Network Critical - The Window to your Network

The Enemy Within

The dark shadow of cyber crime looms large. Step one in the battle is to know where to look and where not to look. There is a lot of press coverage of external cyber terrorists, state sponsored hacks from China or Iran, Anonymous and other external hacking organizations. However, there is a very high probability that the sources of cyber fraud against your organization can be found in your lunch room.

According to the Spector Soft Insider Threat Survey, 35% of organization surveyed have admitted to being a victim of insider fraud. Further 75% of insider crime goes unnoticed. It is safe, then to assume that most organizations are victims of some sort of insider fraud whether they know it or not. In fact, former US FBI Director Robert Mueller once said, “There are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be.”

Most IT networks are protected by Firewalls and Intrusion Prevention Systems that help keep outside attacks at bay. However, what can be done to stem the tide of fraud from disgruntled employees, dishonest insiders or outsource vendors who often have unrestricted access to internal systems? Or what about honest employees who accidentally allow intrusion by clicking on malware links?

The three “D”s of incident response are Deter, Detect and Detail. Organizations can dramatically deter insider attacks simply by educating employees that there are tools in place to track all computer related activity to the individual and that any breach of policy will have severe consequences. Next is to actually have the tools in place to detect unusual and out of policy activity. Finally, forensic evidence must be able to be collected in order to prove the malicious activity and punish the perpetrators. This final piece is very important to protect the organization from law suits by employees who may say they have been improperly dismissed.

The Survey also mentioned that 59% of organizations said they could not detect an insider threat. Here is where the technology comes in. With a little budget and focus, these insider threats can be detected and the necessary evidence collected. The ROI on this type of spend is often difficult to calculate because by preventing attacks, the actual dollar loss is unknown. Experience shows, however, that these losses can add up to millions of dollars and also have external negative influences such as loss of trust by customers or legal liabilities for non-compliance of confidentiality standards in certain industries.

The technology is available to detect, stop and track internal cyber fraud. There are cross platform appliances that, once connected to the network, can monitor user activity proactively, react to alerts in real-time, and remediate threats initiated by both external hackers and malicious insiders. Further, these solution can improve case management supporting web based detailed documentation of the investigation process. This documentation is a critical element of the solution helping manage the employee separation process and protect against wrongful termination liabilities.

Finally, these appliances need packet visibility. When adding fraud detection to your existing suite of IPS, DLP and other security appliances, it is always beneficial to use taps and packet brokers to help simplify management of multiple tools. Taps also add failsafe technology to keep the network active in the event of an interruption in any connected network appliance.

Posted: 26/05/2016 09:30:00 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Network Critical Moves USA Headquarters

Network Critical, a global innovator of network access and visibility products, announced today that they are moving their USA headquarters from Buffalo, NY to Alpharetta, GA. The move is to facilitate planned expansion of support and services to their customer base in The Americas: North, Central and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Alpharetta is known as the Technology City of the South and for good reason. Over 77% of the workforce is employed in professional/technical positions. Major global tech companies such as HP, Microsoft, Lancope and Verizon have a significant presence in the area. Further, companies can draw talent from outstanding universities such as Georgia Tech, University of Georgia and Georgia State University among others. Ren Hall, Network Critical President of the Americas said, “Alpharetta offers a deep technical talent pool from eager new university grads to experienced technical professionals. We are excited to become part of this vibrant tech community.”

The new office address is:

Network Critical NA, LLC.
12600 Deerfield Parkway
Suite 100
GA 30004

About Network Critical

Network Critical is an industry leader in network access technology. Our technology ensures 100% continuous network visibility. Network Critical products eliminate any concerns of downtime and scale easily as the network grows. The health of your network is always secure with Network Critical products. The 1G to 10G TAPs and packet brokers are used with IDS, IPS, network traffic monitoring tools, sniffers and more, to provide 100% network visibility with zero packet loss. For more information, visit

Posted: 29/01/2016 12:01:05 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

A New Economy is Born

Search and ye shall find. Virtually all the knowledge in the world can be found somewhere on-line. The same goes for news. When I was growing up in the 60’s we had newspapers, TV and Radio as primary news sources. The problem with those sources was that we heard only the news that the source provided. With the Internet, we can find news that the traditional outlets did not deem worthy of reporting or news from far flung reaches of the world not covered locally.

