Frequently Asked Questions: The E-rate Program

While we’ve explained the ins and outs of the E-rate program during the five-part SonicWall E-rate Fear Less series, we wanted to use the final episode to explore the common questions about the E-rate program itself and how SonicWall cyber security solutions may be funded via the program.

Episode Five: E-rate Fear Less Series Q&A

Holly Davis interviews SonicWall software business development director John Mullen.

The final video in our five-part series explores these common E-rate program questions:

  • Why SonicWall for the K12 Environment?
  • What is SonicWall Capture ATP?
  • Why would SonicWall Capture ATP sandboxing be necessary for K12?
  • What is SonicWall SECaaS?
  • Does E-rate fund firewalls in their entirety?
  • Is Capture ATP funded by the E-rate program?
  • Is SECaaS funded by the E-rate program?
  • How do I get started with the E-rate program?
  • Where can we find additional resources about the E-rate program?

What technology is eligible for funding the E-rate program?

To help offset funding and staffing shortages, the U.S. Department of Education and the FCC launched the E-rate program, which helps make telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools, campuses, districts and libraries.

The E-rate program is operated by Universal Service Administration Company (USAC), which has a core focus of providing underfunded verticals the access to affordable technology and security services. This includes schools, libraries, rural healthcare organizations and more.

USAC provides a yearly Eligible Services List (ESL), which outlines which types of products and services can be procured via E-rate program discounts.

SonicWall and E-rate

With the most comprehensive channel program in the industry, combined with additional E-rate discounts, SonicWall and our partners are best positioned to meet the needs of K12 customers and help them take full advantage of the funding E-rate provides for securing their networks.

Through its global channel of more than 24,000 technology partners, SonicWall is actively involved in helping K12 education organizations cost-effectively obtain and deploy network security solutions. SonicWall provides a broad array of E-rate-eligible products and services, including firewalls and turnkey Security-as-a-Service solutions.

If you are an eligible K12 organization, please contact your preferred SonicWall reseller for information on E-rate benefits and discounts, or visit the SonicWall E-rate page for information, tools and guidance.

New Cyber Threat Intelligence Shows Growing Malware Volume, Encrypted Attacks

The latest cyberattack data from SonicWall shows increases across the board for global malware, ransomware, TLS/SSL encrypted attacks and intrusion attempts.

Highlighting these new findings, the SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection sandbox, with Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMITM), discovered 1,099 new malware variants each day in April.

This cyber threat intelligence, which is available in the SonicWall Security Center, maps the behavior of cybercriminals and the tactics they employ to breach the networks of businesses and organizations across the world.

Globally, the SonicWall Capture Threat Network, which includes more than 1 million sensors across the world, recorded the following 2018 year-to-date attack data:

  • 4,050,797,027 malware attacks (152 percent increase from 2017)
  • 1,233,667,979,688 intrusion attempts (67 percent increase)
  • 132,266,265 ransomware attacks (426 percent increase)
  • 914,975 instances of malware using SSL/TLS encryption (351 percent increase)

Breaking this down to the customer level, in April 2018 alone, the average SonicWall customer faced:

  • 2,254 malware attacks (95 percent increase from April 2017)
  • 78 ransomware attacks (343 percent increase)
  • 73 encrypted threats
  • 10 phishing attacks each day

1,099 new malware variants discovered by Capture ATP each day

Stop cyberattacks in memory

Included with Capture ATP, SonicWall’s patent-pending RTDMI technology catches more malware than behavior-based sandboxing methods, with a lower false positive rate. In 2018, RTDMI has discovered more than 5,000 never-before-seen malware variants — attacks likely missed by competing signature-based offerings.

First announced in February 2018, RTDMI technology is used by the SonicWall Capture Cloud Platform to identify and mitigate even the most insidious cyber threats, including memory-based attacks. RTDMI proactively detects and blocks unknown mass-market malware — including malicious PDFs and attacks leveraging Microsoft Office documents — via deep memory inspection in real time.

The 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report advises that cybercriminals will continue to leverage users’ trust in PDFs and Microsoft Office applications (which represented five of the top 10 attacked applications of 2017). Because of obfuscation techniques, many legacy firewalls and anti-virus solutions are unable to effectively identify and mitigate PDFs or Microsoft Office file types that contain malicious content.

 

Cyber Security News & Trends

Each week, SonicWall collects the cyber security industry’s most compelling, trending and important interviews, media and news stories — just for you.


SonicWall Spotlight

Real-Time Cyber Threat Intelligence Is More Critical Than Ever Forbes

  • SonicWall CEO Bill Conner discusses the importance of organizations utilizing real-time cyber threat intelligence as the cybersecurity landscape grows increasingly dangerous.

