— A Model for a Successful Tools Rollout

Problem to Solve:  A Model for a Successful Tools Rollout

Here is a link to an article I wrote for in March 2022.  It covers some of the best practices and guidelines for a successful network or cybersecurity tools deployment.

A Model for a Successful Tools Rollout


INTERVIEW: Healthcare IT Today — Does IoT Increase Security Risks in Healthcare?

Problem to Solve: Does IoT Increase Security Risks in Healthcare?

I had the privilege to be interviewed by Colin Hung from regarding the many challenges & risks associated with Internet of Things security in Healthcare. In a nutshell, the session highlights the benefits, threats & considerations related to IoT deployments.

Here is the link to the original article posted on the Healthcare IT Today website.

Does IoT Increase Security Risks in Healthcare?

COVID-19: A lesson in being Grateful?

Problem to Solve: The COVID-19 virus has affected much of our lives. What can I do to help?
While the very serious COVID-19 outbreak has seemingly been non-stop bad news and affecting lives everywhere, it has taught me something very valuable. I know this sounds incredibly “cheesy”, but I cannot remember a time in my work or personal life where I have felt more grateful. We have food, water, electricity, faith, Internet and homes while we wait this virus out. Our workers in healthcare, first responders, trucking and supply chains, grocery stores, food delivery, teachers, etc., just to name a few have all stepped up to the plate during this crisis. (Thank you all by the way….
Many industries have had to do a dramatic “quick change” to allow people working remotely, which has put quite a strain on the underlying technology platforms. As the extra load for remote access to business services has greatly increased, I have seen IT, network, application, voice and video collaboration, cyber-security, and remote access teams all step up to the plate during this stressful time.
  • The first reality of this situation is that we are all more dependent on technology, the Internet, communications and applications. 
  • The second reality is that sometimes, technology gets overwhelmed and does not work as intended. 

From a Work Perspective

I have been incredibly humbled and so very grateful for my customers that have reached out for our help with their technology challenges. Quite simply, it just “feels good” to partner with customers to reconfigure, reuse, redeploy their existing equipment to help them address the various technology glitches. We have also seen an incredible uptick from executives requesting information (dashboards & reports) for many of their critical business services as they make command decisions. It is fulfilling to know that we have been able to do our small part to help during this crisis. I will not name specific customers but will list some of the unique use cases that have come up where we could assist.

Use Cases

  • COVID-19 Patient Hotline — Voice over IP errors have caused service degradation and call failures for patients calling into a Hospital
  • Remote Access Overloaded — multiple customers serving up remote access by various technologies (IP-Sec VPN, Citrix, VDI, etc.) having to deal with MAJOR increases in traffic and subsequent application slow downs
  • Telemedicine Demand – dramatic increase in load for virtual Doctor visits via Video platforms has caused issues with access, service degradation and video quality issues
  • Remote Access Efficiency – at a time when VPN related services are at an absolute premium, it is not a happy day when you find “unnecessary” or “non-business related” traffic (i.e. Netflix, iTunes, etc.) consuming part of the precious bandwidth 
  • CEO Reports & War Rooms – requests for detailed information on network bandwidth, application usage, and VPN session counts
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks – this item is hard to believe during the current circumstances, but we are seeing an increase in organizations getting attacked. Here is a link to a recent attack against the department of Health and Human Services (HHS.GOV)

  • Internet and Web Site Testing – running synthetic tests against various VPN concentrators and critical web sites to ensure that they are up, functional, and performing optimally for their audience (i.e. customers, patients, end users, etc.).

Gratitude !!!

This is the time for all of us to pull together, “step up” and help in our own unique way during the current COVID-19 pandemic. 
To my Customers — I am simply just grateful that you allow us to continue to partner with you to solve your most challenging business problems. Thank you for allowing us to help and for placing your trust in us.
To my teammates @NETSCOUT that work with me day to day —  it is such a pleasure to work alongside such quality people that share in the common goal of helping customers with their actions, not just in their words.

Best wishes to everyone for health and safety to you and your families.

Cloud, Security, and Service Triage


Are you deploying a private or public cloud solution or maybe in the planning stages? Of course you are. Or if you’re not, someone within your organization may already have started! In this particular blog posting, I will focus on cloud being deployed as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which in the public setting would be Amazon EC2, Google GCE, or Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines. The equivalent private cloud vendors would be VMware and Microsoft’s Hyper-V. Disclaimer. There are MANY MANY more vendors in both private and public cloud spaces than I have listed. Please do not take the omission as a disregard of the excellent products and services other solutions offer.

Additionally, the fundamental technology which will be discussed (802.1AE/MACsec) in this blog post can be leveraged outside the cloud as well.


Growing up in Northeast Ohio, I was fascinated with all things “security”. In my youth, SNORT was on version 1.8 and I had just installed it up on a 133 MHz PC. I installed it to justify the creation of a security budget at my then employer at the time. The concerns over security quickly started to pile into our cubicles as we started to evangelize our security messaging.

As we started to express the need to inspect traffic inbound and outbound to the internet, folks were concerned about their privacy. The now defunct SSL 3.0 was just starting to gain traction and we noticed how useless our signatures had become on this subset of traffic.

These concerns directly coincide with the CIA triad of Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability. This triad existed then, and I would argue that it has even more usefulness and purpose today.

