Network management, security make for happy bedfellows

Experts push for more attention on network management and security at IT Roadmap conference

With the walls between IT domains crumbling, companies increasingly are putting in place policies, processes and technologies that serve the twofold purpose of managing and securing networks.

That was one theme among speakers at Network World's IT Roadmap: Boston conference this week, which drew close to 700 attendees and 75 exhibitors. While network management has long been perceived as the "Rodney Dangerfield of IT," said Jim Metzler, analyst and vice president at Ashton, Metzler & Associates, the technology plays such a large role in other IT domains that it demands attention.

"There is a sort of negative buzz around network management," Metzler told attendees. "But I see innovation."

Technologies, processes and products that help companies respond in a "real-time-enough fashion to threats, opportunities and situations that impact the health and well-being of the organization" represent the wave of innovation in management, Metzler said.

IT automation software, Web services management technologies and best practices frameworks such as the IT Infrastructure Library are among the areas of innovation in management.

For David Hauser, automating the process of provisioning and patching some 500 servers with an IT operations staff of less than five people is what he considers management innovation. To start, the CTO and co-founder of GotVMail wanted to be able to quickly roll out desktops to new staff. Founded in 2003, the Weston, Mass., company currently has 35 employees, but Hauser said he expects that number to double in the next 12 months.

"Automation was never intended to replace IT staff, just shift their attention to more compelling tasks," he said.

Hauser shared with show attendees how he selected, deployed and currently maintains a pair of appliances from Kace to reduce manual labour, and more importantly secure his growing network of distributed data centres.

"Patch management and policy enforcement were two of the big factors we had in selecting a network management system," Hauser said.

The Kace system enables Hauser's staff to set policies and control application deployments on user machines. "We had a big security problem with people downloading and setting up applications to their machines themselves," he said.

To minimize user backlash, Hauser set up a self-provisioning feature within Kace that lets users select popular applications they would like to download to their desktop and later that day or overnight the pre-tested and screened application would be provisioned to the machine. "We make sure it works and aligns with our policies before they download it, but you don't want to completely restrict what they put on their machines," he said.

Similarly, Curtis Simonson, senior technologist at the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab in Durham, told attendees how his organization explored network access control (NAC) technologies to ensure PCs didn't spread viruses across the network.

"We wanted to prevent systems with viruses from getting on our network. And if they were on our network already, we wanted to prevent the spread of viruses," he said. "We also wanted to prevent access to those we don't want on our network."

Simonson tested and deployed Vernier Networks' stand-alone NAC appliances to monitor machines gaining access to the network and assessing their patch and security status. The product works using single sign-on technologies in conjunction with his Windows domain authentication systems and checks if machines attempting to gain access to the network meet pre-defined security settings.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Denise Dubie

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?