Network Critical - The Window to your Network

Channel Partners - A Bicycle Built for Two

Have you ever ridden a bicycle built for two? I have. It is fun but also a little challenging, especially for someone who likes to be in control. It takes a little trust and a little compromise between the two riders to successfully travel down the road.

  • Both riders need to communicate; when to pedal, when to brake, looking out for hazards.
  • Both riders need to pedal; the bike is big and carrying two people, each partner needs to pull their weight.
  • Both riders need to agree on direction; one partner steers but both want to reach the same place.

The bicycle built for two is an excellent metaphor for a successful manufacture/channel partner relationship. Each partner is unique with their own individual objectives but when they are on the bike, they are a single unit with a single destination.

The Manufacturer
The manufacturer of a product is an innovator, designer, manufacturer and marketer. Beyond the obvious financial metrics, key performance indicators generally include new product introductions, new market penetration, customer retention. The manufacturer could be a small startup with a great idea or a global conglomerate with a dominant market share. Either way, they strive to efficiently design, build and ship product to end users.

Success often depends on focusing on what one does well. For manufacturers the focus needs to be on remaining ahead of the competition in designing, building and shipping product. Getting orders from the sales department is the bridge between the build and ship functions and there are many models for developing a successful sales organization. Building a direct sales organization is a daunting and expensive task. it also takes time. Developing a channel sales organization is often a quicker and less expensive path to market. But there are some compromises that must be made.

The direct sales model, of course allows complete control of the people, the message, the process and the end user relationship. The channel model requires some compromise in these areas but also provides some tangible benefits.

The Channel Partner
The channel partner is a solutions developer and a sales and support organization. Beyond their financial objectives their key performance indicators may include product portfolio balance to provide compelling customer solutions, maintaining and supporting close customer relationships and aggressively developing new customer relationships. They can be small, localized small businesses or large logistics organizations with global reach. Either way, their primary objective is to provide compelling solutions that will attract and retain customers within their primary market.

Some of the benefits that channel partners provide to manufacturers include focused outbound sales organizations, close and consistent customer relationships, local on-site support, compressed shipping intervals and added value by presenting compelling multi-product solutions to end user customers. Further, the channel partner usually manages the credit and collections with the end user relieving the manufacturer of that burden.

Pedaling Together
When manufacturers and channel partners communicate, pedal together and support each other, the final destination of increased sales and business success is an easy cruise. When one or the other has to do all the pedaling, the relationship will fatigue prior to completing the journey. Channel partners and manufacturers need to be mindful of each other's strengths and shortcomings. They need to communicate and agree on their respective goals responsibilities from the very beginning.

The key to success in any endeavor is focus. The beauty of the channel/manufacturer relationship is that each partner can focus on what it does best. It is that individual focus and combined energy moving in the same direction that will lead to competitive success for both.

Posted: 19/05/2016 08:34:20 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

IP EXPO Manchester 2016

This is a quick one to remind our readers in the UK that Network Critical will be attending IP EXPO Manchester this week. The event itself will take place at Manchester Central and will be held on May 18th-19th.

With six top IT events under ONE roof, 100+ exhibitors and 100+ free to attend seminar sessions, IP EXPO Manchester is the must-attend Manchester IT event of the year for CIOs, heads of IT, security specialists, heads of insight and tech experts.

The event showcases brand new exclusive content and senior level insights from across the industry, as well as unveiling the latest developments in IT. IP EXPO Manchester now incorporates 6 events under one roof including: Cloud and Infrastructure, Cyber Security, Data Centre, Data Analytics, DevOps and Unified Communications.

Network Critical will be among more than 200 companies and 4,000 people present at this important event, discussing the ongoing challenge of cyber security.

So, if you are attending the event, we would love to meet you there. You can contact us at: marketing-team@networkcritical.com

http://www.ipexpomanchester.com/

Posted: 16/05/2016 10:00:00 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Data Connectors - This week we are in Toronto

This is a quick one to remind our readers that the team from Network Critical are exhibiting at the Data Connectors Conference in Toronto this week! The event is being held at Hyatt Regency Toronto and will take place on May 19th - Registration is from 8.15am.

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 Toronto on the conference date, come and look us up. You can find more information on the Data Connectors web site: http://www.dataconnectors.com/event/toronto-thursday-05-19-2016/

We look forward to meeting you there!

Posted: 16/05/2016 09:00:00 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

IPv6 Transition - to 340 undecillion, and beyond

I recently went to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California. While talking to the docent I learned that the shuttle launched on its first mission in May, 1992. The original space shuttle development contract was awarded in 1972. Given the enormous detail and expense in building the shuttles, the original development technology and design was used throughout the program. Therefore, the Endeavour development, design and construction technology was almost 20 years old before it made its first flight.

