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AI World Conference & Expo · Boston, MA · December 11-13, 2017

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My kids have an expression that goes “Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy” to describe something that’s fast and easy to do. Things like beating their dad at a video game and a number of other tasks people do would fall into this category. The opposite of easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy is something that is complex and difficult and I can think of no better example than maintaining a high quality of experience for real time or bandwidth intensive applications over broadband.

The migration from MPLS to broadband is well underway as businesses look to cut the cost of the WAN with an eye towards eventually migrating to a software defined WAN (SD-WAN). The concept of using broadband for business is sound as broadband speeds have steadily increased over the past decade and there are so many flavors of it (cable, Ethernet, cellular, etc) that businesses will almost certainly be able to move the primary and secondary link to broadband. Broadband is typically a fraction of the cost of MPLS so there are big savings to be had for the company that is successful with a broadband WAN.

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Prior to the Thanksgiving break, Check Point Software posted this blog alerting security professionals to the dangers of something called “web shells”. While web shells have been around for a few years it seems the awareness of what they are and how they operate is still relatively low so I thought I would take the time to explain what the threat is.

Web shells are scripts or executable software that can be uploaded to an unprotected server and then opened from a browser to give cyber criminals a web based interface to run system commands.  A web shell can be thought of as a backdoor into the system that can be run from a browser.  For any particular web server, the web shell script must be in the same programming language that the server is running on.  Examples of this are php, asp, jsp, perl, Ruby, Python or Unix. So if a server is running Python, the web shell must also be in Python.

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Earlier this year the most recent ZK Research – Tech Target Network Purchase Intention Study was conducted.  The survey revealed that securing mobile devices represents the top security challenge for businesses.  The survey also showed that 25% of businesses now want to purchase security using an “as a service” model to simplify the deployment and on going management of security technology.

Check Point Software now can kill both of these birds with a single stone.  Earlier this year, Check Point acquired an Israeli based security company called Lacoon for $8 million.

Lacoon enhances Check Point’s mobile security and BYOD solution, Capsule, which is an alternative mobile device management (MDM) and mobile enterprise management (MEM) offering. Capsule offers core MDM capabilities such as remote wipe but also advanced features such as malware protection, segregation of business and personal data, mobile DLP and other features critical for scalable BYOD.

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IT security is a fascinating topic because it tends to oscillate between being critically important to the most important thing IT and business leaders are working on. Right now, because of the high profile breaches such as Target and Bank of America, it’s fair to say it’s the top initiative for most companies. The most recent ZK Research IT priority survey shows that security remains the top IT priority again for 2015 as it was for 2014 and for 2013. The difficulty for security professionals is that security has evolved rapidly over the past five years. Securing the perimeter is obviously a core task of security teams but it’s the only point need securing. Security needs to extend past the edge of the network.

Perimeter firewalls do a great job today, and all the vendors offer a top-quality products and perform well in both protecting businesses from letting in bad traffic and also keeping sensitive traffic from leaving the organization.

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The job for today’s IT security teams is becoming more and more difficult. Applications are moving to the cloud, infrastructure is rapidly becoming virtualized, and endpoints are largely the property of the worker. Add in the fact that businesses are rapidly becoming digital organizations where the reliance of IT is at an all-time high, and it’s easy to see why a security breach today is exponentially more damaging than just a few years ago.

However, despite the evolution of servers, networks, and storage, security really hasn’t kept pace and evolved along with the rest of IT. Security is fighting the good fight, but they’re working with archaic tools. We live in a digital, mobile world but most security tools were designed for an era of static IT. No matter how smart the team is and how hard they work, security teams can’t keep up because the security technology hasn’t evolved.

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