SonicWall Splits from Quest, Surpasses Financial Objectives Dark Reading

  • Dark Reading breaks down SonicWall’s recent momentum announcement, touching on the company’s newfound financial and operational independence, as well as innovations on the partner and customer front

SonicWall Boasts 60% YOY Partner Deal-Registration Increase Channel Partners

  • Due to SonicWall’s recent announcement, the company is featured for its success in the channel with the SecureFirst program which enabled partner deal registrations to hit a year-over-year increase of 60 percent.

Cyber Security News

VPNFilter Malware With Bricking Capabilities Poses Major Threat After Infecting 500,000+ Networking Devices SC Magazine

  • A potentially highly-destructive malware is estimated to have infected at least 500,000 networking devices in at least 54 countries since as far back as 2016, in what could be the prelude to a massive attack potentially capable of cutting off the internet from hundreds of thousands around the world.

U.S. Launches Criminal Probe into Bitcoin Price Manipulation Bloomberg

  • The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether traders are manipulating the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, dramatically ratcheting up U.S. scrutiny of red-hot markets that critics say are rife with misconduct, according to four people familiar with the matter.

UK Threatens to Name and Shame State Backers of Cyber-attacks The Guardian

  • In a speech referring to Russian and North Korean “campaigns of intrusion”, Jeremy Wright QC called for international sanctions to be applied against countries that exploit cyberspace for illegal purposes.

Cyber Amendments to Watch in the House’s Defense Authorization Bill Nextgov

  • The House Rules Committee is considering more than a dozen cyber-focused amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass policy bill.

Intel Responds to Spectre-Like Flaw in CPUs Threat Post

  • Intel acknowledged that its processors are vulnerable to another dangerous speculative execution side channel flaw that could give attackers unauthorized read access to memory.

In Case You Missed It


Upcoming Webinars & Events

May 30
Webinar
11 a.m. PDT
Identify and Stop Malware in the Quickest and Most Accurate Way Possible
> Register Now

June 4
Webinar
1 a.m. PDT
Technical Deep Dive – Securing Office 365 with SonicWall Email Security
> Register Now

Cyber Security News & Trends

Each week, SonicWall collects the cyber security industry’s most compelling, trending and important interviews, media and news stories — just for you.


SonicWall Spotlight

New DHS National Cybersecurity Framework Sets Goals, Milestones — MSSP Alert

  • As a result of the recent elimination of the White House cybersecurity coordinator role, SonicWall CEO Bill Conner is featured for his perspective and insight into what the move implies for the future of cybersecurity policy.

SonicWall Pushes Capture Cloud Platform with Endpoint Security — Chinabyte.com

  • SonicWall’s recent updates including the company’s new Capture Cloud Platform, enhanced RTDMI technology and more are featured in this article.

Cybersecurity Sourcebook 2018 Looks at Evolving Data Threat Landscape — Database Trends & Applications

  • This article explains the serious need to safeguard data using key SonicWall threat data. Specifically, they’ve included stats sharing that cyberattacks are becoming the number-one risk to businesses, brands, operations, and financials, and that there were 9.32 billion malware attacks in total in 2017, representing an 18.4% increase over 2016.

Cyber Security News

Brutal Cryptocurrency Malware Crashes Your PC When Discovered — ZDNet

  • The malware, dubbed WinstarNssmMiner by 360 Total Security researchers, has been used in half a million attempted attacks leveraged at PCs in only three days.

What Makes ZTE a Cybersecurity Threat? Congress Wants to Know — CNET

  • Congress wants a detailed explanation on what cybersecurity threats the Chinese phone company poses.

Mexico Central Bank Says Hackers Siphoned $15 Million from Five Companies — Reuters

  • Mexico’s central bank said on Wednesday that a cyber attack had sucked around 300 million pesos ($15.33 million) in fraudulent transfers from five companies, but it was unclear how much thieves had managed to pull out in cash.

Former CIA Software Engineer ID’ed as Suspect in Vault 7 Leaks — SC Magazine

  • The former CIA software engineer believed to have leaked the CIA’s Vault 7 hacking tools is already behind bars at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, after being indicted for possessing child pornography.

DHS Issues More Medical Device Cybersecurity Alerts — GovInfo Security

  • The Department of Homeland Security has yet again issued a warning about cybersecurity vulnerabilities in medical devices. These warnings have come after independent researchers, or the companies themselves, have reported the problems.

