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WLAN administration challenges and how to tackle them

Bloggers examine educational WLAN administration, the launch of a new Cumulus virtual lab and challenges in security analysis.

This week, as schools and universities began fall classes, Lee Badman used his WiredNot blog to discuss WLAN administration...

in the education arena. According to Badman, WLAN administration for education is particularly challenging because of the sudden increase in demand for connectivity when students return to school, often joining the network through a loose BYOD policy.

Badman cited a list of items university network administrators should follow as classes get back into full swing. Among them, networks need to be stable. "We stop making any significant network changes almost a full month ahead of the opening period, and rely heavily on the quality of the underlying code," he wrote.

The university network must also be able to scale, and it must be predictable. At Badman's institution, the network will serve almost 30,000 simultaneous users from more than 4,000 access points. That's a lot of traffic to manage.

Additionally, IT teams must focus on performance and easy-to-use features -- particularly in education, where many students need to be onboarded to a secure network in a short span of time.

"Part of our annual exercise is also realizing that big numbers on graphs may not reflect that our clients are really and truly using the network in ways now -- as they get settled on campus -- like they will a week from now. As it is every year, vigilance follows getting to our big numbers," said Badman.

Read more of Badman's thoughts on educational WLAN administration.

Cumulus launches virtual lab and container management system

Drew Conry-Murray, writing in Packet Pushers, explored Cumulus Networks' launch of a new virtual lab system, along with Host Pack software for managing containers. According to Conry-Murray, the vendor launched Cumulus in the Cloud as a virtual lab designed to mimic a twin-rack leaf-spine network. The vendor assembled a prebuilt test environment to speed testing for customers, sparing them the time necessary to set up a custom test environment.

The launch coincides with the deployment of Host Pack, a bundle of software built around the vendor's NetQ network telemetry and Cumulus Linux to host containers. The new offering, designed to run on a server and provide a routing stack, supports both Docker containers and Docker Swarm. It will add Apache Mesos support in the fall of 2017. NetQ is intended to improve container visibility, displaying connections between containers and physical switches. Host Pack costs $1,000 for each license -- a fee that also covers a year of support.

Dig deeper into Conry-Murray's thoughts on Cumulus.

Overcoming security analysis challenges

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., said most organizations face significant challenges with security monitoring and analysis. A recent ESG study, encompassing 412 IT professionals, found that 30% of respondents struggled with total cost of ownership, as organizations spend large sums on security without marked improvements.

Nearly a quarter of respondents cited a lack of tools and processes, lack of skills or the rapid addition of new applications and network hosts as factors complicating their security strategies. Close to 30% of respondents also lamented the time their security operations center teams had to focus on high-priority emergencies, leaving less time for strategizing.

"When it comes to cybersec operations, many organizations suffer from 'death by a thousand cuts' syndrome with multiple issues across people, processes and technologies," Oltsik wrote. "Given this, CISOs [chief information security officers] should think in terms of 3-year strategic security operations planning rather than adding the latest next-generation security tool and only exacerbating operational inefficiencies," he added.

Explore more of Oltsik's thoughts on security analysis.

Next Steps

WLAN management tools for enterprises

Google's focus on software container management

What to know about setting up SOC

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