Mako Networks makes network management easy

Network management specialist Mako Networks has sold its system to Telecom New Zealand Ltd. integrator Gen-i for inclusion in its network management solution, Secure Me.

"The whole emphasis of the system is on empowering the end-user," says Bill Farmer, CEO of Mako Networks. "We have seriously simplified a whole bunch of processes because everything is centrally managed."

The solution is particularly targeted at small to medium-sized businesses.

Mako (formerly Yellow Tuna) manages the system through its web services, and talks directly to the device placed on the end-user's premises. The end-users logs on to Mako's website for real time information about what is going on in their network, and to make changes to policies and rules.

The system also makes it easy to create VPNs, says Farmer.

The blessing of broadband has a dark side. Because it is always on, there is plenty of time for malicious attacks from hackers and viruses, says Farmer. In addition, businesses today have a real problem with cyberslacking -- employee abuse of the internet, he says.

"Downloading films and music takes up company bandwidth and slows down legitimate traffic. For example, you don't want people downloading a whole pile of MP3s when you are trying to talk to clients using VOIP."

Farmer says that when businesses go from dial-up to broadband, quite often they don't realize that staff will spend up to 20% of their time not doing what they are meant to be doing.

From the staff's point of view, a monitoring and reporting system could be seen as intrusive, and as a sign of lack of trust from the employer.

"It's not a big brother's watching-system," Farmer claims. "Businesses are entitled to have their network connection used for what the businesses buy it for. We don't look at the content of people's emails or the content of the websites they go to, but we sit down and say 'these PCs have been to these places'."

Auckland-based graphic design agency Visual New Media has used Secure Me for a year.

"We were having issues with unauthorized usage of the network, we were hit with over-the-cap charges, and we had the odd worm creeping on the network," says Damien McDonald, managing director of Visual New Media.

Previously, the company ran the standard, Telecom ADSL router.

McDonald says the solution is slightly more expensive than other ones on the market, but considering the benefits, it is worth it.

"I would say that the solution we have now probably paid for it self in three months, if you think about the fact that we can track a worm down to a particular computer. The system locks the worm out immediately if it recognizes the particular worm," he says.

A subscription to Secure Me costs NZ$249.95 (US$165) a month on the Telecom bill.

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