Cybersecurity Whistleblowers are Growing Corporate Challenge — The Wall Street Journal

  • Signals from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over how seriously it takes cybersecurity, combined with a Supreme Court ruling on whistleblower protections, are putting pressure on companies to be more careful about how they deal with potential tipsters, lawyers say

In Case You Missed It


 

 

The E-rate ‘Fear Less’ Technology Infrastructure

Before you begin the RFP process, it’s important to explore the technology infrastructure (specifically what’s eligible in Category Two) as defined within the E-rate program by Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) and how each relates to the E-rate funding process.

Episode 4: The E-rate Fear Less Technology Infrastructure

On the fourth episode of the E-rate Fear Less series, Holly Davis dives further into the program and reviews other options school districts have in building a secure, future-proof network with the E-rate program.

At a high level, E-rate Category Two technology in three primary pillars. Category Two components are those that relate to cyber security solutions, hardware, software and other services. For more details about E-rate categories, please review the 2019 Eligible Services List (PDF).

Technology Function
Broadband Internal Connections (IC)On-premise solution internally managed; equipment may be owned or leased.
Managed Internal Broadband Services (MIBS)Managed service solution owned, leased or hosted in the cloud.
Basic Maintenance
of Broadband Internal Connections
Support for the IC solution.
Source: 2019 Eligible Services List (PDF)

E-rate Category 2 technology funding with SonicWall

School and campus networks range in size and manage different types of sensitive data. Mitigating potential weak points in the network — and the data that can be targeted — is no easy task for standard IT teams that haven’t undergone extensive cyber security training. SonicWall network and cyber security solutions meet the needs of school districts at the highest efficacy — all at price points that fit within K-12 budgets.

If you are utilizing E-rate funding to assist you in buying your networking and cyber security solutions, SonicWall can help. Our team of E-rate funding experts ensure your SonicWall solution aligns with the rules and regulations of the E-rate program.

SonicWall Security as a Service (SECaaS) is an alternative solution for schools that do not have a large capital outlay to invest in a future-proof security solution or a dedicated IT team trained to manage cyber security.

“Security-as-a-Service provides more flexibility,” said Jenna Burros, Director of Business Services, at the Calistoga Joint Unified School District in California. “It is such an improvement to be able to have enough control to differentiate various levels of accessibility.”

Under Burros’ guidance, the California school district upgraded the flexibility and granularity of its existing content-filtering solution, while also keeping costs at minimum — a key obstacle for K-12 organizations regardless of E-rate eligibility.

With the most comprehensive channel program in the industry, combined with additional E-rate discounts, SonicWall and its partners are best positioned to meet the needs of K-12 customers and help them take full advantage of the funding E-rate provides for securing their networks.

If you are an eligible K-12 organization, please contact your preferred SonicWall reseller for information on E-rate benefits and discounts, or visit the SonicWall E-rate page for information, tools and guidance.

E-rate Episode Video Series for K-12 School Districts

What is E-rate?

To help offset funding and staffing shortages, the U.S. Department of Education and the FCC launched the E-rate program, which helps make telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools, campuses, districts and libraries.

The E-rate program is operated by Universal Service Administration Company (USAC), which has a core focus of providing underfunded organizations access to affordable technology and security services. This includes schools, libraries and rural healthcare organizations.

USAC provides a yearly Eligible Services List (ESL), which outlines which types of products and services can be procured via E-rate program discounts.

Applicant Steps & Resources

Prep: Before You Begin
Step 1: Competitive Bidding
Step 2: Selecting Service Providers
Step 3: Applying for Discounts
Step 4: Application Review
Step 5: Starting Services
Step 6:  Invoicing 

Resources provided by USAC

SonicWall’s Michele Campbell, Dawn Ringstaff Named to CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel List

CRN, a brand of The Channel Company, has named two SonicWall employees, Michele Campbell and Dawn Ringstaff, to its prestigious 2018 Women of the Channel list, which recognizes top women in business for their vision, experience and influence in driving channel success.

In addition to being named to the Women of the Channel list, Campbell has the additional honor of also being recognized as a 2018 Woman of the Channel Power 100 honoree. The Power 100 belong to an exclusive group drawn from this larger list: women leaders whose vision and influence are key drivers of their company’s success and help move the entire IT channel forward.

“This accomplished group of leaders is steadily guiding the IT channel into a prosperous new era of services-led business models and deep, strategic partnerships,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel list honors executives who are driving channel progress doing will have lasting impact for years to come.”

Michele Campbell
Sr. Director, Global Channel Programs & Education Services, SonicWall

Campbell has been honored with the CRN Women of The Channel award three times over the course of her career, which includes 25 years of in-depth experience in the channel. In her role leading global channel programs and partner enablement at SonicWall, she led the charge in developing the SecureFirst Partner Program, which has had a significant impact on SonicWall in the past year with over 21,000 registered partners, 8,000 of those partners are new to SonicWall.

