Aperture Provides a Glimpse into the Cloud

Jeff Starling[Senior Networking Consultant]

KS Aperture ImageThe use of SaaS (Software as a Service) applications continue to gain popularity as a cost-effective way to provide office automation and data-sharing in today’s business environment.  SaaS services are often described to fall into 2 categories:

  • Sanctioned (allowed and supported by the company),
  • Unsanctioned (utilized by the end user with no control by the IT department).

Palo Alto Networks firewalls can control the access of most unsanctioned SaaS applications through the use of the built-in App-ID function.  But SaaS applications use infrastructure and networks that are not owned by the company.  So how does a security-conscious IT department protect their sanctioned SaaS applications from malware and data loss?

They use the Aperture service by Palo Alto Networks.

Aperture is a cloud-based security solution from Palo Alto Networks designed to protect SaaS applications.  It provides full reporting of daily activities of users and data, and supports a granular access control mechanism to eliminate data exposure and risks.  This service integrates with Palo Alto Network’s WildFire Threat Intelligence database to block known malware, as well as, to identify and block unknown malware.  This level of protection can be accomplished with no change to the local user.  There is no agent to install, and since it is a cloud-based solution, there is nothing to install on the network.

Aperture currently supports the following SaaS applications:KS Aperture Process

  • Box
  • Office 365-One Drive/SharePoint
  • Sales Force
  • Google Drive
  • Github
  • Dropbox
  • Yammer

Contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager for more information on Aperture and other Palo Alto Networks products.

 


Azure Rights Management Service from Microsoft

Microsoft Azure

Chance Webster – [Systems Engineer]

We have all seen stories on the news about company information being accidentally disclosed because of employee error or stolen during a breach of a company’s security infrastructure.  In many cases, company’s data is critical and confidential, and protecting this vital asset is a high priority.  The problem that organizations often face is protecting the company’s data within a budget that adequately aligns with the risk of data loss.

 

While there are many solutions available, Microsoft has developed a strong solution with the Azure Rights Management Service which natively integrates with many applications already in use within the business.  The Azure Rights Management Service is a cloud based Rights Management platform that provides a holistic approach to protecting your information within the Office 365 platform.  This service allows information owners to maintain access controls over the data that is being sent via email, stored on portable media, or even within the organization.  In addition, Azure Rights Management can be configured to provide notifications, either on-demand or by using a Rights Management template, that the data has been accessed by authorized users or that unauthorized access has been attempted.  Additionally, as part of the Azure Rights Management Premium service, this same protection can be extended to your on-premise Exchange, SharePoint, and File servers without a need for additional infrastructure that typically requires significant effort to implement and maintain.

 

Azure Rights Management Devices

An additional feature of the Azure Rights Management service is the Office 365 Message Encryption service.  This service provides an easy to use email encryption platform that requires very little setup and integrates with your existing email infrastructure.  Internal users can easily encrypt emails without a need for cumbersome setup time or need to exchange email certificates with a recipient in order to send an encrypted message.  Recipients of messages encrypted by the Office 365 Message Encryption service will find it easy to use and without a need for any additional setup.

 

The Azure Rights Management service is included in the Office 365 E3 and E4 plans or available for separate purchase for use with other Office 365 plans.  For on-premise infrastructure or for additional features such as tracking of RMS protected documents, Azure Rights Management Premium is available for separate purchase or as part of the Enterprise Mobility Suite or Enterprise Cloud Suite.

 

For more detailed information on Azure Rights Management Service and how it may help with protection of your organization’s data, contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.

 

 

 


TechSpot Recap : VMware-Kaspersky “Avengers: Age of Ultron” Premiere

Carissa Montgomery, Marketing & Communications CoordinatorStandee

 

On Friday May 1st, VMware and Kaspersky Lab joined Keller Schroeder in treating a group of our clients and their guests to a private showing of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” at Showplace Cinemas.

Before the movie began, attendees and Keller Schroeder employee-owners listened to presentations from VMware and Kaspersky Lab featuring the latest from their technologies.

DezAfter beginning with an overview, VMware Healthcare Systems Engineer Max Abelardo discussed what was new with the vSphere 6 server virtualization platform, end-user computing using VMware, and the vRealize cloud management platform.

