Network Critical - The Window to your Network

FirePower + TAP Power

So, which “Wall” do you think we are going to talk about today? Here is a hint…During the week of June 25-29 Cisco is holding its annual technology and networking conference. Thousands of technology innovators will be descending on Las Vegas for education and inspiration needed to thrive in the fast moving world of digital business. It is Cisco Live! 2017!

At the conference you may run into these superheroes…Code Crusader, MegaFix, Major Shift, Ignitor and The Wall. These superheroes are programmers, troubleshooters, transformational leaders, innovators and protectors of the network. Network Critical TAPS and Packet Brokers supply the capes and enhanced powers for two of these heroes, MegaFix and The Wall.

MegaFix is the super trouble shooter. In order to troubleshoot, one needs visibility. Network Critical TAPs provide visibility to network traffic flows assisting the MegaFix mission. The Wall is the protector of the network. In order to protect the network from attackers, The Wall needs to not only see traffic, but to be able to quickly act on what our superhero sees. Network Critical SmartNA-X in-line TAPS connect appliances to network links and allows them to act in real time stopping malicious traffic dead in its tracks.

Let’s look at FirePower, next generation super firewalls from Cisco. FirePower products integrate Intrusion Detection and Prevention in the firewall. One powerful appliance can provide multiple network protection functions. Small business can take advantage of the super-powers of The Wall as well as Data Centers and Service Providers. Just as our partner, Cisco, provides protection options for different businesses, Network Critical has options to connect FirePower Threat Defense for businesses large and small.

The Cisco ASA5500-X for small business is budget friendly yet powerful protection. Using a four slot chassis with only a single in-line TAP to connect to Cisco FirePOWER ASA 5500-X with FTD the cost of entry is minimal and scalability is simple. There are three additional slots in the powered chassis that are ready for use as new links are added. The TAP will bypass the appliance for maintenance needs or other issues ensuring network availability.

Some of the largest and most critical networks are Service Providers. The FirePower 9300 Series is a high performance NEBS rated NGFW with FTD. This product, designed for the Service Provider market provides critical speed, reliability and scalability. The Network Critical SmartNA-10G-V-Line high speed TAP connects the FirePower 9300 series appliances to network links at super speed providing real time threat protection as expected from a super hero.

The Network Critical high speed TAPs provide fail-safe operation keeping the network operational in the event of a power failure. Further, the exclusive V-Line (Bypass) technology maintains network availability in the event that the connected appliance is offline for maintenance or other issues. Space and real estate are two other important issues for Service Providers. The Network Critical 10G V-Line Tap is packaged in a slim 1U chassis and can be powered by either AC or DC power supplies.

The dictionary defines superheroes as: pl. su·per·he·roes A fictional figure having superhuman powers or greatly enhanced abilities, usually portrayed as fighting evil or crime.

The combination of Cisco FirePower partnered with Network Critical V-Line TAPs is a perfect fit for that definition. Cisco FirePower is the impenetrable wall against evil hackers and Network Critical TAPs provide the enhanced abilities safely connecting FirePower appliances to links while keeping the network available to users at all times. Find us in the Cisco Solution MarketPlace.

FirePower + TAP Power is indeed a superhuman partnership. Network Critical experts will be at Cisco Live! this week. Contact us for an appointment with a real network superhero. Enjoy the show!

Posted: 26/06/2017 15:50:20 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Starting the Countdown to GDPR in the EU

If you are in the IT business and you have not yet heard of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), you might need to read this blog ASAP. If you have heard of it but are not sure what it is all about…same as above.

Like most government regulations, GDPR is long and uses words that are even longer. If you have your pocket data dictionary handy, you can try to look up some of the more obfuscatory terms but very likely will not find them. There are a few benefits to spending some time understanding this regulation, officially called “Regulation (EU) 2016 679.”

GDPR was passed by the European Commission, The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. It is broad in its scope and reach across the EU, and consequences for non-compliance can be severe. If you are now worried that you may be out of compliance because you have not even read it yet, do not get your knickers in a twist. Although the GDPR was passed in April of 2016, it does not take effect until May, 2018. So in the meantime, let’s take a quick look at the purpose, scope and non-compliance consequences.

According to Wikipedia, GDPR is a regulation intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. The primary objective of the regulation is to give residents control of their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU.

In general, regulatory compliance can be cumbersome and costly. The GDPR however, unifies data protection regulations across the EU, making it easier for international companies to understand and comply with one, rather than many, conflicting regulations. However, the penalty for non-compliance can be pretty severe. Sanctions for breach can range from a warning for first offense or non-intended non-compliance to fines up to 20,000,000 EUR for more severe cases.

Organizations that collect data from EU residents (controllers) and organizations that process data on behalf of controllers (processors) such as cloud service providers and similar contractors are governed by this regulation. Even organizations based outside the EU that collect personal data responsible for GDPR compliance. It does not matter if your organisation is small or global. If your business is deemed a “controller” or a “processor”, you must comply with GDPR.

According to Florian Douetteau, CEO at Dataiku, here are four key steps to get ready for GDPR compliance:

Application: As stated above, all companies processing or controlling personal data that have customers in the EU need to comply. Even companies in the UK, post-Brexit, who have customers in the EU will be governed by GDPR.
Data subjects rights: Data subjects are customers who provide personal data to a company. Data subjects have expanded privacy rights including the right of erasure, the right to access their data, and to question decisions made purely on algorithmic basis.
Internal record keeping requirements: There are specific record keeping requirements that may include the appointment of a Data Protection Officer.

So, you have been reading a lot about GDPR, but have not seen anything yet about pseudonymisation or anonymisation. Remember how government regulations often use long words to define a relatively simple concept? Here is an example: pseudonymisation is a word to describe encryption or other methods of disguising data so it can not be attributed to a specific data subject without a key. Further, the key must be kept separately from the pseudonymised data. Thus, the data will be effectively anonymized.

Of course there are many other requirements for GDPR compliance such as 'Privacy by Design and Default', 'Data Portability', 'Data Breach Notification' and more. Certain appliances such as Data Loss Protection and Intrusion Prevention Systems, may assist in protection from what can be very expensive breaches and sanctions for non-compliance. These appliances can be simply and safely attached to data links by using TAPs and packet Brokers without risking network performance. So, while you are preparing for GDPR compliance coming next year, be sure your perimeter protection is also up-to-date with appropriate traffic visibility and link security. For more information on visibility and perimeter protection, go to

It might be a little bit of a challenge working pseudonymisation into a cocktail party dialog. However, if you can, your friends will be gobsmacked.

Posted: 09/06/2017 14:05:52 by Network Critical with 0 comments