Network Critical - The Window to your Network

Why Span’s loss is Taps’ gain

Taps are now a permanent architectural element in network monitoringDuring the last couple of years, there has been a quiet storm brewing in the network monitoring solutions space: the network tap market has been growing dramatically.  The primary driver for this revolution has been broad market acceptance of taps as a permanent architectural element in network monitoring and management solutions.

Why are networks universally transitioning from Span ports to tap solutions?  Here are five key variables influencing this transformation:

  1. Too few Span ports – With the introduction of many specialized network appliances that all need 24/7 link access, there are not enough Span ports to go around.
  2. In-line access – Many new security appliances provide network protection by taking immediate action to resolve threats.  These appliances are installed risk-free on network links by connecting reliable, hardware based in-line taps.  Span ports provide traffic duplication but do not provide real time link access to tools so they are not adequate in supporting these security appliances.
  3. Data switching and port aggregation – As link speeds continue to migrate from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps and beyond, there is an increasing need to aggregate multiple lower speed links up to higher end tools.  Conversely, there is also a need to distribute packets from core high speed links to multiple lower speed tools.  Packet brokers provide many sophisticated packet distribution features such as filtering unimportant packets and load balancing streams evenly across multiple tools.  Span ports send mirror copies of all the data to a specific destination but do not provide filtering or load balancing.
  4. Packet priority – Taps are designed to pass 100 percent of the packets passing through the tap to the designated monitor port.  Taps are non-blocking and non-buffering.  There is no contention for this traffic and no additional delay added into the network.  Span mirror traffic is the lowest priority traffic in a switch.  If the switch becomes congested with network traffic, Span traffic is dropped and the switch does not tell you what was dropped.  Therefore you never know if all the traffic has reached your analyzer.  How can you have confidence in your analysis if you do not have confidence in your input?
  5. Packet error filtering – Corrupt packets and low layer errors are automatically filtered out by the switch prior to being mirrored to the Span port.  Complete packet analysis needs to see all the packets, even the bad ones.  Span ports do not pass all packets.   

Network Critical, a global innovator of permanent, modular and high speed Taps and packet brokers is leading the network access revolution.  Complete network visibility, from simple access to complex aggregation, selective filtering and high speed core distribution solutions can be found in the Network Critical product portfolio.

As network operators develop plans for upgrading to Next-Generation Firewalls, high speed port aggregation, in-line security appliances and other specialized access applications, Network Critical will be supporting their access requirements.

Posted: 09/11/2015 14:33:44 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Why Packet Slicing is a Requirement for Your Network

Get the balance right between netwrok speed and performanceEveryday, people rely on networks to bring them their information quickly and efficiently. The challenge continues to be finding that balance between the demands for speed and performance, and the need for high-level security and privacy.

This is where packet slicing comes in. Packet slicing is a solution that helps network managers find that ever-changing balance between performance and security. Today, we took another step toward providing our customers with the confidence they crave in their networking. We are happy to announce that packet slicing is now a standard feature on our SmartNA-X family of products.

Using packet slicing, network managers are free to drop unnecessary payload data. Without this extra data, analysis tools can process packets faster and more efficiently, and at the same time customer conversations remain private. Customers can have complete confidence if their network, and network managers have access to the data in real time on a user-friendly interface.

By standardizing this feature, we are continuing our commitment to satisfying our customers’ networking needs.

Posted: 24/06/2015 15:37:05 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Making the Window to Your Network Even Better

A window to your network trafficAs you may have noticed, we’ve done some major work on our website to give users a more streamlined and interactive user experience when it comes to browsing for premier network packet broker and tap solutions.

We did this in an effort to connect more with end users, and provide a clear picture of what we do – our technology and value proposition.  As illustrated in our video, using a tap or NPB to improve the effectiveness of your network monitoring systems should be a standard model.  It has the ability to be a game changer by providing simplicity to complex network monitoring initiatives; and it can be as basic as riding a bike!

Looking for always-on IT services that deliver exceptional quality? Looking to optimize performance, compliance and deliver improved security insights? Network Critical solutions use revolutionary technologies to ensure the 100 percent network visibility organizations need. From TAPS, aggregation and packet filtering, to load balancing, packet slicing and single panel management, Network Critical’s suite of solutions incorporating Drag-n-Vu offers the most comprehensive and intuitive network visibility enhancement solutions on the market today.

We’re extremely committed to ensuring that our customers feel their network access and monitoring needs are fully supported and we hope this mission is shown through our website’s improved functionality and up-to-date look and feel. If you have any suggestions or comments, please contact us via the inquiry box located on our home page.

Check out our brand new website as well as a video we’ve developed that provides a brief overview of how our patented Drag-n-Vu technology can benefit your organization by clicking here.

Posted: 20/06/2015 15:37:54 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Increasing Revenue per Sale – Overcoming Sales Myopia

Increase sales revenue

Myopia is the word optometrist’s use for “shortsightedness.”  You can see up close but the big, far away picture is a blur.  Metaphorically, many sales professionals suffer from this myopia when developing solutions for their hard fought prospects and customers.

IT Sales organizations spend a lot of time and money attracting new customers.  After all, new business is the life blood of the company.   Sales organizations work hard sharpening techniques for networking, advertising, social media presence, trade show effectiveness and other prospecting activities.  Marketing organizations perfect presentations.  Systems engineers, sales teams and management all get involved with the potential customer. Competition, pricing, delivery and support are discussed.  Finally, a Purchase Order is received!