Chris Streeks, Systems MaxEngineer with Kaspersky Lab, then explained how clients could secure their virtual environments with Kaspersky. His talk centered around handling virtual endpoint security at scale and methods of virtualized protection.

AudienceAttendees also had the chance to win prizes. Matthew Yeley from MSWARS Research walked away with an Avengers-themed prize pack. David King with P&I Supply won our grand prize, a $100 VISA gift card.

For more information regarding the VMware, Kaspersky, or our upcoming events, please contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.


TechSpot Recap : Cisco Intercloud & Peak 10 Disaster Recovery

Carissa Montgomery, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Steve Kevin Cisco
The kickoff to our 2015 TechSpot series of lunch-and-learn events took place on Thursday, February 26th. The event was also the first held at our new TechSpot location, ITT Technical Institute in Newburgh, IN. The informative session featured presentations from our vendor partners Cisco and Peak 10.

Cisco Systems Engineer Kevin Flook discussed the company’s Intercloud Fabric, a highly secure, open, and flexible solution that gives users complete freedom in workload placement based on business needs.
Kevin’s presentation included details such as Cisco’s Intercloud Kevin PresentingFabric vision, an overview of its architecture, and case studies highlighting the technology’s true business value.

John and Mike Peak 10
Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Mike Meyer, Systems Engineer from Peak 10. Mike discussed the latest in Peak 10’s Disaster Recovery. Topics featured in Mike’s presentation included Business Continuity versus Disaster Recovery, a Disaster Recovery plan using the Cisco PPDIOO Chart, challenges associated with traditional disaster recovery implementations, and cloud-based disaster recovery using Peak 10’s Mike PresentingDRaaS.

Clients were also treated to a free lunch, a free gift, and the opportunity to win great prizes. Becky Hills from Ivy Tech, Allen Tate from the Ohio Township Public Library System, and Cathy Finch from Raben Tire all took home Amazon Fire Sticks. Abram Devonshire from Flanders Electric won our Grand Prize, a $100 VISA Gift Card.

 


Why Nimble Storage?

Basic RGBChris Haynes [Sr. Systems Consultant]

 

Are your storage costs getting out of control? Do you need more storage performance, but think you can’t afford it? Are you contemplating that support renewal vs. a storage refresh decision? Well, then you need to consider Nimble Storage.

So how is Nimble Storage different from all the other storage providers? Nimble designed their solution from the ground up, to take advantage of using SSDs as cache in combination with traditional spinning disks to provide the most efficient hybrid solution at the lowest price/performance combo available in a storage solution today.

Nimble developed their patented Operating System called Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) to cache “hot” data on SSDs in real time, allowing it to respond to read requests much faster than any of its competitor’s “bolted-on” flash technology. CASL also allows for some of the lowest-latency writes too, by collecting random writes and compressing and writing them to disk sequentially.

Nimble Storage didn’t stop with just a low-cost, high-performance system either. They packed their storage solution with all the advanced features one would expect in a next-generation storage solution, including inline compression, block level difference snapshots, zero copy clones, data replication, one-click upgrades with no downtime, and much more, all included at no extra cost. No a la carte pricing like some other storage vendors have.

On top of all this, they provide one of the easiest and most intuitive management interfaces, with all the capacity and performance data you need at your fingertips, and a convenient plug-in for VMware vCenter or Microsoft Hyper-V, so you don’t have to leave your hypervisor to create, resize, & monitor your datastores.

What else? Nimble Storage also provides a proactive support site called InfoSight, which is a cloud-based portal that collects data from your storage solution every five minutes, and presents historical capacity and performance reports, trending and wellness reports, and hardware upgrade recommendations, along with lots of other information. You can manage support tickets here as well, and if you have to call Support, the person who answers the phone will be able to help you immediately, never asking you to collect logs to send to them. Support will already have all the data they need to help you.

Will it scale? Absolutely. You can scale up on the fly with hot swappable controllers, SSDs, and HDDs and scale out by clustering multiple Nimble Storage units together for even the largest environments. All systems are highly available dual controller solutions with high-performance SSDs and RAID-6 triple parity disk arrays for the HDDs for maximum redundancy and performance.