Campbell also introduced new partner enablement initiatives into the program, including SonicWall University to address the cybersecurity skills gap and train partners on insights gleaned by the SonicWall Capture Labs researchers, and new global marketing programs and incentives to help the SonicWall channel deliver cyber security solutions and services to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Dawn Ringstaff
Regional Sales Director, SonicWall

Leveraging her 20 years of experience working in the channel, Ringstaff leads the team that is responsible for North American partner enablement, partner profitability and overall sales growth at SonicWall. During her decade at SonicWall, she has forged deep relationships with SonicWall’s North American partners, and was recognized internally at SonicWall as last year’s top-performing director on the channel and sales team in North America. As a seasoned channel sales leader, Ringstaff has mentored countless channel sales teams and at SonicWall she has been instrumental in helping many inside sales representatives transition to highly successful field territory channel managers.

The 2018 Women of the Channel list will be featured in the June issue of CRN Magazine and online at https://www.crn.com/wotc.

In addition to CRN naming Campbell and Ringstaff to the Women of the Channel list, CRN has included SonicWall and its executives on a number of additional prestigious lists since SonicWall became an independent cybersecurity company. In the past six months, SonicWall has been recognized with the following:

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Background, Context & FAQs

On May 25, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will officially go into effect in the European Union (EU). As you may have noticed, many organizations have been notifying end-users — regardless of their location — of updates to their terms of service (TOS) and privacy policies.

For the sake of simplicity, many companies are looking for vendors that help them align their privacy policies to adhere to compliance requirements worldwide versus having separate and distinct rules for every region. If GDPR remains the benchmark for data privacy, GDPR may become a welcome standard. However, if governing bodies decide to issue different data privacy laws for their own constituents, more confusion could be introduced across geographic customer bases.

To help further educate and build awareness, please reference these answers to the most popular questions about GDPR.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR is legislation enacted by the EU to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches. The GDPR applies to companies and organizations located in the EU, as well as to companies outside the EU that collect, use, transmit or store personal data of EU citizens, regardless of where the activities take place. At a high level, GDPR:

  • Takes effect on May 25, 2018
  • Applies generally to organizations located in the EU, as well as those outside the EU that handle the personal data of EU citizens
  • Applies specifically to data controllers and data processers; with a controller being a company that determines the purposes and means of processing personal data, while a processor is responsible for processing personal data on behalf of a controller
  • Is designed to protect the personal data of EU citizens, which is defined as any information about an identifiable person
  • Requires organizations to give individuals access to and control over their data, and to take reasonable measures to protect it

Why was the GDPR drafted?

GDPR was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy. By making data protection law identical throughout member states, the EU believes this will collectively save companies €2.3 billion annually.

When will the GDPR apply?

GDPR will be effective in all EU member states on May 25, 2018. Until it becomes effective, the 1995 Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC) and other country-specific law will continue to apply. Countries outside the EU may have their own data privacy laws and organizations are obligated to comply with these laws as well.

Who does the GDPR apply to?

If you are an organization located within the EU or an organization located outside of the EU and collect, use, transmit or store personal data, monitor the behavior of EU data subjects, GDPR applies to your processing and holding the personal data, regardless of your company’s location.

What are the key differences between the GDPR and the prior data privacy directive in the EU?

Although the key principles of data privacy still hold true to the previous directive, here is a high-level summary of the enhancements and other changes:

Increased Territorial Scope (extra-territorial applicability)

GDPR will apply to the processing of personal data by controllers and processors in the EU, regardless of whether the processing takes place in the EU or not. The GDPR will also apply to the processing of personal data of data subjects in the EU by a controller or processor not established in the EU, where the activities relate to: offering goods or services to EU citizens (irrespective of whether payment is required) and the monitoring of behavior that takes place within the EU.

Enhanced Penalties

Under GDPR, organizations in breach of GDPR can be fined up to 4 percent of annual global turnover or €20 million (whichever is greater). This is the maximum fine that can be imposed for the most serious infringements (e.g., not having sufficient customer consent to process data or violating the core of Privacy by Design concepts).

There is a tiered approach to fines (e.g., a company can be fined 2 percent for not having their records in order (Article 28), not notifying the supervising authority and data subject about a breach or not conducting impact assessment). It is important to note that these rules apply to both controllers and processors — meaning cloud environments will not be exempt from GDPR enforcement.

Robust Consent Requirements

The conditions for consent have been strengthened, and companies will no longer be able to use long illegible terms and conditions full of legalese, as the request for consent must be given in an intelligible and easily accessible form, with the purpose for data processing attached to that consent.