I found something on the Internet recently that is fascinating and wanted share. This is not directly about technology but touches our industry in many ways.

On December 31st, 2015, the Association of Southeast Nations Economic Community (AEC) became a legal entity. The member countries include Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Laos and Myanmar and represent a market base of 630 million people. The new organization will boast a combined GDP of US$ 2.6 Trillion making it the 7th largest economy in the world. The combined GDP growth rate is 4.7%. The new regional organization will provide increased opportunity for economic and social development in the area.

There are working groups in process developing plans for faster broadband, telecommunications and IT cooperation, environmental management, social issues, regional security, political cooperation, energy and other topics. The AEC will also improve economic trade with other larger economies in the region such as China and Japan. Generally, it will be easier to do business with the AEC than to deal with ten individual countries each with its own regulations, tariffs, politics and policies.

Opportunities abound from these types of developments. There are seven pages of employment opportunities on There is also a call for scientists and engineers to join a joint ASEAN-US Science and Technology fellowship program. For more information on this program: Application.6jan16FINAL.pdf

The AEC is an organization that, as it grows and develops, will improve the lives of millions and contribute to global security and stability. It is a pretty big deal but I did not hear about it on TV. I did not read about it in the newspaper. I found out about it on the Internet. Not only does the Internet make such regional cooperation and development technically possible, it also helps the world learn and understand the good news that may not be broadly published by traditional news outlets.

So, this blog is sharing some positive world news and offering a pat on the back for everyone who is in the business of building, managing and securing the Internet.

Posted: 21/01/2016 09:41:07 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

It's all about the partnership

Batman and Robin, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Lennon and McCartney, Abbott and Costello, Jobs and Wozniak are all famous partnerships. Individually, each of these famous folk were likely outstanding but it was the combination of both that made them great.

Network Critical is pleased to announce a partnership with Netfort, a leading provider of network security appliances and software. NetFort provides a single solution to monitor network traffic, users and security. Using Deep Packet Inspection, network managers can drill down to granular information like user names, file names and web domains. These appliances can sort and report on every bit of data flowing across a network.

Generally, the NetFort appliances connect to network switches using Span ports. While this is an adequate solution, it is not ideal. Span ports are often unavailable for connection if there are other appliances that are connected. Further, Span traffic is low priority and can be dropped during busy traffic times.

Network Critical is a global supplier of Taps and Packet Brokers that allow fail safe access for network appliances to connect to network links. By connecting appliances such as NetFort’s LANGuardian with Network Critical’s SmartNA taps, network managers can be assured that 100% of the data will flow through the appliance 100% of the time. After all, if you can not see all the data, you can not get the full picture. Further, the SmartNA taps provide fail safe access so even if power is lost, the network traffic will still flow.

“NetFort are delighted to welcome Network Critical to our Technology partner program. The flexibility and usability of both Network Critical and NetFort make them an ideal solution for organisations of all sizes” said John Brosnan, CEO at NetFort. “The combination of SmartNA-X™ and LANGuardian technologies will ensure organisations can very easily gain deeper security and operational insights into what is happening across their network, even internally.”

It may be a while before “NetFort and Network Critical” join the list of iconic partnerships but it is certain that the added value of this alliance will benefit network managers around the world. For more information please take a look at and

Posted: 19/01/2016 10:45:21 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Network Critical Joins NetFort Technology Partner Program to Maximise Network Visibility Capabilities with the NetFort LANGuardian Solution.

Network Critical today announced that it has joined the NetFort Technology Partner Program (NTPP). The NetFort Technology Partner Program is made up of organisations that work with NetFort to offer their global customers the broadest range of options to maximise the capabilities of the LANGuardian solution. Together, NetFort and Network Critical are collaborating to optimise network visibility and monitoring.

“NetFort are delighted to welcome Network Critical to our Technology partner program. The flexibility and usability of both Network Critical and NetFort make them an ideal solution for organisations of all sizes” said John Brosnan, CEO at NetFort. “The combination of SmartNA-X™ and LANGuardian technologies will ensure organisations can very easily gain deeper security and operational insights into what is happening across their network, even internally.”