Technology changes fast. Fortunately, most individuals and companies are much more nimble in adapting to technology changes. When the internet was first developed, the engineers believed that IPv4 would provide enough addresses forever. However, innovation that could not have been imagined at the time has caused IPv4 to run out of addresses. This is not news but many companies and manufacturers are still wrestling with the transition.

Smartphones, laptops, tablets and personal connected devices are key drivers for the movement to IPv6. IPv4 addresses have been exhausted but there are many devices and networks that are still based on IPv4.

Here are some interesting numbers:

IPv4 allows for a pool of about four billion addresses. IPv6, using a 128-bit address supports 3.4 x 1038 addresses. Now, for you trivia experts, the number is called 340 undecillion. To further amaze and bedazzle your friends over a cocktail, here is the number of addresses available in IPv6: 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456. You will need a big cocktail napkin to write that down.

So what does this mean for your network? Planning for the inevitable change is happening now. It is time to start getting familiar with the new format and asking your vendors for their IPv6 evolution plan. Dual stack routers can support both IPv4 and IPv6. Other ancillary network equipment must not only pass IPv6 but understand and process IPv6 in order to provide full functionality during the transition. A great example might be a packet broker that can pass IPv6 but is not capable of filtering or aggregating IPv6. The IPv6 box might be checked, but the IPv6 functionality is limited. Check that full functionality is available for your IPv6 transition.

Now that you know about the network address changes, be sure not to overlook your network support infrastructure in your planning. What about probes that analyze packets and provide critical information about what is going on in the network? What about network protection appliances such as IPS/IDS and DLP? What about CEM appliances? What about the access platforms and Packet Brokers that are used to connect appliances to your network? All these tools are invaluable to your network operation. Being able to pass IPv4 and IPv6 is one thing. Being able to actually process both IPv4 and IPv6 is another level of detail that can be critical to your network operation and support. Double check all the equipment supporting the network for full IPv6 functionality.

We are in for a long slow trudge as this transition develops. According to Google, only about 9% of users access Google in native IPv6. Others use a variety of transitional protocols allowing IPv6 devices to communicate over IPv4 networks. However, with the broad acceptance of tablets and smart phones coupled with the compressed development cycle of connected devices, what looked like a slow trudge could turn into a brisk run very soon.

Be sure to understand how all the equipment that touches your IPv4 network will transition to the new world of IPv6. Device users and network managers have many choices to transition to new address technology as needed. Rigorous vendor analysis of dual address capabilities will help with a seamless transition.

Posted: 13/05/2016 21:00:00 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

AFCEA NOVA 15th Annual Naval IT Day

This is a quick one to remind our readers in Vienna, VA that Network Critical will be attending the AFCEA NOVA 15th Annual Naval IT Day there this month. The event itself will take place at the Sheraton Tysons Hotel and will be held this week on Thursday May 12th.

The Annual Naval IT Day is a “must attend” conference for anyone interested in information technology business with the US maritime agencies, including the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

Program Theme: Enhancing Cyber and IW Capabilities to Support Integrated Maritime Warfighting

This outstanding event draws extraordinary attendance by providing an ethical forum to engage directly with senior technology and acquisition leaders.

Network Critical will be among the attendees at this important event, discussing the ongoing challenges of cyber security.

So, if you are attending the event, we would love to meet you there. You can contact us at: marketing-team@networkcritical.com

https://www.afceanova.org/15th-annual-naval-it-day

Posted: 10/05/2016 16:55:20 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Global Security, Local Education - Data Connectors, Toronto, May 2016

This is a quick one to let our readers in Toronto know that Network Critical will be attending the Data Connectors Conference there later this month. The event will take place at the Hyatt Regency Toronto and will be held on May 19th.

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 Toronto on the conference date, look us up.  You can find more information on the Data Connectors web site www.dataconnectors.com.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Posted: 10/05/2016 16:16:11 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

An Application Centric World

It's all about the app. Customer expectations are high in today’s application driven world. Given the 24/7, always open nature of applications, client and consumers expect instant gratification as the new normal.

I had an interesting conversation with my wife while she was trying to purchase baseball tickets on the Major League Baseball App. She followed all the prompts, entered our credit card information and hit the submit button. Then that little rainbow swirl came on the screen and everything froze. She complained to me, “I put in all the information and now my computer is frozen.” I said, “Have patience, it is processing.” Her response to me was, “This network sucks.”

For the safety of our iMac and keyboard, I took her by the arm and moved her gently away from the computer. In about a minute we got the response we were waiting for… ”Your order is confirmed, your tickets have been sent to your email.”

