Network Visibility is A Security Must-Have 

Given the trends of massive growth in bandwidth, deployment of large enterprise data centers, and significant adoption of cloud-based applications, enterprise networks have become more challenging to secure and manage. Organizations now have a reliance on the network for critical business functions, including remote access to data center and cloud-based applications. This increased reliance on the network has opened new avenues for cyberattacks. 

Hackers and cybercriminals are exploiting this increased network reliance to threaten most (if not all) organizations with operational disruption and data loss. The exponential growth in the network footprint, the shift in traffic patterns within the data center and the sophistication of cyberattacks are breaking traditional network security designs – making it impossible to secure the network perimeter. Worse, many security breaches are hard to detect, making remediation problematic. Security products (e.g. firewalls) are increasingly burdened with too many connections and too much traffic, resulting in significant impacts on performance. Visibility into who is accessing the network and the ability to identify anomalous traffic is essential to detecting cyberattacks and addressing security problems. 

If, Not When? Think Again 

The resulting growth in the frequency of malicious attacks has shifted the security landscape. The requirement must be to design IT security to defend systems when you are attacked, not if you will be attacked. The ramifications of successful attacks and the related adverse commercial impact have never been greater, so this shift in thinking is critical. The emphasis of security is now geared toward detection, containment, and fast remediation. 

As a transit point for all information exchange, the network is the critical point for identifying cyberattacks. Network monitoring systems are key to detecting anomalies and variances compared to normal traffic flows. As networks grow, the amount of traffic can quickly exceed the capabilities of security devices and related management tools. High performance, intelligent network monitoring systems capture packets (the building blocks of information), apply pattern matching, and can then send relevant traffic or metadata to the appropriate security appliances. Thus, monitoring can help match (limited) security performance with rapidly growing network performance. The visibility provided by network monitoring enables rapid decision-making in real time in response to threats, before they have time to affect the entire infrastructure. 

How Network Monitoring Tools Can Benefit Your Organization 

Using real-time network traffic is the best way to gain visibility into your IT infrastructure. To meet the monitoring and security needs of a modern network, a modern Network Packet Broker (NPB) is required. 

Monitoring throughout the network is critical to enable network visibility and dynamically mitigate security threats. Network monitoring tools must filter and aggregate huge traffic flows, isolate bad traffic on-demand to improve security, and ensure compliance. The specific benefits of enhanced network-wide visibility include: 

  • Rapid detection and resolution of application and network security breaches 
  • Improved network performance and reduced latency 
  • Ability to dynamically isolate bad traffic 
  • Improved tool utilization and performance  

The introduction of low-cost white box switches combined with SDN software have significantly improved performance, management, and lowered the cost of pervasive network monitoring. IT organizations can benefit from advances in network monitoring performance and capacity to improve application performance, end-user satisfaction, and to identify security challenges. 

Secure Email Gateways: Perimeter Security for the Mailbox

In the business world, 90 trillion emails are being sent each year. According to Kaspersky research, over 57% of those emails were classified as spam and malware. This makes email a very real threat vector that can infiltrate a user’s endpoint, branch offices, and even the data center. It’s important as ever to secure employee and user inboxes, and there have been continual advancements in security surrounding products that identify threats and safeguard users against them. 

Security Email Gateways are one of the many sets of products used to mitigate email threats. SEGs act as perimeter security for both incoming and outgoing email to ensure that threats from outside an organization can be flagged and quarantined from a user’s mailbox, as well as preventing the spreading of malicious content from a compromised endpoint. 

For personal accounts, many popular email providers have some form of SEG implemented that will safeguard individual mailboxes. The business world, however, looks to specialized solutions that will provide a higher level of flexibility and effectiveness to meet the needs of an organization while safeguarding employee mailboxes from compromising attacks. 

SEGs for inbound email security work by positioning themselves as an organization’s email server. The system then scans each email that comes in before making the determination to either block a message as spam or send it to an employee’s mailbox as legitimate email. This helps defend against threats outside of the organization such as compromised employees at an organization that has normal communication with the protected business or botnets that are utilized to send out spam. 

SEGs for outbound email security work similarly to inbound security except they mitigate email threats from within the organization. An IT administrator can set up their SEG to route all outbound email, to people both inside and outside the organization through its system to apply the same email security scanning and block potential threats. 

Security vendors have leveraged solutions that work both with a business’s on-premise email infrastructure as well as enterprise cloud email solutions such as Microsoft Office 365. At Myriad, we focus on leveraging vendors that have moved beyond the standard scanning of emails and use more efficient pattern matching and hashing to balance security and speed to the mailbox. We also look to make sure there have also been improvements on granularity based on an organization’s needs, placing enhanced security and safeguards on more at-risk departments or users, such as an organization’s finance department. 

