Written by jj
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
With HP’s newer v2 modules for the HP 5400 series chassis switches, we’ve received a lot of calls from customers who experienced a conflict when adding newer modules to a switch. (more…)
At times, my new blog entries are sparse (at best). Unfortunately, much of my writing in the past year has been private for-hire content that will never make it in its original form to my site.
If you’re looking for more security-related articles and how-tos, be sure to visit the Tech Target Search Midmarket Security site, as well as the Search Financial Security site, for more content authored by me.
Recent content you’ll find there
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Recently, I worked with the Tech Target team on content for the Network Security School for midmarket organizations. In this Midmarket Security School set, you’ll find tips and tricks on how to streamline your network security budget, retool the infrastructure for security and my personal list of top five security issues to avoid.
Find the video, podcast and top five tips at Search Midmarket Security.
|•||Streamlining your network security infrastructure – VIDEO
Learn how to save money by streamlining your network security infrastructure.
1. Retooling the infrastructure for security
2. Identifying and classifying tools and resources
3. Leveraging your current personnel, experience and interests
4. Exploring uncommon uses for software and hardware
5. Reviewing overlooked functions of switches, routers and firewalls
6. When shoestrings aren’t enough
|•||How to rework your network infrastructure for security – TIPS
NEW! Retooling your existing network infrastructure for security requires less complexity and more attention to basics such as switches, centralized authentication, UTMs and network segmentation.
|•||Five network security issues to avoid – PODCAST
NEW! This podcast covers some common network security issues and how you can go about avoiding them in your organization.
1. The management malady
2. Partial lockdown
4. Cutting with a spoon
5. Vendor voo doo
If you get tired of listening to me after a couple of minutes, you can find more Midmarket Security School content online.
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It wasn’t long after I switched from a long history of traditional cell phones to a BB Pearl that I realized there was a big problem. I was up a creek without a paddle… or should I say, I was up to remote voicemail access without a proper keypad.
You see, phone systems everywhere- my office, your office, the banks and any alphanumeric-driven automated system- use the letters that correspond to a standard desk set number. The number ‘2’ represents ‘ABC’, etc.
The problem is… the BlackBerry Pearl keyboard is the bastard child of a standard 9-key cell keypad and a full QWERTY keyboard that BB usually sports… making it match… well… nothing!
So a ‘G’ on my office system to Give it to another user is number key 4, on my Pearl it would be 5, which would be ‘K’ to my phone system to save the message and tuck it back in the depths of vm storage never to be found again. Over the past months, I’ve accidentally erased things I wanted to forward, forward things I wanted to save… you get the picture.
It’s not just voicemail access. I also found I couldn’t make use of dial-by-name directories or even access my banking by phone. It gets to be quite frustrating at times, and driving down the road at 70mph is not really a good time to try and work out the mental puzzle of which number ‘should’ be what.
The solution… I decided to make a BlackBerry Pearl ‘Proper’ Keypad Cheatsheet. It’s a convenient 2×3.5” business-card sized piece that you can print and slip right into your wallet, phone holster, or wherever you need it.
And here it is, available for your enjoyment- in both his and hers colours.
Her BB Pearl Keypad Cheetsheet (in pink)
His BB Pearl Keypad Cheetsheet (in blue)
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We always talk about ‘layered security’ and ‘defense in depth’ as strategies for securing the network. And, usually, we’re talking about these as good strategies. However, with more and more security ‘stuff’ on the market, the layered security solutions are starting to lose some of their value.
Why? Well, the problem with layered security is that we tend to assume if Layer X isn’t providing a particular protection, Layer Y must be… and we all know what assuming does.
In the good ol’ days, we relied on firewalls- perhaps nested firewalls, or ones positioned strategically on the LAN as well as the WAN. Because of our network architecture at the time, that was the primary (and probably only required) protection. After years of de-perimeterization and the increase of threats from both remote-access and insiders, we have a much different landscape.
The addition of resources and availability in the network has lead to the addition of vulnerabilities and threats.
Now… our schools need to protect children from material online. Now… we need to stop Trojans from sneaking in with VoIP apps. We need to access our corporate network securely from Starbucks. Our corporations need to protect their network from users accessing or publishing illegal content on the Internet. We need to protect our email, make sure its virus-free and not allowing employees to send sensitive information to the outside world.
All these increased risks and threats lend to the need for more protection in the environment. There’s just no single silver bullet or cure-all for the problems we’re facing.
What does this mean? It means we’re adding security products to the network to address these issues. We need content filtering. We need layer-7 visibility on the WAN for inbound/outbound application control. We need data leakage prevention. We need email security. We SSL-VPNs for secure remote access… the list goes on.
So, what’s the problem? We’re living in a world of security buzzwords and ‘hot topic’ solutions. But the problem is 2-fold.
Problem 1- We forget to KISS IT. In the frenzy to understand and implement these hot new products, we’re losing sight of some basic security functions and overlooking some really important security fundamentals. Remember to KISS IT and keep your basic security solutions simple- then layer on top of that. Your hot new NAC or DLP solution won’t seem so impressive if your basic firewall rules haven’t been properly configured.
Problem 2- We forget thy layers. After you KISS IT, you need to start layering responsibly. That means having a CLEAR understanding of what each solution does- or does not- do. You wouldn’t believe how many customers call and want to hear about Widget A for a certain solution that Widget A is not designed to fix. I deal with it daily and I blame (for the most part) vendors for mis-advertising their product as a fix-all. Whether its hardware or software- know what each piece of your security solution is designed to do, what it’s actually doing, and keep that information documented. Documented- I’m going to say it again. Your firewall/UTM may offer content filtering and gateway AV, but are you using it? Are you using a WAN optimization product to stop prohibited applications, or is your web filter doing that? Do you even know?
Solving the Cube. Layered security is like solving a Rubik’s Cube. You may think you’re on the right track after you get one side solved… but the other 5 are just a huge mess. There are patterns and algorithms you must follow to solve all sides together. Your layered security solution is no different. Understand what each piece is doing, how it fits in, and when to twist one layer here to implement a solution as part of a different layer over there.
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