to announced that WhatsUp Gold Product Family has been awarded the “Best IT Product for Manufacturing” by the Network Products Guide!

The 7th annual achievements and recognition awards program with active participation from a broad spectrum of industry voices, the coveted annual Hot Companies and Best Products recognition program encompasses the world’s best in organizational performance, products and services, hot technologies, executives and management teams, successful deployments, product management and engineering, customer satisfaction, and public relations in every area of information technology.

Why did the WhatsUp Gold Product Family win this coveted award?

Manufacturing firms today seek to improve operational efficiency and consolidate IT resources whenever possible, to deliver the most cost-effective infrastructure possible.  Networks are living entities and planned and unplanned changes happen all the time.  It’s important to really understand your network – what you have and how everything is connected, so you can monitor and protect it.  WhatsUp Gold and WhatsUp Log Management monitor the health, availability and performance across all your infrastructure components, including network devices, servers, applications and virtual resources.  These powerful IT management solutions even provide an integrated view of layer 2 topology maps, performance and event logs auditing information, from a single interface.    

 Being a network engineer for a manufacturing firm of any size isn’t easy – especially when your network serves hundreds, or even thousands of people, who depend on seamless integration between your business and theirs.  Now more than ever, manufacturing firms must establish a secure, efficient and regulatory-compliant IT infrastructure.  Operational efficiency and cost efficiency rule – and its mandatory to consolidate and leverage every possible IT resource – including your staff.  

WhatsUp Gold offers all the capabilities you need to better balance your professional and personal life with the ability to react to events immediately.  And, WhatsUp Gold is cost effective from the beginning while scaling to handle growth.

We’ve got exciting news – WhatsConnected 3.1 is here!

With this latest release, we’ve added your most commonly requested features:

  • Updates to the Devices file for easy categorization.
  • Alert notifications of missing or added devices and network topology changes, you’ll know immediately when your network changes.
  • Exporting of your network maps to .pdf format, a view that cannot be altered by the reader and is great for distribution to your team.
  • Ability to scan for and display port duplex settings to determine if ports are configured correctly. Now you can easily refer back to this information when troubleshooting connectivity issues.
  • Ability to keep older versions of the Discovery file for historical purposes, and you can also specify how many older versions to keep.

 We’re excited and we hope you are too! Take advantage of these new features and more, upgrade your WhatsConnected to version 3.1 today!

Try if free for 30 days – DOWNLOAD NOW!

Are you going to Interop Las Vegas next week? The WhatsUp Gold team is and we hope to see you there!

We’ll be located at Booth 1127 as part of the Cisco Partner Pavilion – swing by to see what we have in store this year! Stop by to meet members of the WhatsUp Gold team, including Brian Jacobs and Aaron Simonson, and check out the latest version of WhatsUp Gold. Before you head out, don’t forget to attend the Cisco Partner Presentation, “The Layers of Network Management,” on Wednesday, May 9th at 1:30pm – WhatsUp Gold’s Brian Jacobs will be presenting!

We hope to see you there!

The WhatsUp Gold team is thrilled to announce that we have been named a finalist in the 2012 MicroScope ACE Awards in the Networking category! The 5th annual MicroScope Awards for Channel Excellence (ACEs) recognize the best of the channel for delivering the greatest services, products, and support.

VOTE for WhatsUp Gold for the Best Overall Networking Product! Voting ends May 18th so vote before it’s too late!