While SEGs are not the only solution in the realm of email security, it is a very effective one, allowing security from the perimeter of an organization’s email infrastructure. As new and inventive ways are being developed to compromise users through their mailboxes, SEGs are constantly evolving to take on these changing threats and will continue to help provide a layer of security on the de-facto standard of electronic communication between business and users on the Internet in general. At Myriad, we’ll work for you to find, evaluate, recommend, and implement the best SEG to secure the perimeter in your business to help keep you ahead of the curve. 

Myriad Celebrates December & January Work Anniversaries

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for anniversaries! Big congrats are due to those celebrating in December and January: 

Guthrie Jones – 4 years 

Guthrie started as an Account Executive in 2014, was promoted to Senior Account Executive in 2015, and then promoted to Senior Professional Services Specialist in 2017. He attributes his success to “the diverse, enthusiastic, and intelligent people who work here.” 

Best Myriad memory: “The support from everyone at Myriad when I became a first-time dad.” 

Caleb Lunsford – 4 years 

Right around the time of his work anniversary two years ago, Caleb was promoted to Senior Account Executive (what a way to celebrate!). “I love the company culture here. Everyone that is here believes in our brand and what we are trying to accomplish. I also think we have some of the absolute best sales management in the business.” 

Best Myriad memory: “My favorite memory was my first winter party. Andy and Mark went the extra mile to let me sing my favorite Enrique Iglesias song, ‘Hero.’ Mark was running around getting the audio set up. I thought it was really cool of a CEO/CFO to set that up for a fairly new employee.”  

Kyle Fahey – 4 years 

Over the course of his career at Myriad, Kyle was promoted from Account Executive to Senior Account Executive and earned many certifications from Cisco, Arista, Palo, Dell Storage, F5, and Fortinet. He enjoys “being given a chance to be a part of something great, and seeing direct results of [his] efforts as Myriad’s growth continues.”  

Best Myriad memory: “Margaritas pre-summer party being served up by none other than the CEO himself! (If I remember correctly, with an old network switch as the serving tray!)” 

Derek Diaz – 4 years 

After starting as an IT dispatcher, Derek completed training to earn his PMP certification in 2015 and was promoted to project manager. “I love the freedom and trust. As long you’ve demonstrated being dependable and a hard worker, your daily tasks are up to you. No micromanaging.” 

Best Myriad memory: “I’d have to go with my first winter party in 2013. Everyone was super welcoming and we had a blast!” 

Amanda McCall – 2 years 

Amanda has certainly been busy during her time at Myriad. Last year, she earned a certification in Data Analytics for Business and has been involved in organizing office 5k teams for many charitable causes, including “Heroes and Villains” for Memorial Sloan Kettering, “Santa Hat Dash” for Covenant House, and “Tunnel 2 Towers” for The Stephen Siller Foundation. 

Best Myriad memory: “The many volunteer opportunities that have been facilitated by Myriad, especially with SAGE (Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders).” 

Alex Ho – 1 year 

Alex is celebrating his first year at Myriad! So how did it go? “My favorite thing about working at Myriad is the people. Really fun bunch everyone is.” 

Best Myriad memory: “Winning the ping pong tournament with Nick W. The competition was epic!” 

Many thanks to Guthrie, Caleb, Kyle, Derek, Amanda, and Alex for their dedication, passion, and impressive business acumen. Happy anniversary! 

UCaaS vs. UC: Keeping Up in The Modern World

Unified Communications (“UC”) and Unified Communications as a Service (“UCaaS”) are terms that have been widely overused in the tech industry, leading to confusion in the marketplace around what the terms mean, how they differ, and the benefits they bring to an organization.   

Unified Communications refers to premise-based systems which provide the integration of real-time communication tools such as IP telephony, conferencing/collaboration, instant messaging & presence (IM/P), email with voicemail (UM), and additional communication applications (e.g. contact center, SMS, MMS, etc.) into a single cohesive solution.  Unified Communications as a Service provides the same functions of its premise-based compadre, but in a cloud-based deliver model.   