As I had suspected, the application was running slow, likely bombarded with ticket orders. The network had nothing to do with the response. However, because the network is the most tangible part of the process it often gets the blame for problems with an application.

Shopping, banking, music, news, weather, healthcare, employment, investing and travel are all accessed by applications on our connected devices. We instantly have access to these services and more from anywhere, any time on any connected device. Outside of the networking industry, however, little thought is given to how these applications get to devices. It is just expected that they will be there and they will work, and respond fast. So, what can be done to maintain network integrity in the face of poor application performance?

Tools are available for network managers to take a holistic approach to application performance. Looking at real-time information that can provide end user monitoring, system resource utilization, application layer analytics and transaction analysis can help managers better understand the end user experience. Comprehensive monitoring can help uncover issues and bottlenecks within the application, network or infrastructure.

The primary benefit to holistic monitoring and analysis of network and applications allows issues to be exposed and fixed before they cause network outages or slow response times. The key to superior customer experience is proactive, real-time monitoring and management of the network/application ecosystem.

Real-time monitoring and diagnostics require access to accurate, wire-speed network data. Appliances that provide these advanced services are connected to network devices through TAPS and Packet Brokers. These devices provide the foundation for application performance management.

Network architects are building application monitoring into network designs along with traditional sniffers and probes built for network monitoring. They are also realizing the benefits of permanent TAPS feeding both application and network monitoring devices in real-time, all the time. Wrapping real-time access and real-time analytics allows proactive trouble resolution for both applications and network issues.

The bottom line is an improved customer experience which leads to lower customer churn and increased revenue. In our always-on app centric world, patience is measured in seconds, not minutes. Businesses who can provide the best customer experience will win the day. Constant and vigilant application performance monitoring is how it is done.

Posted: 05/05/2016 10:29:50 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Post-Hack Responsibilities - Policy vs Reality

A Vice-President, a Director and a Salesperson go into a restaurant. They have a meal and a few drinks. The bill comes to the VP who hands it to the Director who hands it to the Salesperson who, of course, pulls out the company credit card and pays the bill. There is no punchline to this story. It is reality.

We can all guess that company policy most likely states that the highest level person at the table pays the bill. Reality, however, is that if the lowest level person at the table pays the bill so the two higher level employees, who were also at the table, can approve the bill with no scrutiny. This is an example of corporate policy on paper but not ingrained into corporate culture.

In the case of a network hack where confidential customer information has been compromised, the Board of Directors and the CEO are ultimately responsible. It is their job to set strategy, policies, culture and direction for the company. The board room is where the buck stops. How the company deals with the financial losses, evaporation of customer trust and the tarnishing of brand reputation is a story for another day. Let’s look at the post breach IT chain of events.

The CEO calls the CIO in his office and wants to know why this happened and how to fix it. The CIO calls the IT Director in his office and demands a report with corrective steps. The Finance Director is ordered to increase the IT Security budget. The IT Director the calls Network Manager and tells him to add more security products to help protect the network. Network Manager fires the IT Security Administrator in charge of the compromised servers. Reality…who pays the bill?

In fact, network security is not a product or a service or a policy. Network security is a culture. Starting from the Board Room, a corporate culture of diligent attention to IT security must be promoted and enforced through all levels of the organization. Building a security aware culture starts with development of a Safe-IT usage policy and training all employees at all levels on the policy and consequences of breaching policy. Some training modules might include safe email management, mobile phone network access, access of personal sites using corporate resources and use of USB and other removable drives. Managers should continually discuss and reinforce corporate security policies and their consequences.

Of course, a robust IT Security infrastructure that includes Intrusion Prevention, Data Loss Protection and advanced Threat Detection and Remediation appliances connected through an easy to manage visibility platform establishes a necessary breach barrier and shrinks the threat landscape. No physical systems alone, though, can completely protect any connected network. Embedding safe IT practices into corporate culture along with building a robust breach barrier into the network can help keep the criminals out and keep the corporate attention where it belongs… strengthening the brand and growing the business.

Posted: 03/05/2016 10:00:47 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Data Connectors - This week we are in San Antonio

This is a quick one to remind our readers that the team from Network Critical are exhibiting at the Data Connectors Conference in San Antonio this week! The event is being held at Hilton Garden Inn San Antonio - Live Oak Conference Center and will take place on Thursday 5th May - Registration is from 8.15am.

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 San Antonio on the conference date, come and look us up. You can find more information on the Data Connectors web site.

We look forward to meeting you there!

Posted: 02/05/2016 09:00:00 by Global Administrator with 0 comments