Nimble Storage was named “Storage Vendor of the Year” in 2014 by CRN and has had quicker growth than any other storage vendor to date. All sound too good to be true? Do your own research. Ask around. Then give Keller Schroeder a call. We’ll answer any other questions you have about Nimble storage, provide references, and can schedule a demo with you. We can even arrange to have a demo unit installed at your site. Give Nimble Storage a look. You’ll be glad you did.

Contact your Account Manager at Keller Schroeder for more information about these products and how they might benefit your organization.

 


KS is now a Nintex Partner

Nintex IconRob Wilson, Business Unit Director


We are pleased to announce a new partnership at Keller Schroeder intended to help us better serve our SharePoint customers. Nintex has a solid reputation as a forms and workflow development solution for SharePoint, which has become increasingly important because of the recent changes to the SharePoint workflow engine and uncertainty about the InfoPath forms solution. We have had a serendipitous relationship with Nintex for some time now, having assisted clients with installation, configuration, and development projects. Now, Keller Schroeder has entered into a formal partnership with Nintex as a Value Added Reseller, so we can assist in the full solution delivery lifecycle, including: evaluation, sales quotations, procurement, implementation, and renewals. Our partnership gives us direct access to Nintex resources, including high quality technical training designed for partners to add to the real world experience our team already has with the product.


Having partnered with K2 already, we did not quickly jump into this partnership. There is some overlap between the products – especially when it comes to SharePoint. This is nothing new to us, however, as we have partnered with competing solutions in the past. For example, Keller Schroeder is a Value Added Reseller for both NetApp and Nimble Storage Area Networks. Why would we do that? The answer is simple: to better serve you. K2, a full-featured BPM solution with SharePoint connectors, will be a better fit for some organizations and Nintex, strictly a SharePoint add-on, will be a better fit for others. Keller Schroeder can help you decide the best fit for your organization and assist in implementing either solution.


ninitex-form


Some of the criteria to consider when choosing a solution are:

  • How many users will access forms and workflows?
  • Who will develop the forms and workflows?
  • Will my workflows access information stored outside of SharePoint?
  • What infrastructure is available to me?
  • Which ongoing support model best fits my organization?
  • What are my team’s existing skills?
  • Is our SharePoint site hosted in the cloud or on-premise?


    One message we have consistently shared from the beginning is that to develop more than one workflow for SharePoint, you should definitely consider one of these products. Keller Schroeder is pleased to have had success with both products as well as good partner experiences with both. We are excited to add Nintex as a trusted partner and look forward to sharing more about the product with you. Please contact us for more information about how Nintex could add value to your ongoing SharePoint forms automation projects.


  • What is Office 365?

    Office365
    Dezarae Miller, Inside Product Manager
    What is Office 365 exactly?
    Office 365 is a cloud-based subscription service, hosted by Microsoft, that end users access across the Internet. It offers a variety of services and software based on the Office platform. It isn’t just hosted email, but includes a range of services including instant messaging, collaboration, and more. These services can either be purchased as a suite, as individual components, or mixed and matched.
    The most common individual plans consist of:

    • Exchange Online Plan 1 & 2 – Email
    • SharePoint Online Plan 1 & 2 – Collaboration
    • Lync Online Plan 1 & 2 – Instant Messaging, Voice, and Video
      The pricing for SharePoint Plan 1 or Exchange Plan 1 come in at $48.00 per user/per year. For Plan 2, the plans come in at $96.00 per user/per year. Lync pricing is $24.00 per user/per year for the Plan 1 option and $66.00 per user/per year for the Plan 2 option. All Plan 2 offerings include features from Plan 1.
      The suites used by most businesses include:

       

    • Office 365 Midsize Business – limited to 300 users, Office Pro Plus desktop version, components of Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync
    • Office 365 Enterprise E1 – Components of Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync
    • Office 365 Enterprise E3 – Office Pro Plus desktop version, components of Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync
    • Office 365 Enterprise E4 – Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync, Office Pro Plus desktop version, Enterprise functionality
      Pricing for these plans ranges from $96.00 per user/per year to $264.00 per user/per year. Midsize Business, E3, and E4 include the desktop version of Office Pro Plus for the period of the subscription.
      Office 365 service is built on an update structure. Updates are provided once per quarter. Any new releases of products are automatically upgraded during those quarterly updates. Also, since all services are hosted by Microsoft, your organization can benefit from being backed by a 99.9% schedule uptime SLA, and a premium disaster recovery service.
      As you can see, Office 365 offers plans from small to enterprise businesses with options to mix and match according to your business needs. If you have any additional questions, please contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager for more information.

