Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Symantec Data Insight 4.5 Overview

Symantec recently released version 4.5 of their Data Insight product.  In a nutshell, Symantec Data Insight allows an organization to:

  • Identify who works with and owns their data
  • Understand what unstructured data they have
  • Maintain regulatory compliance for information access, use and retention
  • Ensure information is protected from exposure to unauthorized individuals
  • Review permissions on data and suggest changes

What’s New?

  • Self-service portal allows data owners to remediate incidents directly without necessarily involving IT.
  • Reporting enhancements
  • Deep integration with Symantec Enterprise Vault and Symantec Data Loss Prevention
    • Data Insight can infer ownership of a file and then add that intelligence to Symantec DLP
    • Allows you to utilise Symantec EV’s file archiving and retention management capabilities when remediating incidents

To sum it all up, if you need to reduce the effort you spend on securing your data, enhance your data protection levels as well as achieve / prove compliance then Symantec Data Insight will go a long way to assist you in achieving those goals.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Customer Service Rules

I've spent the last decade of my career dealing with customers, both directly and indirectly.  I've made my fair share of mistakes, and I also did a lot of things right.  Whilst I still have a lot to learn about customer service (I am technical, not sales after all) I also have some rules that I believe one should unflinchingly abide by.  These are, in no particular order:

  1. Never lie.  Not to your customers, not to your colleagues, not to anyone.
  2. If you make a mistake, be accountable.  Everyone makes mistakes and most people of worth respect and appreciate honesty.
  3. The quickest way to lose the respect of your peers and customers is to point fingers and trying to apportion blame.
  4. Get to know your customer and their business.
  5. Listen.  Understand the problem from the customer's point of view, not just a technical one.
  6. You expect to be paid like a professional, so act like one.  Do not become too "friendly" with the customer and do not swear in front of them. Ever.
  7. "It's not my problem" does not exist in your vocabulary.  If it's not within your domain then help the customer resolve it by roping in someone who can.
  8. Always notify the customer when you are about to make changes.  E-Mail is only sufficient if the customer acknowledges the mail, otherwise follow up with a phone call.
  9. Only stick to the communicated changes.  If you tell the customer you're rebooting the mail server, do not reboot the file server as well.
  10. In that vein, always make sure your customer does not get caught by surprise by always communicating updates.
  11. Stick to your appointments - if you say will show up at 9 then you show up at 9.  If you can't then you let the customer know in advance via a phone call - e-mail is not acceptable.
  12. Share your knowledge with the customer.  This will not make you redundant, it will allow you to provide value further up the chain.
  13. You exist to serve the customer and their needs (within reason).
  14. Speak to your customers often, no less than once a month.  In the services industry "Out of sight, out of mind" holds very true.
  15. Always protect yourself, the customer and your relationship by agreeing on things up front.  This includes costs, scope of work and handover / success criteria.  Do not negotiate these after the fact.
  16. Whenever possible work for and with people you respect. When you do, even the stressful times are easier to deal with.
  17. Pre-sales is an art, and the paint brush is 'why.'  Keep asking until you get to the root.
  18. Never, ever, bad-mouth another customer or vendor in front of a customer.  Always focus on and sell your strengths.
  19. Lastly, no-one who ever bought a drill needed a drill...they needed to make a hole.  I cannot stress enough how important this concept is.

H323 traffic failing to traverse a Fortigate firewall

Had a scenario recently where a Polycom video conferencing device just wouldn’t work when sat behind a Fortigate firewall.  This was despite all the necessary TCP ports being forwarded to the device, as verified by Polycom support.

What we were seeing is that one could dial the VC but it would just ring and never make the connection.  Time to debug the traffic on the Fortigate – this is what I saw:

id=13 trace_id=74 msg="vd-root received a packet(proto=6, x.x.x.x:1720->x.x.x.x:63665) from lan."
id=13 trace_id=74 msg="Find an existing session, id-02237475, reply direction"
id=13 trace_id=74 msg="SNAT x.x.x.x->x.x.x.x:1720"
id=13 trace_id=74 msg="run helper-h323(dir=reply)"

The “run helper” sequence kicked in as soon as one attempted to pick up the call on the VC.  In Polycom’s case they suggest explicitly disabling any h323 helpers, so that is exactly what I did.  I did it like so:

  1. From the cli, execute “config system session-helper”.  This will give you the following output (below is redacted)
    edit 2
            set name h323
            set port 1720
            set protocol 6
        edit 13
            set name sip
            set port 5060
            set protocol 17
  2. Now delete these helpers by executing
    config system session-helper
    delete 2
    delete 13
  3. Enter the following commands:
    config system settings
    set sip-helper disable
    set sip-nat-trace disable
  4. Lastly we disable RTP processing:
    config voip profile
    edit default
    config sip
    set rtp disable

Your h323 and SIP traffic should now traverse your Fortigate without issue.  In my experience this has only happened with Polycom devices, Microsoft Lync works fine without modification.