Consent must be clear and distinguishable from other matters and provided in an intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it.

Breach Notification

Under the GDPR, breach notification will become mandatory in all member states where a data breach is likely to “result in a risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals”. This must be done within 72 hours of first having become aware of the breach. Data processors will also be required to notify their customers, the controllers, “without undue delay” after first becoming aware of a data breach.

Right to Access

Data subjects have the right to obtain from the data controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed, where and for what purpose. Further, the controller shall provide a copy of the personal data, free of charge, in an electronic format. This change is a dramatic shift to data transparency and empowerment of data subjects.

Right to be Forgotten (data erasure)

A data subject has the right (subject to certain exceptions) to have the data controller erase his/her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data.

Data Portability

Under GDPR, a data subject has the right to receive the personal data concerning them, which they have previously provided in a ‘commonly used and machine-readable format’ and have the right to transmit that data to another controller.

Privacy by Design

Privacy by design, as a concept, has existed for years, but it is only just becoming part of a legal requirement with the GDPR. At its core, privacy by design calls for the inclusion of data protection from the onset of the designing of systems.

More specifically, companies need to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to effectively meet the requirements of GDPR and protect the rights of data subjects. Controllers must hold and process only the data absolutely necessary for the completion of its duties (data minimization), as well as limiting the access to personal data to those needing to act out the processing.

Data Protection Officers (DPO)

A DPO appointment will be mandatory only for those controllers and processors whose core activities consist of processing operations which require regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale (e.g., Facebook, Google, etc.) or of special categories of data or data relating to criminal convictions and offences.

What counts as personal data under the GDPR?

The GDPR applies to ‘personal data,’ meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier.

This definition provides for a wide range of personal identifiers to constitute personal data, including name, identification number, location data or online identifier, reflecting changes in technology and the way organizations collect information about people. Personal data that has been pseudonymized (e.g., key-coded) can fall within the scope of the GDPR depending on how difficult it is to attribute the pseudonym to a particular individual.

When can people access the data stored about them?

People can ask for access at “reasonable intervals,” and generally a response is required within one month. The GDPR requires transparency in how data is collected, what is done with it and how it is processed.

What is the “right to be forgotten”?

Individuals have the right to have their personal data deleted under certain circumstances. This is known as the ‘right to be forgotten.’ An individual has the right to have to request that his/her personal data be erased, to cease further dissemination of the data and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data.

When does the “right to be forgotten” apply?

The points below are subject to legal interpretation, but as outlined by the ICO, the “right to be forgotten” generally applies when:

  • The personal data is no longer necessary for the purpose which you originally collected or processed it for
  • You are relying on consent as your lawful basis for holding the data, and the individual withdraws their consent
  • You are relying on legitimate interests as your basis for processing, the individual objects to the processing of their data, and there is no overriding legitimate interest to continue this processing
  • You are processing the personal data for direct marketing purposes and the individual objects to that processing
  • You have processed the personal data unlawfully (i.e., in breach of the lawfulness requirement of the first principle)
  • You have to do it to comply with a legal obligation

What if they want to move their data elsewhere?

Under the GDPR, individuals have the right to obtain, reuse, move, copy or transfer personal data easily from one IT environment to another in a safe and secure way, without hindrance to usability.

What are the data security requirements under the GDPR?

The GDPR requires personal data be processed to protect against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage. It requires use of appropriate technical or organizational measures, which in many instances require the use of network security.

What if a data breach occurs?

If a data breach were to occur, it is the responsibility of the data controller and/or processor to inform the relevant data protection authority of certain data breaches within 72 hours of becoming aware of it.

If the breach is likely to result in a high risk of adversely affecting individuals’ rights and freedoms, the data processor and/or controller must also inform those individuals without undue delay.

What about Brexit?

The United Kingdom (UK) is leaving the EU. But because the UK government only triggered Article 50 in March 2017, which sets in motion the act of leaving the EU within a two-year timeframe (though it could take longer), this means the GDPR will take effect before the legal consequences of Brexit. Organizations located in the UK must still comply and the GDPR applies to natural individuals who are citizens of the UK.

A new Data Protection Bill, put forward by the UK government in August 2017, essentially replicates the requirements of the GDPR into UK legislation, meaning those compliant with the GDPR should be compliant with the new UK data protection law.

By aligning with GDPR, the UK hopes to build an enhanced data protection mechanism that goes beyond the adequacy model the EU imposes on ‘third’ countries, allowing personal data to flow freely between the UK and EU.

Is the GDPR solvable with technology alone?

