Thursday, May 26, 2016

Building up Professional services

Few weeks back a friend have asked me for the best method to build an integration team in his start-up. A team that will be responsible for the implementation of their product into the customer's network.   
In my opinion calling such function as "integration" will be aiming low, as it will force the team to focus only on such activities, with minimal value added to the company. I suggested to call it "Professional Services" in order not to limit the team's activity to narrow aspects of integrating a system into network, and being able to offer additional paid services such as network audit and optimization, training etc. Having a professional services team will contribute the company to position their customer facing activity with "customer success" approach.
I therefore suggested the following plan…  
The below  three steps methodology is not new, but I still see it relevant for implementation, especially when a product company makes the decision to move from basic product support services to more solution-oriented services, and in that aspect, it is the integration services that my frieand's start-up looks to provide.
Of course each phase has its unique challenges and priorities that will be handled in due time.  
First phase: Recognize when the company begins to offer implementation services. This phase occurs when a product company first makes the decision to offer services beyond basic support services. In this phase, the product company is willing to take on more responsibility for the overall success of a customer project. This typically means a willingness to manage the successful implementation of products from other companies if required.
Products of this phase: HLD, LLD, limited ATP and Basic operations training
Second phase: The integration services phase starts when one realizes that some critical components are required to glue together a customer solution, and these components don't exist. In this case there is a need to invest in specific technical skills required to build the solution. Success in this phase will make any vendor a critical business partner to the customer.
Products to be added at this phase: SOW, comprehensive ATP, Advanced troubleshooting training
Third phase: offering consulting services that designed to solve high-level business problems, where discussions regarding technology and products are secondary.
Products to be added at this phase: Network audit, IOT
Stay tuned, checking up with the progress.

Monday, July 27, 2015

CSO 2.0

Recently I was invited to participant in brainstorming dealing with the definition of “CSO 2.0”, where the main point that were selected to be discussed and examined are as follows:
·         What is Public cloud for Information Security Managers?
·         Traditional Security in the Cloud
·         Innovation & security, Better together?
However I couldn’t attend this meeting, never the less I’m sharing my thoughts

When using public clued services, web Security should be set in layered formation, in 3 layers to be exact. First layer, at the campus and branch office protecting the internal connected users. Second layer on the network for mobile users and those that are at home. Third layer at the public cloud itself protecting the access to cloud data centers.

Any solution that is used should be comprehensive and include deep visibility into the content and control (like done in QoS platforms), anti-malware / infection detection and URL filtering as well as protecting the public cloud and the network infrastructure from DDOS attacks.

Although the threat landscape rapidly changes, threat protection need to retain the current solutions and practices and to add new and innovative solutions that proof their effectiveness rather than jumping into protections against future threat that might or might not come true. 

Should it be single vendor solutions or each segment beast of bread… more to follow…

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Business Continuity Plan versus Disaster Recovery Plan, or should they co-exist?

Disaster recovery and business continuity planning are processes aim for organizations to be prepare for that one disruptive event that can take them out of business, even temporarily. In the context of this assay, it is related to event that can affect the IT systems, be it passive infrastructure (i.e caballing) or systems.

Often, when an organization deals with this subject they often discuss "DRP vs BCP", Disaster recovery or business continuity planning, what’s important, and what can be more cost effective. Most organizations that I'm familiar with takes the approach of " business continuity first, we will deal with the disaster when it will happen". That is why IT organization replicate their servers to a location name "DRP". You have live copy of the content, but will you be able to access it?
Should it was decided to replicate the content of the IT servers to secondary and tertiary sits (someone said cloud?) to allow smooth contingency. It is nice to have them available, but think of the ability to use them.

True story. Some day at 1999, arrived to the office early in the morning, just to find out that the northern wing of the management building was on fire. The first floor was burnt out to the ground (literally the floor fell down on to the ground floor). Unfortunately the Backbone switch was in that floor. Using the infrastructure on the south wing to connect the building back to the working campus network, people were able to return to their desks the following morning.

Having "hot and active" multiple datacenters, that is contingency plan. Having redundant "cold and passive" infrastructure, that is disaster recovery plan.

(Written as part of the Coursera based seminar "Cybersecurity and Its Ten Domains")