Traditional firewalls that had UTM-type functionality (e.g. Web filtering, Intrusion Prevention, Antivirus) often suffered from poor performance; low throughput, latency and inconsistent accuracy. As firewall technology evolved, as did the performance and scanning capabilities. The Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) term was coined to define a firewall that met the following criteria: Read more
APT (Advanced Persistent Threats) are consistently covered in the press and on social media. Not a week goes by without some form of data breach or hactivist-type event being reported. Many do not understand what an APT, never mind how it can impact their business. Read more
“it is clear traditional signature-based anti-malware solutions are increasingly ineffective”. This comment by Neil MacDonald of Gartner spells out the problem many enterprises face. If antivirus is no longer deemed effective, then what steps can an enterprise take to protect themselves against malware and viruses? Read more
The IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) is a solution MTG regularly deploy for our clients at their network edge. The IPS has its place for any organisation that does business online and our deployments include solutions in financial services, service provider, banking and healthcare environments. What we frequently find is how many businesses do not understand the role of an IPS, and for those that do – they believe an IPS is only used in highly secure environments or by businesses who are constantly under the threat of attack (which, with opportunists – is every business on the internet).
Is antivirus software still relevant?
In a 2014 study by LastLine Labs, much of the newly released Malware went undetected by nearly half of the leading antivirus vendors. This is a worrying fact, especially given how many businesses rely solely on antivirus as their only form of defence! A general recommendation is a defence-in-depth approach, and an IPS is a key component of that strategy.
What is an IPS?
In brief, an IPS is a system that tries to identify threats and attacks through a combination of pattern recognition, anomalous behaviour and traffic signatures. MTG predominantly implement IPS solutions at the network edge, so in the context of IPS – the systems scan all inbound and outbound network traffic, trying to spot potential attacks or behaviour that typically proceeds any attack (e.g. network enumeration).
Fortinet describes an IPS as:
a technology protects networks from both known and unknown threats, blocking attacks that might otherwise take advantage of network vulnerabilities and unpatched systems.
FortiGate® IPS technology leverages a database of thousands of unique attack signatures to stop attacks that might evade conventional firewall defenses, plus anomaly-based detection that enables the system to recognize threats for which no signature has yet
How does an IPS defend the enterprise?
You may ask if your business has antivirus, then what sort of malware/attacks can an IPS prevent? The key thing to emphasise here is not every attack or exploit can be classified as a virus. Often antivirus can kick in after the horse has bolted – which is often too late.
Some examples of an IPS:
- Someone on the internet has opened 1000s of connections to your mail server. If this was to continue, the mail server would be starved of resources and be unable to function. An IPS would detect this anomalous behaviour and block the attacker.
- A user has browser to a website that is trying to instantiate the Adobe PDF viewer in a malicious fashion, the IPS blocks this.
- An attack is scanning your IP range, the IPS identifies this behaviour as an enumeration attempt, assumes ill intent – and blocks the attacker.
- A malicious web request is sent to your website, this specially crafted request is designed to exploit your web server, this is identified and blocked.
Furthermore, leading IPS systems are linked to the Cloud, this link provides shared intelligence and a centralised threat resource. If an attack is experienced in the UK and the signature is well known, then this same signature can be distributed to other IPS systems.
The Fortinet IPS systems has several thousand pre-build signatures that are constantly updated. If your business has its own web application or portal, then a Custom signature can be written to help safeguard your system.
- When someone logs into your financial services portal, if they get their password wrong, the browser responds with “Error 2301 – Password incorrect”
- An IPS can log the number of this occurrences per IP address, if that exceeds a threshold, it will block the IP on the firewall!
- MTG typically deploy an IPS system as part of a firewall security solution.
- An IPS will scan traffic in real-time.
- This provides comprehensive security controls that compliment the security provided by antivirus and firewall solutions.
- An IPS protects against a whole range of attacks, not just viruses.
- The IPS can be installed on LAN or DMZ segments, alongside existing firewall environments.
Your business must plan to protect against all threats; not just current threats, but all threats, known and unknown. Speak to MTG about how an IPS can enhance the security within your enterprise.
As an Island, the Isle of Man is unique in the fact it is home to six datacentres*.
This makes the Isle of Man the number one location for hosting your mission critical IT assets.
Each datacentre boasts high speed connectivity, resilient power, cooling and security systems. In alphabetical order (provider/datacentre):
- Continent8 – Isle of Man DC
- Domicilium – Ronaldsway
- Manx-Telecom – Douglas North
- Manx-Telecom – Greenhill
- Netcetera – The Dataport
- Wi-Manx – Heywood House
* I would define a datacentre as a facility with in excess of 50 racks capacity. It must also have the typical infrastructure components (fire suppression, UPS, generators, security, etc). Many Isle of Man ISPs and network operators have Points of Presence but they are out of scope for this article.
You can view the specification and service offerings of each provider on their respective websites.
There is one underlying feature across all the datacentres, they all benefit from the Isle of Man’s robust power and communications infrastructure. The Isle of Man Government, known for its “can-do” approach to business, provides the right environment for E-business to flourish. It is no coincidence the Isle of Man is home to some of the world’s leading banks, financial services firms, e-gaming websites and digital currency startups.
A wealth of choice
The fact the Island has five datacentre operators (and six datacentres) provides the customer with a wealth of choice. It gives them the power to evaluate each operators technical and commercial proposition, whilst Cloud technology presents the opportunity to spread their solution across multiple datacentres, delivering unparalleled resilience.
Each datacentre (and operator) has their own particular strengths and USPs, and their own service portfolio and commercial model.
Typical services include:
- Colocation (IaaS)
- Dedicated Servers
- Cloud and Virtualisation
- Platform services (PaaS)
- Online backup and DR
- Managed services
- Network connectivity, WAN services and IP Transit
Navigate the market
MTG have over a decade of experience working with clients who have opted to locate their infrastructure in the Island’s datacentres. Our customers include established Isle of Man businesses, alongside UK, European and international businesses.
Whether you have a new hosting requirement, or are contemplating a change in your existing hosting arrangements, ServiceTech can help. We can provide the following services:
- Understanding your business, regulatory and technical requirements
- Evaluating each vendor and hosting facility
- Formulating a tender or RFP relating to your project
- Approaching each vendor, arranging tours and commercial proposals
- Evaluating bids and proposed solutions
- Contract and solution management
- Hardware procurement, technical build and ongoing service management
Our expertise in hosting, networking, telecoms and the Isle of Man market, all ensure you will benefit from our vast experience in this field. Our experience extends to the following verticals; e-gaming, financial services, biomed, digital currencies, startups and energy companies. Our technical experience covers a broad range of scenarios including e-commerce platforms, VDI, private cloud, DR/BCP, replication and high density commute.
Speak to the Isle of Man datacentre experts
Contact MTG today to see how your business can benefit from our experience in the Isle of Man hosting market. Whether you want to review your existing arrangements for budgetary reasons or you want to evaluate your existing technical environment – we can help.
Call us on +44 1624 640400 or e-mail email@example.com