Network and data security is practically a life and death issue for every organisation. But it’s the IT department’s unenviable job to save the day and keep everything safe.
Your organisation has a lot to gain from helping employees work away from the office. If they can be just as effective while working at a customer's site, while travelling or even sitting at their own kitchen table, then there’s a big potential saving in expensive office space and a possible overall gain in productivity. And another big plus: by empowering your colleagues and liberating them from the commuter rat-run and the same old same old, you’re going to be pretty popular.
It’s a win-win for everyone
Everyone, that is, except the IT manager. With all that liberating power comes serious responsibility: enabling people to share applications and data between locations, and giving them remote access to corporate systems, while ensuring it all runs smoothly and securely.
Providing remote access to a highly distributed user-base isn’t easy. People have a habit of popping up all over the place at any time and in any location, maybe even locations you’d rather they weren’t in.
What you’re up against
Users will demand instant access to corporate networks, or perhaps want connectivity with cloud-based information. Not only that, but they could be using any one of a multitude of devices, from a simple laptop to a tiny smartphone to a public internet kiosk.
It’s your job to ensure that any information transmitted across the internet remains private. It’s also up to you to make certain that the person accessing the information is who they say they are. You’ve got to get your head around a multitude of security risks, any of which could result in confidential information being viewed on the wrong side of a corporate firewall. No pressure then.
These risks are pretty much par for the course whether you’re a small or large enterprise, in the public or private sector. Smaller enterprises are now just as likely as major corporates to have many employees working in remote locations, well away from the office.
Fortunately, help is most definitely at hand.
Accessing all areas - how we can help
We offer two types of VPN (Virtual Private Network) that are ideal for you. Our IPSec (IP Security) VPN provides a secure, private tunnel between devices. It’s the best way to extend a private network on a more or less fixed basis across the internet to a remote site or branch office.
If, on the other hand, you want to connect internal or external users who may be in any location, an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) VPN is the way to go. It combines familiar browser-based technology with robust security functions. We have a number of managed remote access solutions just like these, based on the high-quality connectivity of our Next Generation Network.
A classic remote access blunder is giving users a password that’s either simple enough for an unwanted party to guess or else too complex to remember without being written down (so others can find it). Our Managed Authentication Service overcomes this issue by providing a solution using 2FA (Two Factor Authentication). Based on market-leading technology from CRYPTOCard, it’s simple to integrate with your systems, has affordable monthly costs and requires no additional hardware investment.
The art of self-defence
Once you’ve got the issue of secure remote access under control, there’s the small matter of securing office-held data and systems. Plenty of danger lurks close to home. Disaster can befall the company that accidentally exposes sensitive data – particularly that concerning customers.
As an IT manager, the buck of meeting stiff regulatory demands and tough customer security requirements stops with you. You’ve got to comply – and show that you’ve complied – by demonstrating all the necessary security systems and staying within cast-iron international laws and regulations. Intelligent self-defending networks with integrated protective features solve many of these problems for you.
The right sort of investment in security will give you a large number of network monitoring functions that offer varying levels of protection against attack. Sophisticated management reporting systems help by breaking down usage and billing patterns, monitoring revenue assurance and quickly authenticating or denying user access.
You can block phone numbers, devices and websites from your desktop, while checking and controlling abuse with personal calls billed back to individuals. Virus protection and anti-spam measures should also comprise part of network security. There’s also a lot to be said for effectively outsourcing your security headaches with a managed services package.
The IT manager has to take a lot of responsibility for security, but at least some of the buck can rest with the right solution and the right network partner.