Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>

Matt Brunk | July 14, 2017 |


Internet Security: Use Wisely

Internet Security: Use Wisely Network administrators must assume a proactive security posture.

Network administrators must assume a proactive security posture.

The recent WannaCry and variant Petya outbreaks should be more than a wake-up call for network administrators, especially those who aren't being proactive and managing Internet links and instead adopt wait-and-see attitudes.

An over reliance on technology may be failing us here in that we forget that some decisions may not be automated. For example, one company ordered all employees to stop connecting to company resources via smartphones. This isn't necessarily wrong, but it might not be the best way to fend off bad guys -- it speaks about the process in place in that particular enterprise.

Server Message Block version 2 (SMB 2) was involved in the WannaCry ransomware attacks, according to Kaspersky Labs analysis. While the flaw actually resides in SMB 1, the attackers used SMB 2 as part of the exploit. That's regrettable, especially since Microsoft issued a stern "Stop using SMB 1" warning in September 2016.

Unfortunately, the multifunction copiers (MFCs) many organizations use to let workers scan documents to shared drives can be a source of vulnerability. Some of them work on SMB 1, and results are mixed when using SMB 2 or SMB 3. Administrators need to know what's on their networks -- and if you'd had adhered to this best practice then you'd already have disabled SMB 1 if it had been in use and you' had ferreted out any MFC that didn't work using SMB 3.

The second area of concern that keeps rearing its ugly head is software updates. The necessity of patching trumps reliability and convenience. To be fair, updating patches and firmware may prove to be disruptive to workers, and this is an uncomfortable position for any network manager. The message from management may be "we want speed, reliability, and security," but the reality is you may get two out of three while one area will degrade.

During the Petya outbreak, I saw in motion two tools that I liked. First was the McAfee endpoint security client that offers optional scanning of files on shares. The choice is to activate the scanning; note, if workstations are low on RAM and or processors, users will notice latency. Still this is a proactive defense that is easily deployed to desktops. The second really cool feature I saw is within Avast's antivirus cloud console, which lets administrators change security policy to "hardened mode." The change isn't automatic, however. Again, user experience may be impacted.

Patching software and updating firmware just isn't optional, and doing nothing isn't acceptable. In fact, that's the worst option of all.

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter!


July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.