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Network outages cost even small enterprises big money

ICYMI: Talari survey studies the cost of network outages, ARM introduces a chip interconnect system and a study indicates that phishing attacks are taking aim at system files.

Nine out of 10 enterprises experienced at least one network outage in the last year, and 69% suffered two or more, according to an investigation of network outages conducted by Talari Networks.

The survey of more than 400 IT professionals, coupled with a separate cost-of-downtime study by IHS Markit, found that network outages are costing even small companies more than $9,000 per minute, with larger enterprises losing tens of millions of dollars every hour their networks are down.

According to Michele Hayes, vice president of marketing and channels at Talari, more than half of the study's respondents indicated the mission-critical applications were impacted by outages. That's bad news, particularly for 911 call centers or customer support lines, she said. "[These groups] can't afford to lose connection even for seconds." According to Hayes, most of the survey respondents -- up to 56% -- relied on redundancy to keep critical apps running. Other groups turned to off-site and cloud options to protect their operations. Overall, 48% host private and mission-critical apps on premises.

The survey found that 60% of network outages lasted more than hour; 30% stemmed from either a LAN or WAN issue.

[With SD-WAN] you make sure no one can tell there's an outage.
Michele Hayesvice president of marketing and channels, Talari Networks

SD-WAN and SDN -- frameworks that can quickly enable redundant paths and other traffic routing options -- will grow in market penetration, particularly as enterprises examine their security vulnerabilities, Hayes said. "I do believe you'll see vendors looking at it from a security angle," she said. "[With SD-WAN] you make sure no one can tell there's an outage."

Other findings:

  • More than a third of survey respondents said an outage of any length was unacceptable.
  • A quarter said they use redundant networks to protect applications, with 30% using redundant servers; only 7% had multiple internet and WAN providers.

ARM gears up for 5G

ARM, based in Cambridge, England, has introduced a new on-chip interconnect platform aimed at 5G, high-performance computing data centers and automotive networks. The new ARM CoreLink CMN-600 Coherent Mesh Network and DMC-620 Dynamic Memory Controller are each intended to reduce latency and improve throughput.

According to ARM, the new systems are able to meet system-on-a-chip (SoC) demands to support up to 32 clusters of 1 to 128 Cortex-A CPUs. In addition, ARM offers on-chip communications for native ARM AMBA 5 CHI interfaces. In its announcement, ARM added that the new product line provides 50% lower latency, 2.5 Ghz capabilities, the vendor's TrustZone security product and up to 1 Tb per channel.

"The demands of cloud-based business models require service providers to pack more efficient computational capability into their infrastructure," said Monika Biddulph, general manager of the systems and software group at ARM, in a statement. "Our new CoreLink system IP for SoCs, based on the ARMv8-A architecture, delivers the flexibility to seamlessly integrate heterogeneous computing and acceleration to achieve the best balance of compute density and workload optimization within fixed power and space constraints," she added.

Check Point looks into emerging network threats

Malware, ransomware and corrupted Word documents, PDFs and other system files are the new tools of hackers and phishing scammers, according to a recent threat assessment report from Check Point Software Technologies. The vendor based its report on data collected by event management appliances, including its ThreatCloud device that's installed on client networks.

"When we take a look at the outcomes of all these indicators, problems around malware and problems around bad app use aren't getting better," said Avi Rembaum, Check Point's vice president of security solutions. In fact, the problems may be getting worse, with malware volumes rising from three years ago. Signature-based antivirus software can't spot unfamiliar malware; in the meantime, unknown malware is downloaded every four seconds.

According to Rembaum, the report indicates that as much as 30% of malware files are in fact executable files. Executables are blocked at many companies, so hackers are resorting to trusted file formats like Word and PDF -- up to 10% of attacks now originate with Word, Rembaum said. With tablet ownership up 1700% from four years ago and soaring mobile usage, mobile attacks are on the rise as well.

"As we look at the results of the research, it's becoming clearer and clearer that companies need to shift to a protect-first or prevent-first approach," Rembaum said. "One in five mobile devices [are] affected [by malware]." With plenty of financial incentives for its use, ransomware is incredibly popular with hackers, ranking in the top 10 forms of malware and targeting more and more types of victims. "Ransomware will not shrink," Rembaum added.

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