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SASE and VPNs: Reconsidering your Mobile Remote Access and Site-to-Site VPN strategy

Posted in SASE & SD-WAN Networks

sase vs vpn remote accessThe Virtual Private Network (VPN) has become the go to security solution for keeping communications between networks and endpoints secure. After all, VPNs offer a straightforward, secure method for connecting sites (a site-to-site VPN) that couldn’t justify a high-end, MPLS service, and they enable mobile users to get secure connectivity from anywhere (mobile VPN). Deployment is quick, availability is high, only requiring Internet access, and network costs relatively low given the use of affordable Internet capacity.

Yet, for all that praise, VPNs are far from perfect. They require IT to purchase and deploy separate VPN appliances, increasing capital costs and complicating maintenance. Most VPN solutions require frequent patching, user policy settings, reconfiguration, and oversite. All of which adds to the burden of attempting to maintain security. What’s more, VPNs can introduce latency into mobile connections, as well as require additional login steps, often confusing end users and adding to the burden of the help desk.

All of which issues beg the question: Is it time to drop your VPN and find a better solution for site-to-site and mobile access?

Before we answer the question, let’s take a look at the topics covered here:

Until recently, the answer to our question above would have been “no.” There wasn’t a better answer out there. However, as networking technology has evolved, an answer to the VPN conundrum may be found in Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), the successor to SD-WAN and, quite possibly, VPNs. Here’s why. 

SASE or VPN: What’s the Difference?

SASE originates from a proposal by research giant Gartner, which defined SASE as a cloud architecture model combining the functions of different network and security solutions into a unified, cloud security platform.

SASE, as envisioned by Gartner, operates as a cloud-naive service connecting all of an organization’s “edges” – including sites, mobile users, IoT devices, and cloud resources -- into a single, global secure network.  It’s cloud-native meaning that the software has all of the scalability, elasticity, and repaid deployment benefits of the cloud.

And the network is secure. We don’t just mean secure as an encrypted network, like SD-WAN. We mean one that also has a complete, embedded security stack protecting against Internet-borne threats.  More specifically Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW), CASB, SWG, ZTNA, RBI, and DNS are all part of the SASE platform.

Devices of different sorts establish encrypted tunnels to the SASE point of presence (PoP). The software in the SASE PoP authenticates connecting user and grants access to defined resources based on user identity and real-time conditions, such as the user’s location or device.

sase point of presence

Incoming traffic is inspected in a single-pass with SASE applying the complete range of security functions, optimized, and forwarded along the optimum path to its destination. As such, edges gain the best possible network experience anywhere in the world, at least that’s the theory. 

SASE Brings VPN Benefits without VPN’s Networking Weaknesses

The Backup Bible. A Free Complete Guide to Disaster Recovery, Onsite - AWS & Azure Cloud Backup Strategies. Best Backup Practices

Posted in Virtualization & VM Backup

onprem and cloud backupThe Free Backup Bible Complete Edition written by backup expert and Microsoft MVP Eric Siron, is comprised of 200+ pages of actionable content divided into 3 core parts, including 11 customizable templates enabling you to create your own personalized on-prem and cloud-based (AWS, Azure) backup strategy.

Part 1 and 2 are updated versions of previously released eBooks (Creating a Backup & Disaster Recovery Strategy and Backup Best Practices in Action) but Part 3 is a brand-new section on disaster recovery (Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Blueprint) that includes tons of valuable insights into the process of gathering organizational information required to build a DR plan and how to carry it out in practical terms.

The Backup Bible is offered Free and is available for download here.

Let’s take a look at what’s covered:

The Backup Bible – Part 1: Fundamentals of Backup

Part 1 covers the fundamentals of backup and tactics that will help you understand your unique backup requirements. You'll learn how to:

  • Begin planning your backup and disaster recovery planning
  • Set recovery objectives and loss tolerances
  • Translate your business plan into a technically oriented outlook
  • Create a customized agenda for obtaining key stakeholder support
  • Set up a critical backup checklist

The Backup Bible – Part 2: Selecting your Backup Strategy

Part 2 shows you what an exceptional backup looks like on a daily basis and the steps you need to get there, including:

  • Choosing the Right Backup and Recovery Software
  • Setting and Achieving Backup Storage Targets
  • Securing and Protecting Backup Data
  • Defining Backup Schedules
  • Monitoring, Testing, and Maintaining Systems
  • Access both parts for free now and ensure you’re properly protecting your vital data today!

The Backup Bible – Part 3: Aligning Disaster Recovery Strategies to your Business Needs

Part 3 guides you through the process of creating a reliable disaster recovery strategy based on your own business continuity requirements, covering:

  • Understanding key disaster recovery considerations
  • Mapping out your organizational composition
  • Replication
  • Cloud solutions
  • Testing the efficacy of your strategy

the backup bible

Free March 2021 Training/Seminars: Endpoint Management & Security / IT Operations Management

Posted in OpManager - Network Monitoring & Management

ManageEngine continues its commitment to help IT staff around the globe manage their organization's endpoints and the IT operations for the remote and on-site workforce.