       


    Meraki (Balboa) II

    Jeff Gorman, Business Unit Director


    The deployment and support of wireless networks continues to grow both in prevalence and in complexity. Whether organizations are seeking to support mobility among traditional laptops, expanding their wireless support to provide connectivity for devices such as tablets and smartphones, or providing guest wireless access to their customers, the requirements continue to drive the installation or modification of wireless infrastructure. As that complexity increases, many organizations are looking for ways to simplify the deployment and management of those networks and the devices which use them.


    Meraki, a recently acquired part of Cisco, provides a complete networking infrastructure solution aimed specifically at solving that complexity issue for both wireless and wired networks. Meraki’s products offer completely cloud managed networking.


    The benefits to the organizations that deploy those solutions include functionality such as:

    • the ability to manage all network devices from a single dashboard
    • the ability to control applications and devices
    • the confidence of a PCI and HIPAA-compliant infrastructure
    • a platform that scales from small sites to the largest of enterprises
    • the removal of a requirement to install or maintain wireless controller hardware and management software


    meraki-ap


    Meraki offers products in the wireless, switching, and security spaces, as well as a no-cost mobile device management solution that supports iOS, Android, Windows, and OS X devices on any network. All of the Meraki solutions can be deployed, configured, and maintained from their cloud-based network management platform. This allows for simple centralized administration of network hardware across any number of remote sites, includes easy to configure network visibility and management functionality for alarms and reporting, natively supports role-based administration and auditable change logs, and can provide application and user device visibility across managed devices.


    The control traffic that communicates with the Meraki cloud management software operates in a manner that keeps network management data completely separate from user data. Management data (configuration, monitoring, performance) flows from Meraki devices to the cloud management platform over a secure Internet connection. An organization’s private data does not flow through the cloud; it always flows directly through the company network to its intended destination. This architecture provides considerable scalability by eliminating controller bottlenecks, great reliability through redundancy in the cloud management application and allowing traffic to pass even if management traffic is interrupted, and maintains full compliance with HIPAA and PCI requirements.


    logo-authorized-reseller-horizontal-900x400


    Meraki has taken a very detailed approach to ensuring the security of their cloud-based offering. They have five geographically diverse tier-1 SAS70 Type II certified data centers that host their environment, and customers’ configuration and usage metrics are replicated across three independent datacenters with real-time data replication. Beyond the physical security of the data, they offer functionality like two-factor authentication, password policies, idle timeouts, role-based administration, configuration change alerting, configuration and login auditing. All of these features are provided as native functionality of their Systems Manager solution that is part of each of their devices.


    If simplified network deployment and network management are valuable to your organization, or if your organization is looking for ways to have a better view and control of the traffic and devices that are using network resources, Meraki’s solutions may be a good fit for your needs. Contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager to schedule a time to further discuss your organization’s network needs and the Cisco Meraki solution.



    Your last checkup was WHEN?

    Brad Mathis, Sr. Consultant

    Your Last Check Up Was When???

    Most people understand the vital importance of routine medical checkups. Regular health exams and testing often help pinpoint problems before they begin. Not only do exams and checkups help with early detection of existing problems, professionals who perform them help to greatly reduce the occurrence of future problems by recommending mitigating actions based upon the findings. We all have grown to understand this as a requirement to live a long, healthy, and productive life.
    Why is it we all don’t treat our information systems networks with a similar level of protection and importance? Information systems are the lifeblood and backbone of most successful businesses. When the flow of information stops, business degradation begins. Business interruption caused by malware and cybercrime continues to increase at alarming levels. It is imperative for businesses of any size to ensure robust IT security is in place, in order to prevent becoming a victim of cybercrime. Consequences of not doing so include business interruption, legal compliance issues, loss of revenue, reputation impact, or worst case, complete business failure.
    scope-and-chart
    Keep your IT infrastructure ‘heart’ pumping and data ‘blood’ smoothly flowing by routinely testing the security of your network computing environment. Much like a body has multiple components to diagnose and keep running smoothly, so does a network infrastructure; from the web browser, to the server, to the Internet facing network infrastructure.
    Do you want to get a glimpse of your current security posture? Here are a few security health check tools available from Qualys that you can check out for free!
    And if you’re not routinely having the security of your network reviewed, it may be time to schedule that check up. Our Security Practice can help. If you would like to learn more, be sure and ask your Keller Schroeder Sr. Account Manager for more information.

