Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  13 Mar 2012

INFOTECH: An Extra Layer Of Security


Recent Gauteng Business News

Mines are some of the worldÂ’s most demanding and complex service delivery environments. To embrace the volatile challenges of global competition, accelerated product cycles, client demands, and shrinking margins, they are under increased pressure to streamline costs, improve product quality, and exceed service expectations and responsiveness. In addition to the technology investments that serve operational requirements and support the supply chain, the mining IT organisation requires management solutions to effectively and efficiently manage applications, the network, and the end-user.

This situation ultimately results in difficult network operations and security challenges. These geographically diverse, high-speed, highly segmented environments include a number of remote offices and mobile field engineers that represent potential points of exposure, with varying user needs and patterns of network behaviour.

“Unfortunately, traditional network management and security solutions do not operate easily in these environments, and they are expensive and difficult to manage in large scale,” explains Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting. “This was one of the main reasons we implemented a NetScout solution at one of South Africa’s biggest mines.”

Understanding Resource Impact Crucial To Mining Industry

Kevin Mani, Managing Executive at Logikal Consulting, says that the mine was looking for a way to allow IT and business management staff to fully understand resource impact and all interdependencies across networks, servers, applications and users. In addition, security was a vital consideration. “Network perimeter defences such as firewalls, network intrusion detection systems, intrusion prevention systems and anomaly behaviour systems are critical first measures of defence, but have limitations that prevent complete protection of such a complex and dynamic network environment. NetScout provided an extra level of protection through advanced network performance management tools with 24x7 packet capture and long-term storage, which enable quick forensics analysis and remediation of potential security issues.”

He adds that mines – and any other industries that require complex networks – have unique security and network management challenges, as they process and manage vast amounts of mission-critical data. “Service interruptions can be catastrophic and a single incident can disrupt the entire organisation, regardless of geographical distance.”

NetScout products enable the IT organisation to meet the challenges and demands associated with such complex environments, providing unified, real-time monitoring, problem isolation, bandwidth management, and historical reporting functions that enable IT professionals to effectively deliver services and meet business goals. These solutions offer fully integrated intelligent early warning, network and application performance monitoring, optimisation and planning, service and policy validation, and forensic analysis functionality, enabling companies to more effectively utilise and manage their networks.

“This includes timely repair of outages – scheduled and unplanned – as well as supporting disaster recovery and business continuity plans,” Naidoo adds. “Typical network management products are not designed to be a first defence security solution. The NetScout solution supplements traditional security solutions, bridging network and security operations teams and making them more effective.”

Changes in Traffic Patterns Allow for Security Breach Detection

By detecting significant changes in network and application behaviour, this solution provides early warning of changes in traffic patterns that may indicate security breaches or other performance issues. In diagnosing root cause, it then enables speedy restoration of the network to normal operations, reducing mean time to repair.

“The early-warning benefits this provides allow companies to be instantly proactive, minimising any damage to the system as well as speeding up repair time. It’s an extra layer of security that companies can’t afford to disregard,” Naidoo concludes.

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