The below Free seminars running during 24th-30th March 2021 are designed to help IT Professionals, and IT Managers identify and solve simple or complex challenges in Endpoint Management and IT Operations Management.  Learn about the strategies used by large and small organizations worldwide to efficiently manage their remote workforce while simultaneously taking on problems like remote security, infrastructure preparation, upgrades, mitigating existing issues, and much more.

endpoint management it operations security

Seminars are repeated throughout March 2021 to cover different time zones and allow participants to attend both tracks.

Seats are limited, so make sure you register now!

Track 1: Endpoint Management & Security

  • Endpoint Management trends of 2021 and beyond.
  • Uni-dimensional approach to endpoint management and security.
  • Managing the plethora of devices in your IT landscape both on & off-network from Cloud-based solutions.
  • Know-hows to orchestrate your cyber hygiene routines and adapting to the new work environment.
  • Discuss on-going challenges with product experts.

Track 2: IT Operations & Management

  • Address complications in managing a network remotely.
  • Resolve security, bandwidth, VPN and configuration challenges.
  • Prepare your infrastructure to meet the requirements of a dual work force model.
  • Learn to mitigate existing issues and foresee impending dangers.
  • Discuss on-going challenges with product experts.

 Register now!

Complete Guide to Upgrading Palo Alto Firewall PAN-OS & Panorama. Prerequisites, Upgrade Paths, Config Backup, Application & Threats Update & More

Posted in Palo Alto Firewalls

Upgrading your Palo Alto Firewall or Panorama Management System to the preferred PAN-OS release is always recommended as it ensures it remains stable, safe from known vulnerabilities and exploits but also allows you to take advantage of new features.

This article will show you how to upgrade your standalone Firewall PAN-OS, explain the differences between a Base Image and a Maintenance Release Image. We’ll also explain the PAN-OS upgrade paths, show how to backup and export your configuration, deal with common PAN-OS install errors (upgrading requires greater content version). Finally, we will explain why newer PAN-OS releases might not be visible for download in your firewall’s software section.

While the same process described below can be used to upgrade Panorama PAN-OS, it is important to ensure the Panorama PAN-OS version is equal or greater than the firewalls. When upgrading PAN-OS for both Panorama and Firewall appliances, always upgrade Panorama first.

Topics covered:

Prerequisites for PAN-OS Upgrades

It is important to note that only eligible Palo Alto customers, that is, those with an active contract, can receive updates for their firewalls. Our article How to Register and Activate Palo Alto Support, Subscription Servers, and Licenses covers this process in great detail.

Understanding PAN-OS Upgrade Paths

Direct (one-step) upgrade to the latest PAN-OS depends on the current version your firewall is running. When upgrading from a fairly old to a newer PAN-OS version, multi-step upgrades might be necessary. This ensures the device’s configuration is migrated to the PAN-OS's newer supported features and that nothing “breaks” during the upgrade process.

Like most vendors, Palo Alto Networks produce a base image and maintenance releases. Maintenance releases are small upgrades of the base image and deal with bug fixes and sometimes introduce small enhancements.

As a rule of thumb, firewalls should be running the Palo Alto preferred PAN-OS release, and it is generally a good practice to install these releases as they are published.

When upgrading your PAN-OS to the latest maintenance release of a newer base release, the firewall will likely require you to download the new base release before allowing you to install its latest maintenance release.

For example, our firewall is currently running version 9.0.3-h3, noted by the ‘tick’ on the Currently Installed column, and our goal is to upgrade to version 9.1.4 (preferred release) as shown below:

Palo Alto PAN-OS upgrade path

When attempting to download version 9.1.4, a maintenance release for base 9.1.0, we received an error (see screenshot below) explaining that we need to download 9.1.0 base image first (no installation required). Once downloaded, we can proceed with the download and installation of version 9.1.4.

palo alto firewall upgrading requires greater content version

Backing Up & Exporting Firewall Configuration

SysAdmin Day 2020 - Get your Free Amazon Voucher & Gifts Now!

Posted in Virtualization & VM Backup

sysadmin day 2020 amazon voucherSysAdmin Day has arrived, and with it, gratitude for all the unsung heroes that 2020 has needed. Your hard work has made it possible for all of us to keep going, despite all challenges thrown our way. Now it is Altaro’s turn to thank YOU.

If you are an Office 365, Hyper-V or VMware user, celebrate with Altaro. Just sign up for a 30-day free trial of either Altaro VM Backup or Altaro Office 365 Backup – it's your choice!

sysadmin day 2020 altaro
What can you Win?

  • Receive a €/£/$20 Amazon voucher when you use your trial of Altaro Office 365 Backup or Altaro VM Backup.
  • Get the chance to also win one of their Grand Prizes by sharing your greatest 2020 victory with Altaro in an up to 60-seconds video.

What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

CCENT/CCNA

Cisco Routers

  • SSL WebVPN
  • Securing Routers
  • Policy Based Routing
  • Router on-a-Stick

VPN Security

  • Understand DMVPN
  • GRE/IPSec Configuration
  • Site-to-Site IPSec VPN
  • IPSec Modes

Cisco Help

  • VPN Client Windows 8
  • VPN Client Windows 7
  • CCP Display Problem
  • Cisco Support App.

Windows 2012

  • New Features
  • Licensing
  • Hyper-V / VDI
  • Install Hyper-V

Linux

  • File Permissions
  • Webmin
  • Groups - Users
  • Samba Setup