What I quickly learned back then was there was a need for balance. You can lock everything down with encryption, and immediately you hamper (note I did not say limit) your visibility into both integrity and availability. In the world of service triage, we must be able to understand historical trends to be able to define availability. The same is spelled for integrity, as we are unable to monitor and perform analytics on the user’s traffic.

MACsec aka 802.1AE

When MACsec was first presented to me, I immediately and foolishly thought it was some new Apple security applet. It is actually a data link (layer 2) level encryption which is increasingly being deployed in both private and public clouds. This functionality permits point-to-point encryption between pieces of network gear OR between hosts on the same network. MACsec is an ideal deployment option within the VXLAN space.

Layer 2 encryption gives a unique capability, where depending on the deployment methodology, could mean zero impact on the individual hosts. Server and security teams rejoice as they are now able to “break bread” together. All the while the NOC, monitoring teams, and problem solvers are scratching their heads on how this implementation impacts their monitoring tools.

Some, even within the very security teams recommending MACsec, start to question how the tools (which they likely bought after the last breach) will interface with this new world of confidentiality. The reality is that the common methodology of tapping network links and deploying aggregation switches is useless in this scenario.

So, if you use this method you just implemented a security strategy which ensures complete confidentiality from the risk of your cloud vendor snooping on your data. However, you have effectively locked out every other team and workflow utilized to ensure availability and ensure integrity.

How do we re-balance this scenario?

Service Triage of Yesterday, and Today

If you haven’t been keeping tabs on the service triage market place, you may have missed the significant developments this space is churning out. It once was a singular solution with only taps/spans going into hardware based probes. It then evolved into a bipedal approach with taps/spans feeding into aggregation switch manufacturers, which then fed monitoring solutions. For the past 5 years that approach was very successful for numerous vendors and customers.

The introduction of cloud forced the market place to rethink the service triage market. How do we implement the hardware solution based in probes and aggregation switch when our applications reside virtually inside the cloud? You simply cannot start deploying hardware inside Amazon, Google or Microsoft. As we begin to look at SDN and NFV deployments, the questions start outpacing the answers, and I haven’t even mentioned containers! The simple answer is we must go with a hybrid approach across the board to address these types of environments.

Once we define the problem we are attempting to solve, we can select the tools which can solve the said problem.

Hybrid Service Triage

As stated in the previous section we need to “call an audible” during the kick off of these projects. Covering the various network edges such as Internet, cloud connections (Direct Connect, Express Route, etc), WAN and MAN is a good start.

But to the point of this article, if we were to implement taps across our infrastructure which leverages MACsec, we would simply see large sums of indiscriminate traffic. So while we have the edge devices to understand network utilization of our finite network resources (Internet/WAN bandwidth), we need to deploy micro services inside our cloud environments to better define availability.

By deploying these micro services dedicated to service triage, we implement visibility prior to the encryption occurring. BINGO! But what about those security tools ensuring integrity?

Micro-Services Answers the Call of Enabling Integrity

Micro-services having direct access to raw packets, can either create smart-data for security tool consumption or even export traffic to the previously mentioned aggregation switches. That’s right, I said it! The micro-service can tunnel traffic back to your aggregation switches to your “ground locked” security tools.

So let’s take a step back for a moment. Your service triage tool set can take your traditional hardware based security tools, and “cloud enable” them!! This can be a HUGE budget slashing opportunity and cost savings. By deploying service triage solutions into the cloud, you have visibility into cloud application traffic that can be backhauled to your existing security solutions (on premise).  The net win of this deployment is that you now have necessary visibility into the cloud traffic, AND effectively make “existing security tools” capable of seeing this traffic as well. Leveraging existing investments always yields a cost avoidance budget wise.



SIEM Bat Time .. SIEM Bat Channel (Hacktivism #8)

Problem to Solve: How can we integrate our Cybersecurity SIEM with data from our Application and Network Performance Management solutions? For those of us with a little “gray in our hair” will remember the end of the ORIGINAL Batman series … Continue reading

Looking for the Unknown Anomaly (Hacktivism #7)

Problem to Solve:  How can I use my APM NPM solution to better detect Unknown Anomaly conditions related to Cyber and/or Hacktivism?   “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than … Continue reading

Remote Remote .. It’s Work From Home We Go (Hacktivism #6)

Problem to Solve:  What can we do to protect VPN connections, remote employees working @ home, and B2B links from Cybersecurity / Hacktivism? Can you picture our happy dwarfs that work from home singing to themselves all day long “Remote .. Remote … It’s Work From Home We … Continue reading

Living with the Threat of Ransomware

Problem to Solve:  How can we go about searching for potential Ransomware activity before our organization gets attacked? The evolution of security for so many has become a reactionary series of response and recovery. The latest highly publicized exploit leaves … Continue reading

Would Homer Simpson Protect Virtualized Servers? (Hacktivism #5)

Problem to Solve:   What can we do to protect our Virtualized Server Infrastructure and Application Services against Hacktivism?   OK, I don’t know exactly what Homer Simpson thinks about virtualized servers, but do have a guess on his reaction. 🙂   So the … Continue reading

Protect Critical Unified Communications (Hacktivism #4)

Problem to Solve: What can we do to protect our organization from Hacktivism, specifically for protecting our critical Unified Communication services? Have you ever had the joy of experiencing your company’s voice communications become unavailable? Well, if you think about it, … Continue reading