Physical Security is First Line of Defense Against Network and Equipment Threats

Former student destroys 59 university computers using USB Killer device. This was the latest headline in tech magazines about damage to computer equipment, caused by someone gaining access to an open port on equipment. This incident cost The College of Saint Rose in New York nearly $60,000 in equipment and the labor to replace. Whether it is destroyed equipment or data breaches, open ports on equipment are costly for institutions of all shapes and sizes.

Fortunately, it is easy – and inexpensive – to prevent these types of activities.

Physical security is easy to overlook when IT departments look at information security, but it is often the easiest and best place to start, forming a first line of defense against malicious activity. Access control measures, including locked doors on server rooms and telecommunication closets, and even locked cabinets or tamper resistant faceplates are a great place to start. However, that won’t stop a disgruntled employee – or student, in the example article above – from doing significant damage to computers, monitors, or any device that has an open port.

A simple fix is to block those ports to anyone who shouldn’t have access. Because many peripheral devices connect to computers via USB drives (think headsets, printers, wireless mouse, and more), virtually every computer has at least one USB port. When those ports aren’t in use, especially on equipment that is easy for many people to access, a USB block-out blocks the port and can’t be removed without a removal key. This solution costs just a few dollars per port, and prevents incidents like the headline above, where the student used a “USB Killer” device to render thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment unusable. Similar to a lock on a door, it may not keep every thief out, but will encourage most of them to move on and look for an easier target elsewhere.

USB ports aren’t the only ports that can be protected. Panduit offers block-out devices for USB ports, RJ45 copper jacks, and LC duplex fiber adapters, and lock-in devices to secure patch cords or plugs in RJ45 jacks.

Learn more about Panduit’s physical security solution in our Network Infrastructure Security Solution brochure. Or better yet, try it for yourself! Request a free sample of our USB block-out and we’ll send you one of our current block-outs to try. Wherever you use it, that’s one fewer open port in your facility, and one less opportunity for malicious activity. Register here for your sample and let us know what you think.

And, be on the lookout for a new USB block-out that will be hitting shelves soon, with a smaller form factor that sits flush with the device, making it ideal for laptops and other applications.

New Lab Delivers Best Practices for AV Deployment

World Laboratory Day is observed on April 23 each year and the timing couldn’t be better to announce the opening of Panduit’s new Audio-Visual Lab. Panduit has a long history of providing superior category cabling solutions for enterprise applications. We are able to offer our customers the best infrastructure solutions for their networks, thanks to the breadth of our expertise. Customers can rely on Panduit as a trusted advisor covering all aspects from installation, testing, industry standards, network topologies, along with the performance and capabilities of the infrastructure deployed.

With the acquisition of Atlona a few months ago, Panduit can now be that trusted advisor for emerging audio visual (AV) applications that make their way onto ethernet networks. Combining Panduit’s existing expertise with Atlona’s AV expertise, we can now give our customers a unique end-to-end perspective covering all aspects of an AV solution. To realize the benefits of our combined expertise, we have built a new research lab at the Jack E. Caveney Innovation Center. The lab was developed with three key objectives:

  1. Leverage our expertise of infrastructure and networking in AV over IP applications using Atlona’s industry-leading OmniStream solution
  2. Create an environment to understand the best practices for configuration and deployment of Atlona hardware on ethernet networks
  3. Enable competitive testing of AV infrastructure as well as alternate networked AV solutions

From these objectives, we defined key areas of focus for various AV technologies and set about to develop a site with all the necessary equipment, infrastructure, and hardware needed for a world-class lab. 

For AV over IP applications, we will have the ability to explore aspects such as network topology, infrastructure, congestion, and redundancy. The lab will consist of a highly configurable network topology to emulate real world local area network (LAN), core campus, and wide area network (WAN) configurations. A diverse array of cabling infrastructure is being installed to allow networks to be connected with either Category 5e, 6, or 6A in unshielded or shielded applications. Each cabling option will also be available in worst case configurations covering maximum and minimum four connector channel lengths per Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) guidelines. We will have the ability to evaluate the impact of network congestion on AV traffic when it is converging with other ethernet traffic such as email, voice, and web. For redundant network applications, we will be able to study the impact of various network failure modes on AV traffic. From this type of experimentation, we will be able to provide our customers with a detailed understanding of an AV network’s capabilities, along with recommendations and best practices for equipment configuration and infrastructure deployment.

Along with studying the various use cases of AV over IP and deployment options, the lab will have the ability to test other emerging Enterprise applications in the future. For this reason, the lab is known as EARL, or Enterprise Application Research Lab.

With the knowledge and insight gained from EARL, we can provide the best customer experience and guidance based on a cohesive Enterprise solution.

Earth Day 2019: Your Infrastructure can Help your Building Reduce its Environmental Impact

On Earth Day, environmental sustainability becomes a hot topic. But, the environmental impact of a building is around every day, and there are things you can do to lessen that environmental impact 24/7/365.

At Panduit, we do more than just talk about sustainability. Our world headquarters, which will celebrate its tenth birthday next year, is a LEED Gold Certified building and is just one example of our commitment to healthy, energy efficient, and sustainable business environments.

We can help you achieve that LEED certification as well. Panduit copper cable and jacks hold Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs), which contribute points towards your building’s LEED certification.

A couple of years ago the US Green Building Council adopted LEED version 4, which allows cabling systems to be counted toward LEED points. In response, Panduit was the first manufacturer to offer both EPDs and HPDs on copper cabling and connectors.

If you’re thinking about LEED certification, here’s what you need to know to make sure your cabling infrastructure can help:

EPD and HPD defined

  • EPD = Environmental Product Declaration
  • HPD = Health Product Declaration

EPDs and HPDs are both issued by a third party after they verify reports supplied by the manufacturer. EPDs disclose potential environmental impacts of a product, while HPDs disclose what a product contains and how it impacts human and ecological health.

What products carry EPDs and HPDs

A wide variety of materials used in the construction of buildings carry these declarations. Panduit has EPDs and HPDs on 18 types of RJ45 jacks and 22 different copper cables. This offering includes:

  • Unshielded and shielded applications
  • Category 5e, Category 6, and Category 6A
  • Riser and plenum flame ratings

How EPDs and HPDs equal LEED points

LEED requires the installation of at least 20 different products that have third-party certification to qualify for one LEED point. These products must be from at least five different manufacturers. So, when you install at least four different certified products from Panduit, that counts as one portion of one point for EPD and one portion of a second point for HPD. Different levels of LEED certification require different numbers of points to qualify. Our alliance partner, General Cable, also offers EPDs and HPDs on their cabling solutions, so if you use a PanGen solution, it equals a second manufacturer toward the requirement to have five different manufacturers.

Not all cabling and connectors are equal

Panduit is one of a handful of cabling manufacturers that have EPDs and HPDs on copper cabling and RJ45 jacks. So, if you’re looking for an end-to-end solution that can help you earn LEED certification, Panduit is a great choice!

We’d be happy to share more information on our EPDs and HPDs. You can find links to our EPD and HPD documents bundled with each product. For instance, here are the EPD and HPD for our Category 6A, unshielded Mini-Com® jacks. You’ll find similar documentation for other products in our online catalog at www.panduit.com. Or, reach out to your sales rep or customer service for more information.

We like to help companies do their part to help sustain the environment, and not just on Earth Day!