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Midyear Network Health Checkup



How secure is your network and the information that is entrusted to your organisation? Do you think you are doing OK? Every year more security regulations are passed, more budgets are allocated and more educational programs are produced. So, things are getting better…right?


According to Cyber Magazine, IT Governance stated in its March 2023 report on breaches and cyberattacks, that 41.9 million records were compromised by cyber attacks across the world. This number is up from 29.5 million breached records in the same period in 2022. Note that these are monthly statistics, not annual numbers. Compared to March 2022, Alan Calder, Chairman of IT Governance stated, “we have seen a 951% increase in compromises.”


One would think that that successful breaches most likely target companies that are not particularly network aware or are a little naive about #networksecurity. Think again. Three of the biggest 2023 breaches include Latitude Financial, Go Anywhere and AT&T. Latitude Financial is a leading digital payments, instalments and lending business. GoAnywhere MFT is a secure file transfer solution that organisations use to exchange their data safely. (See the irony?) AT&T, Inc. is a US$121 billion holding company, which engages in the provision of telecommunications media and technology service. All of these companies are technology companies.


Milestones

People use milestones to help them remember certain tasks. For example, it is recommended that New Year's Day is a good time to change the batteries in smoke detectors. There is no specific relationship between batteries and the new year. However, batteries should be changed annually and the start of a new year is a good time to remember an annual task.


Similarly, mid-year is a good time to review your network security profile. While network security management is an ongoing process, it is a good idea to perform a thorough review at least twice a year. Technology changes quickly. Attacks and breaches take on varying personas. A network that is security static, is losing ground to bad actors who are constantly changing the attack landscape.


Know Your Traffic

A good place to start is to take a look at traffic on your links. What do you really know about the traffic traversing network links? If you are not monitoring traffic and utilising tools that can differentiate between normal traffic and potential malware, you are vulnerable to attacks. Many networks that experience major breaches have had malware embedded for weeks or months prior to it being noticed.


Network Critical TAPs allow safe and accurate connection to a variety of monitoring tools. TAPs provide a more accurate assessment of traffic than a SPAN port connection. SPAN ports can drop traffic during busy times and may not pass all traffic, randomly dropping incomplete packets and error packets. This process leads to inaccurate analysis of actual traffic. A few other SPANn shortcomings include doubling of internal traffic in switches and a physical limitation of available ports. For a detailed analysis of the benefits of TAP versus SPAN connections, go to:




Protect Your Information and Reputation

Information theft can severely damage the bottom line. Lawsuits and regulatory fines are just a few direct expenses related to a successful breach. Other consequences such as damage to the corporate brand and reputation can be severe, long lasting and expensive to repair.


Network Critical has a solution. Protect your confidential information with INVIKTUS, a unique cybersecurity system that provides low-level security for your infrastructure and information. This zero-trust technology provides the extra layer of defence you need to keep cyber crime at bay. Using a deny-all baseline, the policy based configuration ensures that all points of access to the network and information are validated prior to being allowed or kept.


Tool Management for Large Networks

It is often difficult and expensive to deploy security tools on every link and protect all types of traffic. Many companies prioritise links or information requiring maximum security. However, any vulnerability or unprotected access point can have serious consequences. Network Critical recommends securing all links and provides a broad selection of products to help organisations manage and simplify this complex process. Through utilisation of TAPs and Packet Brokers with advanced features, security and monitoring tools can be efficiently deployed within budgetary constraints.


Utilising features such as port mapping, link aggregation, filtering and packet manipulation, multiple streams of traffic can be sent to just the right tools at just the right time. These features are deployed and managed using a simple-to-use computational engine. The Drag-n-Vu Graphical User Interface provides easy drag and click menus to safely configure and manage tools while protecting the integrity and accuracy of operations.


The hybrid TAP/Packet Broker, SmartNA-XL offers the fail safe technology of a TAP and the management features of a Packet Broker. Organisations can save rack space and cost by utilising this two-in-one approach. The SmartNA-XL uses only 1RU of rack space and has flexible port modules from 10Gbps to 40Gbps.


Optical Transition

Many networks are transitioning from lower speed copper links to fast optical links. This can be done system wide or on by adding new optical segments while keeping the legacy copper infrastructure in place. Copper to fibre transition presents unique challenges to network and information security. How can we efficiently utilise existing security tools while integrating faster optical fibre tools to protect new fibre links?


Network Critical Smart-NA TAPS and Packet Brokers offer electrical to optical modules that can be utilised for connecting legacy copper tools to optical links. The Smart-NA portfolio provides flexible modules from 1Gbps to 400Gbps and everything in between. A complete line of passive optical break-out TAPs are also available for fibre connections to tools. These optical TAPS offer custom optical budget splits and a variety of connectors.


As you review your network security profile, keep in mind that Network Critical provides a broad portfolio of products that are foundational to covering your network with a security blanket that allows the management team to get a good night's sleep. For more information about Network Critical monitoring and security solutions go to: www.networkcritical.com/support. We also have security experts available to work with you on design, deployment and management of your security program.


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