No. The GDPR requires a comprehensive approach to data privacy that includes sound policies, procedures, training and technology.

Isn’t GDPR just hype?

No. It is reality and by all indications this new EU regulation will be monitored and enforced by EU regulators. It must be taken especially seriously in light of recent revelations regarding the collection and use of personal data by various types of organizations.

Once GDPR is enforced, a flurry of breaches may be announced that will raise the profile of GDPR. Organizations will be under pressure to respond by getting the proper infrastructure in place. Fines for noncompliance could reach up to €20 million ($24 million USD) or 4 percent of annual global turnover.

SonicWall and the GDPR

SonicWall is working hard to ensure compliance with GDPR requirements. SonicWall takes information security seriously and has implemented policies and procedures for safeguarding personal data that is stored, processed and/or transferred by SonicWall.

These policies and procedures include, without limitation, physical and logical access restrictions, data classification, access rights, credentialing programs, record retention, data privacy, information security and the treatment of personal data and sensitive personal data throughout its lifecycle.

To learn more about how GDPR applies to SonicWall products and services, please read “How SonicWall Adheres to GDPR Requirements” and review the official SonicWall Privacy Statement.

How SonicWall Adheres to GDPR Requirements

On May 25, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will officially go into effect. Like with any major legal reform, questions arise about timing, application, ramifications and more. With the GDPR mandate’s focus on privacy and related data, questions have increased tenfold.

SonicWall is working hard to ensure compliance with GDPR requirements. SonicWall takes information security seriously and has implemented policies and procedures for safeguarding personal data that is stored, processed and/or transferred by SonicWall.

These policies and procedures include, without limitation, physical and logical access restrictions, data classification, access rights, credentialing programs, record retention, data privacy, information security and the treatment of personal data and sensitive personal data throughout its lifecycle.

To help clarify how SonicWall products and services are impacted by GDPR policies, please review the following.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR is legislation enacted by the European Union (EU) to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches. The GDPR applies to companies and organizations located in the EU, as well as to companies outside the EU that collect, use, transmit or store personal data of EU citizens, regardless of where the activities take place. At a high level, GDPR:

  • Takes effect on May 25, 2018
  • Applies generally to organizations located in the EU, as well as those outside the EU that handle the personal data of EU citizens
  • Applies specifically to data controllers and data processers; with a controller being a company that determines the purposes and means of processing personal data, while a processor is responsible for processing personal data on behalf of a controller
  • Is designed to protect the personal data of EU citizens, which is defined as any information about an identifiable person
  • Requires organizations to give individuals access to and control over their data, and to take reasonable measures to protect it

Does the GDPR apply to SonicWall products?

Yes, but only to a very limited extent. SonicWall products help customers enable security in their networks (and to thus better comply with the GDPR), but SonicWall generally does not have access to, nor does it collect or use, the personal data of individuals.

The GDPR, therefore, does not apply to SonicWall products in most cases. Our customers’ use of our products by itself does not subject SonicWall to GDPR.

However, if SonicWall hosts a solution that is sold to a customer and the hosted solution allows a customer to access or use personal data in that hosted environment, then SonicWall may be subject to certain aspects of the GDPR. In those cases, SonicWall must ensure that adequate security is in place to protect that hosted environment.

In summary:

  • SonicWall typically does not collect, store or transmit the personal data of natural individuals in the EU
  • The GDPR does not apply to SonicWall firewall hardware appliances without a subscription to the SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection sandbox service
  • GDPR may apply to the SonicWall Capture Cloud Platform to the extent it enables end-user designated personnel to access their network data in an environment hosted by SonicWall
  • Where GDPR applies, it requires SonicWall to have adequate network security for its hosted environment
  • SonicWall expects to be compliant with the GDPR by May 25, 2018, to the extent it applies to the company’s range of security solutions and services
  • SonicWall is undertaking a comprehensive third-party audit to confirm the compliance of its products and solutions

GDPR and SonicWall hosted solutions

Presently, SonicWall directly maintains a majority of the systems used for our hosted solutions versus outsourcing this activity to a third party.

In the limited circumstances that SonicWall leverages third-party services, SonicWall works to ensure that it and its third-party provider have the appropriate safeguards in place to protect personal data as required by GDPR. SonicWall uses a number of technological and operational approaches in its physical security program to mitigate security risks to the extent reasonably practicable.

Our team is working to determine that appropriate measures are in place to prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to systems within which data is processed and continually monitor any changes to the physical infrastructure, business and known threats.

We are also considering best practice measures used by others in the industry while balancing its approach toward security by considering elements of control that include architecture, operations and systems.

