Monday, January 23, 2012

Escaping the pitfalls of remote data center management

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) continues to be a hot topic for data center managers in 2012 and while it’s important to keep up with new tech developments, it’s equally important to once in a while stop, and make sure that your basic management needs are really covered.

When dealing with IT infrastructure in a data center, remote access methods have become a key part of the IT manager’s tool box. But managing these tools is a sizable job in itself. In every IT environment there are a variety of remote access tools that have been purchased departmentally or have come into the data center or network closet as a result of the preferences of different technical teams, who've chosen – and don’t want to relinquish – these tools to accomplish specific tasks. All of this brings significant complexity to the overall data center management process. 

Data centers are highly dynamic and complex environments. They are multi-disciplinary, multi-vendor and multi-user to name just a few. New equipment is added at an astounding rate, in some cases to geographically disparate locations. All of this has to be accessed and managed in a remote, efficient and secure manner that doesn’t leave you relying on the glue on the back of a post-it note to be able to find critical information in the event of an IT emergency. 

A few weeks ago, we described how a DCIM system is compromised if you cannot manage the access to your data center infrastructure. When you’re faced with downed systems and are in a somewhat helpless state, having a readily available solution that enables you to diagnose, access, troubleshoot and fix a problem remotely over the LAN or Internet can be the difference between an ordinary workday and one that leaves you anxiously scrambling for answers and wasting precious time.

In our upcoming live webinar ‘The Secret Behind A Bulletproof DCIM Strategy’ on Tuesday, January 24th @ 2pm EST, we discuss more about remote data center management and how Remote Access Management is a critical piece of DCIM, used daily by IT admins to run, maintain and fix their data center's IT infrastructure. Register Now!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Data center security - a look at the other side of the firewall

In today’s cyber world nobody in his right mind, business or individual, operates without a firewall. But – did you know that around 80 percent of all security threats to organizations come from the inside? Astonishingly enough most companies focus their security resources on preventing external hackers from causing them harm, and no matter how successful firewalls and various intrusions detection/preventing systems are, they are not of much help when the attack/intrusion comes from within the organization, behind the firewall doors…

While people, or workers from within your organization can actually do far more damage to your business than any hacker, this threat is often over looked, not given enough attention or forgotten all together. A recent global study with more than 5.500 IT personnel reveals that increased threats to sensitive and confidential data are caused due to a lack of control and oversight of privileged users.

Think about it for a moment, do you (or anyone else inside your organization) really know how many of your employees, IT personnel, external contractors - or even former IT staff – have access to your critical systems and data? Or, for that sake, do you know how many of your company’s IP addresses, passwords and user names are currently floating around inside your IT department on various spreadsheets and post-it notes?

One security layer that could easily be implemented to protect against such threats is an application that manages remote access inside, as much as outside, of the organization’s data center. This would provide you with a simple way to administer IP addresses, user profiles and user rights while avoiding password sharing with external service providers. Think of it as a firewall behind the firewall - it will allow you to centrally manage and control who has access to what, and with what level of permissions, while it at the same time you can see which privileged users entered which target, from which IP address, through which access method. This will also ensure you that the right access, to the right equipment is given ONLY to the right people inside your organization. 

To learn more on how easily you can protect your internal passwords and increase the security to your own IT infrastructure, watch this video!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

KVM over IP – the IT manager’s life insurance

It’s a known saying that your customers are the best advocates of your solutions and products. When that happens, your chances of closing the deal rise dramatically. In a recent sales meeting with a prospect customer one of our sales managers, Moti, experienced just that!

The customer is fortune 1000 company in the insurance industry that is consolidating its three legacy data centers into a new “lights out” data center, looking to streamline operational costs, increase efficiency and productivity of their IT staff and of course provide better service to their on-line customers.

Moti started off the meeting presenting the many benefits of an KVM over IP switch, emphasizing in particular on the critical aspect of out-of-band access - that while day by day maintenance will be done using applications like RDP, VNC or SSH (to name just a few), when disaster hits once in a blue moon, can be even once a year, in the form of an OS crash (blue screen of death ring a bell?) THEN, the ONLY means of accessing the server’s BIOS and attempting a fix is through the KVM over IP switch…

At this point in the meeting the customer politely intervened saying something like "Moti, you don’t have to sell us on this, we are in the insurance business…we sell products that in some cases are never used (!) And in other cases are used only once…but still, the mere thought of not having an insurance for when disaster happens once in a lifetime is so horrifying that everyone buys them

Now, take out the word “insurance” from the quote above and replace it with “KVM over IP switch” and you have an elevator pitch for convincing your CFO why you need the most reliable and secure KVM over IP solution, whether you are a fortune 100 enterprise or a doctor’s clinic.