Just confusing enough, right?  Let’s remove the technology aspect and compare it to how we watch movies…  

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, when people wanted to have a movie night, they would have to go to Blockbuster to rent or buy the VHS.  This required time to go to/from the store, a VHS player at our homes to play the movie, and there was a cost tied to each rental.  Archaic, right?  Thankfully, technology didn’t stay stagnant, and we moved from VHS to a better technology: DVDs! But wait—that disk won’t play on the machine we purchased not too long ago and works fine… Well, if you wanted to keep up with the times, you had to buy a new machine.  Then we moved from DVD to BluRay, and people thought, “What do you mean this disc isn’t compatible? It looks and feels the same!” It became time to shell out more money on another machine, which may have even caused a need to buy a new entertainment system to hold all three systems.   

Let’s fast-forward our way out of the Stone Age to modern day.  We have grown accustomed to our movie nights or binge-watching our favorite TV series being nothing more than a few clicks of a button away.  We don’t feel obligated to sit through 100 minutes of pain watching Caddyshack II because we paid to rent it and it’s due back tomorrow; we pay a flat monthly fee to gain access to endless options and the luxury of being able to pick a show back up from where we left off a month ago.  The physical machine no longer dictates what we can/can’t watch, nor does the format of the movie necessitate ongoing expenses; our only “worry” is how big of a screen we can it watch on. 

Believe it or not, this isn’t one long advertisement for “Netflix and Chill”—the importance of the necessity of constantly adapting in order to consume and utilize the best technology out there is just as relevant now as it was thirty years ago. When it comes to UCaaS vs. UC, it boils down to the consumption model and which one makes the most sense for an organization.  We live in a world where the only constant is change and the pace of change is increasing by the minute.  By adopting cloud-based, UCaaS solutions, organizations are able to increase their agility and ability to keep up with advancements in technology as they come by removing the constraints that legacy, on-premise, systems have imposed for years.  If you don’t agree, we respect your opinion and would love to discuss further— can you meet next at the local Blockbuster next week? 

Ransomware is A Real Threat

Within hours of the outbreak of WannaCry, it had infected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. We’ve all heard stories describing the severe impacts organizations face after being targeted by ransomware. Ransomware is a big business for organized crime rings and, as some suspect, even state-sponsored agencies. According to industry experts, it’s estimated ransomware ransacked $1B in 2016. Money, personal files, and data aren’t all that’s at risk—when a hospital gets infected by ransomware and is unable to treat patients, it can be a life or death situation.  

What are the effects of ransomware? 

Beyond extortion (paying a ransom to regain access to infected systems), viruses and malware can impact productivity and lead to loss of revenue due to outage or employees not having access to systems. This highlights the importance of backups at home and in the business. Imagine losing all your precious family photos if your home computer gets infected. Now imagine your photos are an organization’s financials, client information, or patient data. That collateral is a big deal to your business, not just for productivity, but because the impact to your company’s reputation can have financial impacts that last longer than the settlement from a lawsuit or fines imposed by governing bodies.  

How does malware infect an organization? 

Companies are faced with the challenge of how to secure their resources from malware and viruses coming from different attack angles called “threat vectors.” Attacks can infiltrate an organization via websites, email, network, and remote/mobile workers. Sometimes an attack can be caused by something as seemingly innocuous as users bringing in a laptop from home or plugging a USB drive into the corporate network.  To prevent attacks from these different vectors, it’s necessary to secure internal resources from the inside out and the outside in. The question becomes: how do you protect your network from your own employees? 

What can an organization do to prevent attacks? 

Malware and viruses are constantly evolving, so there isn’t a sole, one-step solution that protects everything. Without layers of security, segmentation, authentication, blocking, visibility, and alerting, any user can gain access to the network and malware can spread from device to device without anyone knowing. For these reasons, automated blocking and a rapid time-to-detection are important. 

There are many ways an organization can be alerted of a security problem before it’s too late. The key is identifying what the threat vectors are and having a plan in place to address them. A great and easy first layer of defense companies can very easily add is DNS protection. DNS protection can automate the blocking of malicious known links/websites via the web or email and is a great/simple first layer of defense customers can add to their network without much effort. This service is offered as a cloud-based subscription service with 1, 3, and 5-year licenses. 

Ultimately, a layered approach is the best defense. Firewalls, email protection, DNS protection and endpoint protection are all great tools for visibility and alerting. Many use user behavior analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to flag zero-day threats. A zero-day threat is a new malware or virus which firewalls don’t yet have definitions or signatures to identify and block, hence the name “zero day” – day one is when the threat is first recognized. A layered approach which includes regular updates to your computers, intelligence to uncover current and emerging threats, visibility across all devices and ports (anywhere), and power to block (stop phishing, malware, and ransomware) early on is critical, as they make the job of the cybercriminals targeting your company and network harder and the economics less attractive. 

