Digital and cloud enabled systems support IT solutions are no longer optional for businesses. Growing companies must embed a digital-first approach into every facet of the business process if they expect to grow in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace.
Contributing Source: Jason Albanese, Co-founder and CEO – INC.com | Published Sep/21/2017
Amazon made headlines again when they recently announced they’ll be hiring 50,000 jobs across the country. Considering this hiring surge accounts for nearly one-quarter of the 222,000 jobs that the U.S. added in June of this year, I think it’s safe to assume Amazon is experiencing a growth phase.
Yet, as with any expansion, Amazon is likely facing a slew of challenges as they welcome new workers into the fold. Is each facility prepared to handle the influx of employees? Can the current human resources system manage a massive spike in users? Is the company generating enough revenue to support 50,000 new wages?
I have no doubt that Amazon is well prepared to handle this expansion, but this is not always the case for most businesses. In fact, last year, the Kauffman Foundation and Inc. Magazine discovered that nearly two-thirds of companies that had previously been on Inc.’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies list had either been sold, reduced, or gone bust.
While growing pains can make or break a company, there are a number of digital solutions you can adopt that will make the expansion much easier. Why? Because companies that embed digital into their everyday operations are more agile than traditional businesses when it comes to managing change. This agility will come in handy when you need to make a last-minute pivot to handle the demands that come with any growth phase.
So, if you’re going through growing pains (or are hoping to in the near future), here are five digital solutions you’ll want to consider:
As your company grows and expands, it’s important to keep a close eye on performance both internally and externally. And the best way to monitor this is by measuring and tracking data. With the right data-driven dashboard in place, you’ll be able to:
But, for many smaller companies, the first step is to start tracking and storing data in the first place. Unlike larger corporations, small businesses tend to be lacking in this area.
If you want to start tracking data externally, consider implementing a customer relationship management tool and investing in analytics on your website, marketing campaigns, or apps. For internal data tracking, project management tools and time-tracking software can yield a treasure trove of insight. In both cases, however, you’ll need to put controls in place that will enable you to collect Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and use dashboards to contextualize the data.
Growing a business puts a demand on resources, so you’ll want to find ways to cut costs throughout the process. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to ditch the paper.
Whether it’s by getting rid of paper contracts, enforcing a new policy on e-statements, or removing printers from the office, digital communications can save your company quite a bit of money. It will also dramatically streamline your processes and operations.
I touched on this in a recent article, but if you’re outgrowing your current office space, then consider what it might take to create an omni office workspace for your employees.
While companies like IBM and Yahoo are no longer allowing employees to work remotely, a hybrid approach might be the best solution when it comes to creating an effective work-from-home policy. But no matter what you decide to do, enabling your employees to spend some time working from home can help keep overhead costs low, while potentially increasing productivity.
Cloud mostly refers to the hosting of virtualized systems infrastructure and data in some datacenter aside from your own. In particular, this applies to office software and management and project accounting software as a service in, the cloud. What does this mean for small business organizations and large corporations that need protection of proprietary information to assure their company’s continued survival and success in highly competitve markets and challenging political and economic times? Most manufacturers, government agencies and public / private sector corporations would want to consider the risks. How would disruption in functional operational areas impact on market position and bottom-line in the face of IT systems anomalies, cyber-attack, hurricane management or other natural disasters?
I have to agree that eliminating tape, disk to disk, courier and select file backup protocols with tech savvy Virtual Private Cloud VPC on-premise continual backup would not only save your company tens of thousands per month, but when combined with cloud enabled IT backup and systems support, could make the difference between surviving threats mentioned above, and thriving in the face of these threats, while attaining assured readiness for the biggest challenges, and reduced cost.
Can virtual assistants improve your company’s order fulfillment process? Can AR or VR enable your team to create prototypes that are easily shared across continents? Will IoT devices and smart sensors work to reduce manufacturing costs? Maybe or maybe not, but if you are not at least aware of these trends, you will not be able to make informed decisions about which might be applicable to your company.
The latest technology trends could be the key to getting your company through a growth phase with ease. But if you don’t know what’s happening, then the opportunity to integrate this tech into your operations will never see the light of day.
If growth and expansion are on the horizon for your business, you’ll want to make sure your company is digitally mature before you get too big to function. You can bet Amazon is taking full advantage of digital solutions as they expand their workforce and you can do so today by taking the above into account.
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In Monitor DNS Traffic & You Just Might Catch A RAT, Dave Piscitello described how inspecting DNS traffic between client devices and your local recursive resolver could reveal the presence of botnets in your networks. Today, he will share how you can monitor traffic using security systems and name resolvers you may already have deployed.
Let’s begin at the most prevalent security system: your firewall. All firewalls should let you define rules to prevent IP spoofing. Include a rule to deny DNS queries from IP addresses outside your allocated numbers space to prevent your name resolver from being exploited as an open reflector in DDoS attacks.
Next, enable inspection of DNS traffic for suspicious byte patterns or anomalous DNS traffic to block name server software exploit attacks. Documentation describing how popular firewalls provide this feature is readily available (e.g., Palo Alto Networks, Cisco Systems, WatchGuard). Sonicwall and Palo Alto can detect and block certain DNS tunneling traffic, as well.
Whether you use Snort, Suricata, or OSSEC, you can compose rules to report DNS requests from unauthorized clients. You can also compose rules to count or report NXDOMAIN responses, responses containing resource records with short TTLs, DNS queries made using TCP, DNS queries to nonstandard ports, suspiciously large DNS responses, etc. Any value in any field of the DNS query or response message is basically “in play.” You’re essentially limited only by your imagination and mastery of DNS. Intrusion prevention services in firewalls provide permit/deny rules for many of the most common of these checks.
Use cases for both Wireshark and Bro show that passive traffic analysis can be useful in identifying malware traffic. Capture and filter DNS traffic between your clients and your resolver, and save to a PCAP file. Create scripts to search the PCAP for the specific suspicious activities you are investigating, or use PacketQ (originally DNS2DB) to SQL query the PCAP file directly.
(Remember to block your clients from using any resolver or nonstandard port other than your local resolvers).
This involves using sensors at resolvers to create a database that contains every DNS transaction (query/response) through a given resolver or set of resolvers. Including passive DNS data in your analysis can be instrumental in identifying malware domains, especially in cases where the malware uses algorithmically generated domain names (DGAs). Palo Alto Networks firewalls and security management systems that use Suricata as an IDS engine (like AlienVault USM or OSSIM) are examples of security systems that pair passive DNS with IPS to block known malicious domains.
The logs of your local resolvers are a last and perhaps most obvious data source for investigating DNS traffic. With logging enabled, you can use tools like Splunk plus getwatchlistor OSSEC to collect DNS server logs and explore for known malicious domains.
Despite peppering this column with links to documentation, case studies, and examples, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the many ways you can monitor DNS traffic. And bear in mind that you can use several of these methods in a complementary manner. I’ve no doubt overlooked other products, services, or methods, so comment to add to these resources for your colleagues (with technical relevance, please).
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Nearly 100,000 memcached servers are imperiling the stability of the Internet. Says ArsTechnica
This information is intended for CTO, CIO, IT Manager/Director, Network/Systems Admin, IT Technicians and anyone responsible for organization network security.