SonicWall customers are given the opportunity to choose the location of their primary data center where their information will be hosted. However, limited data may be transferred to other SonicWall locations for the purpose of providing services to our customers.

Can SonicWall help companies become GDPR-compliant?

SonicWall acts as a provider of network security and content-based security solutions, and security of data is a key aspect in achieving data privacy principles.

We assist companies to secure their data in a smarter way. In the wake of burgeoning legislation and increased hacker intelligence, it is vital for organizations to encrypt their traffic and files, whether these are stored online or offline.

Using high-performance Deep Packet Inspection, SonicWall can spot malware and other nefarious traffic and behavior from among encrypted files, further safeguarding an organization.

SonicWall provides industry-leading machine learning technology to detect and block zero-day malware. We address advanced cyber threats, “malware cocktails” and related ransomware no matter if they are encrypted or clear, in email, on the web or in file exchange, regardless of the device in use. Our expertise in automated breach prevention means we don’t just spot malware, we prevent attacks from becoming successful.

To learn more about how GDPR applies to SonicWall products and services, please review the official SonicWall Privacy Statement.

Cyber Security News & Trends

Each week, SonicWall collects the cyber security industry’s most compelling, trending and important interviews, media and news stories — just for you.


SonicWall Spotlight

Cybersecurity Sourcebook 2018 Looks at Evolving Data Threat Landscape Database Trends & Applications

  • This article explains the serious need to safeguard data using key SonicWall threat data. Specifically, they’ve included stats sharing that cyberattacks are becoming the number-one risk to businesses, brands, operations, and financials, and that there were 9.32 billion malware attacks in total in 2017, representing an 18.4% increase over 2016.

FBI Calls Attention to ‘BEC’ Scams CRN

  • In an article detailing the rise of BEC scams by the FBI, SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner is quoted for his insight on the issue noting that technology such as DPI SSL can help as a preventative to potential breaches.

New Product Awards The American Business Awards

  • In this rundown of award winners, SonicWall is named Silver Winner in the category New Product or Service of the Year for its Capture Advanced Threat Protection Sandbox Service.

Cyber Security News

Phishing Threats Move to Mobile Devices Dark Reading

  • Mobile devices are emerging as a primary gateway for phishing attacks aimed at stealing data. Users are 18 times more likely to be exposed to a phishing attack than to malware.

FCC Says ‘Net Neutrality’ Rules Will End on June 11 Reuters

  • The FCC in December repealed the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules, allowing internet providers to block or slow websites as long as they disclose the practice. The FCC said the new rules will take effect 30 days from Friday.

Android Security: Malicious Apps Sneak Back Into Google Play After Tweaks ZDNet

  • Symantec researchers have discovered malware in Google Play, the official Android app marketplace, after it had previously been removed.

FBI Says Internet Crimes Caused Reported Losses of $1.42 Billion in 2017 The Washington Times

  • The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 301,580 complaints last year from individuals reporting a combined total of roughly $1.42 billion in related losses, according to the office’s 2017 Internet Crime Report.

Publicly Disclosed Breaches Down Drastically in Q1 2018 Dark Reading

  • Risk Based Security is reporting a significant drop in publicly disclosed breaches. Q1 2018 has been the quietest first quarter since 2012.

In Case You Missed It


Upcoming Webinars & Events

May 30
Webinar
11 a.m. PDT
Identify and Stop Malware in the Quickest and Most Accurate Way Possible
> Register Now

June 4
Webinar
1 a.m. PDT
Technical Deep Dive – Securing Office 365 with SonicWall Email Security
> Register Now

What is MU-MIMO wireless technology?

Did you know that wireless technology dates back to the 19th century? Through the years, great inventors like Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla helped mold the concepts and theories behind electromagnetic radio frequency (RF).

It wasn’t until 1997, however, that the first 802.11 technology was introduced, which is known as the 802.11 legacy standard today. Since then, each new standard either introduced new technology or significantly improved over an older one.

The same holds true for 802.11ac technology. 802.11ac Wave 1 offered a significant enhancement over its predecessor, 802.11n. 802.11ac Wave 1 provided higher channel bandwidth and a new modulation scheme, significantly increasing the max data rates.

The Wave 2 wireless standard

Technology is always replaced and improved upon. Here, 802.11ac Wave 1 technology was replaced by today’s 802.11ac Wave 2 technology. With technologies like the Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), increased channel width and more spatial streams (SS) than ever before to make Wave 2 technology a game-changer. Even though the theoretical maximum data rate as per the Wave 2 standard is 6.9 Gbps (8SS AP), the theoretical maximum with a 4SS access point (AP) is 3.5 Gbps.