Myriad Celebrates November Work Anniversaries

This year, we are thankful for the employees celebrating anniversaries this November and a collective 35 years of jobs well done! Gratitude and congratulations are due to: 

Jamie Waugh – 10 years  

There have been a lot of great moments and memories during his ten years at Myriad, and 2017 did not disappoint! Jamie has taken on his most exciting role yet after becoming a Project Manager this year. He enjoys the all-hands on deck mentality of fellow Myriad employees and that “any and all ideas are openly discussed and, if right, are implemented immediately so we are a more effective company.” 

Best Myriad memory: “Back when the company first started, if you wanted to work at Myriad you actually had to interview with the whole company! We all had to make sure you were a good fit. I think that was such a cool way of doing things and it translates to today’s Myriad.” 

Michael Sloan – 8 years 

Mike Sloan quickly made his mark at Myriad after starting as an Account Executive in 2009, earning a promotion to Sales Manager in 2011 and then to VP of Sales in 2012. His favorite part of working at Myriad is his smart and enthusiastic sales team. 

Best Myriad memory: “Breaking the $100M mark for the first time.”  

Vic Glazer – 5 years 

Since joining the company five years ago, Vic has been promoted to Senior Account Executive and holds a vast number of certifications with Cisco, Dell, HP, and Arista. His favorite thing about working at Myriad is “the people I work with and that we care about each other.” 

Best Myriad memory: “My birthday coincided with my first Myriad holiday party, and the entire company sang happy birthday to me. What a welcome!” 

James Godwin – 3 years 

Soon after joining Myriad 3 years ago, James was promoted from VP Sales Ops to VP Sales Operations and Marketing in 2015. In addition to this success, James was elected as both Marketing Committee Chair and to the Board of Directors for NYNOG 2017. He is a Certified SCRUM Master as of this year and is working on becoming a Certified SCRUM Professional in 2019. His favorite thing about working at Myriad is “all the people who challenge me to be and do better every day. And the random boxes of Dough donuts I pretend not to eat.” 

Best Myriad memory: “All the Myriad winter festivities – especially the group photos, winter party, double decker buses, ugly sweater contests, and gift exchange. Last year, our events team gave me the gift that literally keeps on giving: an ENTIRE CASE of Big Red gum. As a result, my office smells like cinnamon and (I’m pretty sure) comes in at least second place to the recruiting office for candy-jar-stop-in visits.” 

Nicole Fieger – 3 years 

Nicole quickly proved her design chops and was promoted to Creative Director a year after joining Myriad. In addition to bringing her creative skills to her job every day, Nicole’s favorite part of working at Myriad is “all my lovely coworkers.” 

Best Myriad memory: “When we sponsored a float for the NYC pride parade!” 

Danny Shum – 3 years 

This year, Danny has taken on a slightly different role from “Ecommerce Specialist” to “Pricing Support Specialist.” He credits “the full transparency of the company and also the willingness of everyone to lend a helping hand, usually met with a no-questions-asked mentality” to his success. 

Best Myriad memory: “During my first winter party, little over a month joining Myriad, a member of the sales team sang the Spanish version of Enrique Iglesias song ‘Hero.’  It was quite memorable.” 

India Stokes – 1 year 

When looking back at her first year at Myriad, India is most proud of taking on all purchasing responsibilities for one of our major accounts and also negotiating with vendors to receive free shipping. Her favorite part about working at Myriad? “Myriad is truly a company that values people and the talent they bring. I’ve never felt so comfortable in a work environment while also being positively challenged in my work.” 

Best Myriad memory: “Volunteering for ACE Day at the Manhattan Children’s Center. It was so much fun to interact with amazing children for the day.” 

Jose Estrella – 1 year 

Jose’s favorite thing about Myriad is “the culture of the company and the way we support each other the way family would. We all get along—this is the glue of the company and what sets us apart from all other IT companies out there.”  

Best Myriad memory:  “Our first company cook-off and how the idea stemmed from a simple joke and developed into this fun activity that allowed us as a company to interact in a unique way. The best part of it all was Myriad using the money collected from this activity to donate to those in need.”  

Chad Betts – 1 year 

During his first year at Myriad, Chad earned the VMware Certified Associate (VCA6) certification for data center virtualization, along with multiple accreditations for Dell/EMC, HPE, and VMware technical pre-sales knowledge.  

Best Myriad memory: “The Juniper ping-pong tournament my second day on the job.” 

Congratulations to Jamie, Michael, Vic, James, Nicole, Danny, India, Jose, and Chad! We hope your anniversaries are as amazing as your dedication, knowledge, and talent!