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Keep talking to your customers

9 August 2013 NetFort Blog By: Darragh Delaney
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Top Tip from NetFort CEO – Keep Talking to your Customers

When we started NetFort 10 years ago, one of our primary objectives was (and still is) to keep in close contact with our customers. It’s not that easy, takes focus, effort and time but it is definitely worth it. All to easy these days to overuse email, twitter, forums, etc. I always like meeting users face to face, everybody wins, builds relationships  and it’s a lot more fun.  Regular telephone calls also work well and are a lot better than using email. As well as the obvious benefits like customer retention, upsell, referrals, building  reputation and helping to develop the LANGuardian roadmap and future products, it also helps us develop our messaging.

We had a really good example of this recently, I was having a chat with a UK customer and he mentioned that he had given a presentation on our product, the LANGuardian, at a regional user group. I’m not too sure how many were at the meeting, but as a result of his presentation we secured 5 new customers, a result for sure and we did not even attend as we did not even know about the event.

While obviously we were delighted with 5 new customers, I was more interested in the presentation the customer gave as the content was prepared by the customer with no help from Netfort.  I was delighted to receive a copy of his presentation a few days later in my inbox with the title Network Usage Monitoring.  Wow, no mention of DPI (Deep Packet Inspection), traffic analysis, application recognition, network forensics, visibility, users, etc, simply network usage monitoring.

So what is Network Usage Monitoring ? Why is it important? Well according to this customer, his key requirements include:

  • Enable effective management of their Primary connection
  • Meet organisations security responsibilities
  • Identify threats and vulnerabilities
  • Effective investigation of incidents both technical and security
  • Deliver reporting on utilisation and traffic characteristics
  • Ability to collect network traffic from various locations within the network and perform Deep Packet Inspection
  • Ability to collect Netflow from Cisco routers
  • Ability to monitor internal traffic, NOT just at the edge
  • Network troubleshooting
  • Capacity planning
  • Find out what users are doing on my network

Then, he described the solution he selected and was recommending, the Netfort  LANGuardian in his words:

  • Network and user activity tool
  • Captures traffic, via sensors, and performs deep packet inspection (and IDS, intrusion detection)
  • Uses live and historic data
  • Number of sensors including
  • Local (e.g. mirror port from LAN switch directly connected to LANGuardian)
  • NetFlow from routers

Finally he listed some recent use cases:

  • Individual users generating large volume of traffic in short periods
  • Individual users generating large volume of traffic over long periods
  • Unusual traffic patterns (mis-configured or malicious)
  • Capture traffic to identify mis-configured applications
  • Traffic routing
  • Capture traffic to be used as evidence in unacceptable use investigations
  • Capture traffic to perform forensics and progress security investigations
  • Non business applications consuming resources, bandwidth

Definitely one of the best Netfort LANGuardian presentation’s I have seen, probably because we had not got involved and the customer worked it out for himself! Good job we decided way back to always look after our customers, to always keep in touch, to talk to them, ask questions and to listen.

John Brosnan