Amanda Dark

What every business should know about ransomware attacks

Does your organisation have tens of thousands of dollars to spare? Even if you have extra cash lying around, you probably have better ways to spend it than responding to a ransomware attack.

 

If your organisation is targeted, your IT team won’t be able to rely on a hero like Liam Neeson’s character in Taken to save the day. It is your responsibility to ensure systems are robust and ready to thwart attacks.

 

Experts estimate that ransomware strains like CryptoLocker, TorrentLocker and Locky have cost Australian businesses over $8 million. Proving that any company is vulnerable, they’ve even affected iconic businesses like Australia Post and the ABC.

 

Ransomware attacks are expensive, time-consuming and put confidential information at risk. Even organisations that rebuild from backups instead of paying the ransom suffer financial losses as a result of downtime and lost productivity.

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Meet the next generation in enterprise security: Software-Defined Secure Networking (SDSN)

If you work in enterprise IT, you probably already know that network security issues are expensive to fix. But did you know the average cost of a data breach for an Australian organisation is around $2.5 million? Yikes.

That figure comes from the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s 2015 Threat Report, which also predicts the already high incidence of data breaches to continue.

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Technology Disruption is here to stay. Is your network ready?

Last week, when I walked into our office, I found myself quickly whisked away around a fortress of cardboard boxes, past the server room, and dragged over a zillion cables and a cat to find myself in a room where a headset and goggles were strapped to me and a pair of wireless controllers were shoved in each hand.

 

I had been reluctant to try virtual reality (VR), despite all the hype in our office around our latest toy. I have never been much of a ‘gamer’ myself, probably because I could never get one-up on my older brother playing 007 Bond on Nintendo 64. Now I’m showing my age.

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Architecting a Network Design That Delivers

When it comes to networks, there’s no such thing as set and forget. Your network design and architecture are essential for keeping your business equipped to move forward and maintain industry momentum as well as guarding your competitive advantage. It is therefore imperative for your business to review its network design from time to time to ensure that it is not only meeting current business requirements but also satisfying security, speed and user demands, as these will all change over time.

When architecting a network design, whether for one site or five hundred, it’s important to weigh the needs and wants of those who will be using it against the budget and security requirements of those who will be paying for it. Some important things you should consider before undertaking a network design – whether it be a greenfield project, adding on additional sites or upgrading your infrastructure – include:

 

 

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Beyond Cisco’s IOS: Should you should consider the path less followed?

My dad is a “Jack of all trades” kind of guy. He’s handy at fixing anything around the house. Needed the bathroom tiled? Not a problem. Need a car serviced? He can do that too. How about getting something welded? Check. He’s great at fishing, diving, gardening and painting… he’s the kind of guy who restores vintage motorcycles as a hobby. He even repaired my favourite sunglasses when I stepped on them and snapped the arm off. Not to mention his dreaded financial advice. Yes, my father can do or fix pretty much everything… just don’t ask him to cook!

 

“What on earth does this have to do with IT and Networking?” I can hear you asking. For every skill that you could possibly develop in life, there is a level of skill for which people will pay you. Your career as a network admin, infrastructure manager, engineer, CTO, Security expert, chef, lawyer or plumber is simply one area where you’ve carefully crafted a skill or a set of skills that people both value and lack – and are therefore prepared to pay for.

 

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Managing Red Tape: The good, the bad, and the ugly of IT Change Management Processes

 

Working for a company that provides network professional services to a host of organisations across a variety of industry verticals, I have witnessed first-hand the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sexy when it comes to change management processes. And despite all the best intentions, even the most stringent change management processes can fall short when staff are facing pressure to deliver.

 

Whether it be a developer bursting in mid- SCN/RFC meeting with a change request scrawled on a post-it note, or the ‘Remediation Plan’ section in a change request document stating if everything goes wrong, the plan is to “fix the problem,” (sound familiar?) clearly there are times when organisations face challenges and resistance when it comes to successfully implementing a change management program.

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Will the Rise of Encrypted Traffic Put Your Security in Peril?

According to recent research conducted by leading network security vendor, Blue Coat, encryption, which keeps the content of digital communications hidden from prying eyes, currently makes up about 25-35% of enterprise network traffic. This traffic, which is encrypted with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is forecast to grow at a very healthy rate of 20% each year.

 

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A switch, is a switch, is a switch… Or is it?

Like death and taxes, the commoditisation of products, over time, is a given in our industry. You only have to look to the impact that Intel has had on the server and storage market, as a prime example. Unfortunately for us (uh hem) as resellers, we will feel the pain right alongside vendors when products become commoditised. We can see network switches following the server model of becoming low margin, and therefore dependent on high volume turnover, i.e. commoditised.

 

In terms of the datacentre switching market, vendors proclaim their technologies as being best of breed, providing enterprise organisations with advantages in scalability, performance, availability and ease of management, which in turn reduces OPEX. However, wading through the differences among vendor offerings can be a challenge, and many enterprises are left pondering the question of whether the humble network switch has become a commodity item?

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Five reasons why you need to add another vendor to your network in 2016.

It’s a debate that raises its ugly head time and time again. And there are ferocious arguments for each approach, ranging from ease of management, lower total cost of ownership and having a single vendor to point an angry finger at when issues inevitably arise. 
It’s a resounding argument that is particularly pronounced when putting Cisco against its direct competitors: HP, Juniper Networks and Huawei.

 

So gloves on, let’s settle this, once and for all. Is it more efficient to pursue a single or multi-vendor approach when it comes to your network architecture?

 

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