Having the capability of the SmartNA-X family in their product portfolio, Network Critical is combining a simple to use and flexible passive tapping, aggregation and filtering platform, with the NetFort LANGuardian deep packet inspection platform to help improve network traffic and security monitoring, visibility, control and reporting.

“The unmatched port flexibility and operational simplicity of the SmartNA-X family together with the powerful packet inspection and analysis of NetFort LANGuardian solution, will help customers have complete visibility of their network and user activity, without interrupting network operation,” said Alastair Hartrup CEO at Network Critical.

Network Critical is a global innovator in Network Packet Broker and Traffic Access technologies, delivering real-time network visibility, monitoring and control solutions to service providers, data centers, e-commerce, government and defense networks worldwide. Our SmartNA-X™ family with the revolutionary Drag-n-Vu™ filter rule engine, connects network analyzers, IDS/IPS appliances, bandwidth management, forensics, filtering, data leakage prevention and lawful interception devices, to network links providing 100% traffic visibility with zero packet loss and no added delay.

About NetFort

NetFort provides a range of software products to monitor traffic and security on virtual and physical networks. Headquartered in Galway, Ireland, NetFort was established in 2002 and has built up a global customer base in the enterprise, education, and government sectors.

The LANGuardian has been successfully implemented and proven to be an invaluable asset in many domestic and international private sector companies, government departments, educational institutions, and local councils. NetFort customers include United States Navy, Seven Oaks School Division, United States Treasury, Washington Gas, Red Bull Formula 1, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, the Football Association, City National Bank, and Department of Transport, UK. For more information visit:

All trade names, trademarks, and service marks are rightful property of their respective owners.

Posted: 15/01/2016 12:40:34 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Recipe for Disaster (or Not)

Well, we closed out 2015 with two final high profile hacks. Hello Kitty had a security leak that compromised over a million customers’ personal data. Hyatt hotels also had a breach that compromised millions of records. These brands depend on the trust of their customers. When that trust is violated, the damage can be severe and long term. Lax network security and lack of information control can be a recipe for disaster. So, after two final cases of corporate holiday indigestion, we thought we would throw out a sweet recipe for fraud protection in the coming year.

Of course, we need to start with firewall and Intrusion Prevention System to prevent attacks from the outside. Next is to mix in a Database Monitoring System to monitor, protect and log all access to sensitive data. Going further, Data Loss Prevention systems can help restrict access and dissemination of sensitive information only to authorized and authenticated persons. Finally, blend in devices such as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems and other data monitoring and analysis devices.

The frosting on this security concoction is comprehensive network access plan to connect these protective appliances to network links. IDS/IPS, DLP, SIEM and other monitoring appliances need access to data flows. No single appliance can accomplish all the analysis, security and compliance functions necessary in today’s networks. Connecting numerous appliances directly on every link, however, is expensive and may have a negative impact on network delay and availability. Fortunately there are taps and packet broker products that can aggregate links and evenly distribute information to multiple appliances looking at different data streams and performing a variety of functions.

A comprehensive and strategic access plan for security and monitoring appliances can help strengthen network security and reduce both CAPEX and OPEX. By aggregating many low speed links into fewer high speed security appliances, packet brokers can achieve cost savings in the range of 2:1 up to 10:1 on security appliance port costs. Conversely, as networks upgrade link speeds, these smart packet brokers can also distribute packets from high speed core links among many lower speed appliances. This allows continued use of existing security appliances extending the useful life of installed equipment.

Further, specialized software in some packet brokers offers a simple way to distribute packets to security appliances. By managing the complicated algorithms in the background, this specialized software can quickly and accurately map links and create and apply filters. Configuration and management can be done in a fraction of the time with greater accuracy than manual GUIs. Rule Optimization software can save up to 70% of system rule resources.

In 2016, more IT departments will be using intelligent network access practices to connect security and monitoring appliances. Database theft, often called a recipe for disaster, can be become chocolate cupcakes for companies that plan and invest in complete and robust network protection. After all, customer trust is like a chocolate cupcake, it is great to have it but when it is gone, it is gone for good.