Specs802.11n802.11ac Wave 1802.11ac Wave 2
Frequency band2.4 GHz and 5 GHz5 GHz5 GHz
MIMO supportSU-MIMOSU-MIMOMU-MIMO
Max channel width40 MHz80 MHz160 MHz
Max Spatial streams448
Modulation64-QAM256-QAM256-QAM
Beamformingimplicit and explicitexplicitexplicit
Backward compatibility11a/b/g11a/b/g/n11a/b/g/n
Max data rates600 Mbps1.7 Gbps6.9 Gbps

Compare the evolution of wireless capabilities from 802.11n to today’s Wave 2 standard.

What is MU-MIMO and how is it different from SU-MIMO?

MU-MIMO is a Wave 2 technology. With Single User Multiple Input Multiple Output (SU-MIMO), the AP is able to talk to only one client at a time. However, with MU-MIMO technology the AP can now transmit up to four devices at a time in the downstream direction.

Talking to more devices in a single transmission decreases airtime, increases efficiency and delivers a better user experience. For MU-MIMO to work, both the AP and the client must support the technology. Since the 11ac Wave 2 technology is backwards-compatible, if the Wave 2 AP has to transmit to a Wave 1 device it will fall back to the Wave 1 technology and use SU-MIMO to transmit.

MU-MIMO improves wireless speed, performance

Faster data transmission with MU-MIMO improves efficiency and ensures more airtime for all clients.  802.11ac Wave 2 enhancements lead to faster data rates, providing higher throughputs, better performance and user experience.

With a 4SS AP, operating on 160MHz channel, sending data to a 3SS client device, the maximum data rate that can be achieved is 2.6 Gbps. However, this is the maximum theoretical data rate. For reference, the latest Apple MacBook Pro is a 3SS 802.11ac Wave 1 device. The MacBook Air is a 2SS 802.11ac Wave 1 device and the Galaxy S3 is a 1SS 802.11ac Wave 1 device.

Overall, MU-MIMO increases network capacity and throughput. This allows the wireless network to meet the rising demand for data-hungry applications. Since the wireless access point can talk to multiple devices at the same time, the number of devices in the queue decreases, resulting in reduced wait time and latency. Increase in the overall network capacity and reduced latency benefits not just the Wave 1 and Wave 2 devices, but also the legacy clients. More than one client is needed to take advantage of MU-MIMO.

Specs1SS2SS3SS4SS
4SS, 80MHz43386713001733
4SS, 160MHz867173326003466

Wave 2 access point data rates in Mbps with different client types.

What happens during MU-MIMO transmission?

A MU-MIMO-capable AP sends a sounding signal to the client devices in the network. Each of the clients sends back a Channel State Information (CSI) based on the information it receives from the sounding signal. The AP calculates the phase and signal strength based on the CSI it receives from each client and selects the MU-MIMO-capable devices that can be grouped in one transmission.

Does MU-MIMO rely on any external factors?

Yes, MU-MIMO relies heavily on multipath and beamforming. Multipath is the process of two or more signals reaching the client at the same time or within nanoseconds of each other. Multipath happens due to RF barriers like walls, metal surfaces and concrete that cause the signals to reflect, refract, etc. Beamforming, however, directs the signal in the direction of the client.

Is it the right time to buy 802.11ac Wave 2 or should I wait for 802.11ax?

According to multiple analyst sources, the Wi-Fi market is not slowing down. For instance, IHS forecasts 11ac Wave 2 technology to increase 12 percent annually for the next three years. There are a number of Wave 2-capable devices in the market today and this will increase in the near future.

Should you wait for 802.11ax? The answer is simple: no. You are looking at a couple of years for the full-fledged adoption of 11ax products. The standard in itself is expected to be ratified in late 2019 after which it needs to pass interoperability testing by Wi-Fi Alliance.

Once manufacturers release 11ax-capable APs that are certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, mainstream adoption will occur, which is expected to be around 2020. At the same time, 11ax-capable client devices are required to reap the full benefits of the 11ax network. For the next couple of years, 11ac Wave 2 technology will remain the next-gen wireless connectivity standard.

Where can I buy Wave 2 wireless access points?

SonicWall SonicWave Wave 2 access points (432i/432e/432o 802.11ac) provide all the benefits of Wave 2 technology. You can expect superior performance and reliability with these access points. MU-MIMO technology enables SonicWave 400 series access points to transmit up to four devices at the same time.

To implement best practices in wireless networking and wireless security, download our complimentary technical brief, “SonicWall Wireless Network Security.” Learn how SonicWall wireless network security solutions can alleviate performance and security concerns, enabling you to extend your business network without jeopardizing its integrity.