The path between prospect and order is long and expensive.  That is why maximizing the revenue per order should be a critical metric for every business.  We have all heard the analogy, “do you want fries with that hamburger?” It does not matter if the product is burgers or network tools.  Getting creative and proactive with proposals can increase revenue with little to no extra selling costs.

What if you could add 10% or 15% to every order you close?   A $10 million dollar a year company could add over $1 million per year to the top line without adding another sales person, engineer, or marketer.  Likely there is no argument that this is a good thing, but from a practical standpoint, how can it be done?

The key to increasing revenue per sale is to broaden the solution. For example, adding network access to a network analytics solution or including an in-line tap with an IPS design is an often overlooked revenue enhancer that is simple, quick and solution friendly.

The customer may be adding nodes, tightening security, enhancing monitoring or upgrading technology.  They are focusing on the initial application for which the budget was approved.  This is where the savvy sales pro has an opportunity to create some extra value, strengthen the solution and create competitive barriers.  Look at the bigger picture to determine if there are other elements that can and should be added to the proposal that would help the customer better meet business goals or that would provide a proactive means of addressing future networking needs/requirements.

As an example of additional technologies to educate customers on, taps and packet brokers are necessary visibility and management elements often required to implement many IT projects.  However, they are often not given much thought in the design process.   By discussing taps and packet brokers early, and adding them into the design, one can differentiate the proposal while increasing revenue from the sale.  Taps are broadly used, not very complex and easy to design into a wide variety of applications.  Once familiar with their use and many applications, channel sales and design teams will notice many opportunities to increase revenue on network tool sales while providing additional consultative services to their customer.

This is just one of the areas where educating and offering solutions to increase effectiveness and help meet business goals, can show your customers that you are looking at the big picture and have more to offer them.  Spending a little time discussing tap and visibility solutions can help channel sellers increase sales revenue and provide valuable new services to their customers.  Learn more about taps and network access devices at www.networkcritical.com.

Posted: 06/06/2015 15:39:09 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Why Is Network Tool Configuration So Important? – Configuration: The Bain of Effective Network Monitoring

Network monitoring is utilized for the purpose of overseeing the operation of a computer network using specialized management software tools.  It is critical for debugging, monitoring performance and enforcing security compliance in all networked environments. Network monitoring systems are tasked with ensuring the availability and performance of computers and network services, and can detect and report on failures of devices or connections.

Configuation of network monitoring and inspection tools

Key to the proper operation of network monitoring systems is configuration.  In the past network monitoring only encompassed a few network devices with bandwidth running at less than 1Gbps.  Now, administrators have to deal with higher speeds (from 1G to increasing instances of 10G and above), the addition of wireless networks, and a conglomeration of many sophisticated network traffic monitoring and analysis tools in order to maintain the network’s stability and availability.  With the vast increase in monitoring tools, coupled with network complexities and constantly changing monitoring requirements (based on variables such as increased use of social media, new and evolving compliance regulations, etc.), the task of tool configuration has changed significantly to become much more complex and time-consuming. 

What has gone from a one-time configuration where the tool can be set and forgotten, can now take from 30-minutes to multiple hours to configure each tool based on the complexity of the configuration, and then each tool may need to be reconfigured on a frequent and continuous basis.  Imagine the hours of work this adds to the IT department each week.  To compound to the complications this new situation presents, keep in mind that mis-configuring any one of these tools is entirely plausible, and in fact happens often.  And when faulty configuration occurs, that tool is not monitoring the traffic it is tasked with, leaving the network vulnerable and rendering monitoring ineffective.

Network Critical has recognized that correctly configuring network tools was going to be a major headache as the number or tools and their frequency of use increased. That’s why we’ve built the easiest to use network visibility controllers and TAPs currently availability. We can do in seconds what other visibility controllers take minutes and hours to achieve and with more accuracy.

Posted: 23/05/2015 16:27:30 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

It Can’t Happen Here (Or Can It?): Increasing Investments for Sound Security Practices

Burying your head in the sand - IT problems will never happen to us!

Did the head of IT security for Michaels Stores ever think, “It can’t happen here,” before their systems were breached and 3 million payment cards were compromised. Did the head of IT security for Target think the same before his system was breached and millions of credit and debit card numbers were stolen?

The 2014 Cyberthreat Defense Report for North America and Europe issued by CyberEdge Group provides a comprehensive report on the state of IT security. It reported that over 60 percent of respondents were affected by a successful cyber attack in 2013 but less than 40 percent expect that they will be victimized again in 2014.

The reasoning behind the optimistic outlook by the 40 percent is not stated in the report.  It could be that they have their head buried in the sand or it could be they learned a lesson last year and are increasing investments in next generation firewalls, data loss protection appliances, network access control and other security procedures and appliances.

It’s clear that cyber-attacks come in many forms. In fact, the report noted 19 specific network security technologies that their respondents are using today or planning for acquisition. This specialization in security tools requires network managers to utilize a variety of tools to protect network assets from attacks. 

Installing, configuring and managing many devices from multiple vendors is challenging, to say the least. Fortunately, innovative Packet Broker companies like Network Critical are making it easier to manage multi-tool environments. Products like the SmartNA-X and SmartNA-X HD allow simple integration of multiple tools for network analysis, compliance and security. Passive, in-line and by-pass switches allow risk free connection of tools to links without compromising network performance or availability.

The stakes are high for these very public companies. Success is critical to attain customers’ trust. Optimism, noted above, should be based on increased investment in sound security architectures and not “head in the sand and hope for the best” approach. 

Posted: 23/04/2015 16:29:07 by Global Administrator with 0 comments