Posted: 14/01/2016 14:22:57 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Global Security, Local Education - Data Connectors, January 2016

This is a quick one to let our readers in Portland and LA know that Network Critical will be attending the Data Connectors Conference in these cities this month.  The LA event will be held on January 14th and the Portland conference will be on January 28th.

Data Connectors’ conferences are one of the premier technology security events focused on the latest products and best practices available in an educational environment.  You will find local product sources, seminars and meet with engineers from many of the top security companies.

The Network Critical teams will be demonstrating tap and packet broker technology to simplify the connection of security and performance tools to networks. While Network Critical is a global developer of network access technologies, we believe that these local events are great venues to meet with network engineers and designers.

So, if you are in Portland or LA on the conference dates, look us up.  You can find more information on the Data Connectors web site

Posted: 11/01/2016 15:08:56 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Top 5 Trends for a Connected World in 2016

Close the books on 2015. In the last week we have seen many “Year in Review” stories. Here at Network Critical, however, we like to keep our eyes focused on the road ahead. We are going to start the year with a blog about trends in the networked world that are likely to affect our jobs and lives in the coming year. Here are some of the major trends and a few comments about each:

Bandwidth Growth - This is a recurring topic every year. What amazes us, though, is the magnitude of growth. Cisco forecasts that global IP traffic in 2016 will pass the 1 zettabyte mark. In case you have not yet heard of the term, a zettabyte is one trillion gigabytes. For the engineers out there, the number is 1021. That is a lot of zeros. Following are some of the drivers behind the bandwidth growth.

Devices - Part of what will be driving this growth is the plethora of connected devices that are being developed. The Internet of Things, is becoming The Internet of Everything. According to Gartner, wearable web access will be a $10 Billion business in 2016. This includes fitness tracking devices, watches, ear devices, glasses, shoes and even some talk about chips in tattoos. This trend has people being actively connected more hours per day, more days per week. We are closing in on 24/7 personal connectivity with new apps touching every part of our lives. Traffic from wireless devices will exceed traffic from wired devices in 2016.

Shopping - The internet has transformed shopping and more changes are coming. The early discussions were about dot com replacing physical shopping. Retailers are now learning how dot com shopping can enhance the physical shopping experience. So you will see more blending between internet and in-store activities. Further, retailers are becoming smarter about using the internet while you are in the store. The shopping experience will transformed to become more real time interactive between you and the retailer. Beacons will broadcast your location and merchandise may literally beckon your attention. You and your phone may be walking by a refrigerator that is enabled by a Bluetooth Beacon. When it notices your proximity it might blink (wink?) the ice maker light to catch your attention.

Entertainment - It is not your father's TV. Companies that are thought of as “Internet Companies” are engaging in content development and winning consumers over from traditional network TV. Streaming services companies Amazon, Hulu and Netflix received 14 Golden Globe Awards in 2015. In fact, streaming video is forecast to hit over $16 Billion dollars in the United States alone by 2019, growing at 15% per year. Streaming video at 4K (UHDTV) will have a dramatic impact on bandwidth requirements as these services grow. Netflix and Amazon were the only two companies on the S&P500 to double in value in 2015.

Security - How bad is it? It is so bad that an Italian security group called The Hacking Team, got hacked. Some other major breeches included Experian, Target, T-Mobile and Anthem Health Care. These are companies that are not without resources to protect and combat cyber attacks.

So what should we look forward to in 2016? More of the same. The lesson here is that corporate networks are not nearly as secure as we think. Further, the corporations are realizing that the cost of protection is much less than the cost of a breach. Expect IT Security budgets to grow in 2016. Look for spending on this triad…Visibility into data flows (to know what is going on in the network), Tools that will monitor and manage in-flows and out-flows (keeping the intruders out and keeping the data in), Policy to manage who has access to what). Re-thinking and dramatically shrinking who has access to confidential information in the corporate network will be a discussion in many board rooms this year. As long as there are networks, there will be breaches. However, good visibility, the right tools and sound access policy can help safeguard information and reduce the severity of breaches.

We hope you enjoy your new devices, interactive shopping and multi-screen entertainment in a more secure world. Happy New Year from Network Critical.

Posted: 05/01/2016 11:36:11 by Global Administrator with 0 comments