     


    Barracuda Backup Solution

    – Jeff Gorman, Business Unit Director
    Regardless of the industry in which you operate or the size of your business, having a solid backup and recovery plan is vital. No business can afford to gamble with its data by using outmoded or high-failure backup methods. In today’s world of cost-effective high speed Internet connectivity, data can frequently be protected by shipping it over the wire and storing it at secure offsite locations where it can be accessed in a time of need. Barracuda Backup is one option that has proven to be highly successful in meeting the needs of businesses with respect to online based data backup and offsite replication.
    How safely the data is stored is a logical consideration when looking at online backup solutions. Since offsite storage is the best way to ensure data integrity in case of a disaster, the manner in which data is transported and stored is critically important.
    When the Barracuda Backup Server is installed and configured, it performs an initial backup of all selected data and stores it locally. An advanced digital cataloging system shreds data into small pieces and tracks the changes of these parts over time to make sure duplicate data is not being retained. This deduplication helps minimize storage and bandwidth costs as it prepares to send data offsite.
    To create an offsite copy of critical data, the Barracuda Backup Service sends data to one of two secure data centers via the Internet using an encrypted connection. Before data is transmitted, those shredded and cataloged parts are symmetrically encrypted then compressed for transfer and remote storage efficiency. The symmetric key to unlock those parts is in turn asymmetrically encrypted. The Barracuda Backup Service encryption method exceeds the United States Government’s approved encryption standards for protecting Top Secret information, ensuring that data is protected.

    The last copy is created when replication occurs between the two data centers, providing another layer of redundancy. All data is mirrored from one data center to the other and can be accessed from either. Barracuda Networks distributes data for each customer across two geographically dispersed data centers to minimize the potential impact of an event at either location. Each data center is highly secure including alarms, controlled access, fire suppressors, redundant bandwidth, and emergency power generators – everything necessary to ensure valuable data is not in danger.
    The Barracuda Backup service [PDF] was also designed with recovery in mind. Administrators manage the device through a Web interface. Because all critical data is mirrored offsite and administrative instructions are sent from the Web interface down to the Backup server, nothing critical is lost if the server is damaged. Barracuda Networks provides a number of tools and protocols to access and restore data either from the local box or from the cloud. This includes the Web interface, the Barracuda Restore Tool, WebDAV, and even FTP. A business can begin restoring data from the cloud as soon as it has connectivity. In the event that the local backup server is a total loss, and there is a significant amount of data that needs to be restored quickly, Barracuda Networks Technical Support can load data on a hard drive or a replacement Barracuda Backup Server and ship it overnight.
    Neglecting to protect data until disaster strikes is an extremely high-stakes risk. In the event of a disaster, the likelihood for a company’s survival drops dramatically without access to critical data like company financials, accounts payable records, or customer records.
    For some business owners and IT administrators, whether or not they have a solid data backup solution at all becomes their single standard in determining disaster preparedness. In reality, every business has different backup requirements, recovery needs, and priorities, and should create a regular process to analyze and identify critical systems recovery procedures in the event of a total loss. Each business and possibly each system a business utilizes may have different requirements for acceptable recovery time. These should be related to the available recovery options and their associated costs.
    The overwhelming dependence of modern businesses and organizations on information technology to operate and remain profitable dictates the necessity of an affordable plan that allows for full and immediate recovery. A business should never be in a position where all of their data exists on a single device or at a single location. As a result of advances in technology with systems such as Barracuda Backup, organizations can now manage these together at an affordable cost.
    Contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager for more information or a demonstration of this product and how you, together Keller Schroeder, can benefit your environment.