Everyone has dirty secrets. One of mine is that I like Mazda Miatas, little sports cars that are cheap to buy, cheap to own, handle well, perform above expectations and require little care. Regardless of how you feel about handling and the sensation of dropping the top and having the wind blow through your hair, a little Miata can only do so much. Try to pass, uphill, on a warm day and god forbid, do so with the air conditioner on and a passenger on board, and that little Miata is going to be taxed out. That is one of the reasons I added a little bit of hardware acceleration in the form of a supercharger to mine. Suddenly, with that small upgrade, the little car that could but suffered under heavy load suddenly became the little car that did.
It is no longer a question of “if” your organization will face the new reality of mobile device proliferation, just an ever closer “how soon.” Users expect the network to enable trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and they aren’t just using smartphones and tablets to be more productive, they are falling in love with them. For businesses, simply allowing access isn’t the answer. It’s a question of relevant, secure access across the entire network, while protecting corporate assets and delivering an optimal user experience. Cisco focuses on exactly that -- how to enable a simple and secure mobility experience, with a consistent end-to-end architecture across wired, wireless and VPN access.
As a cornerstone of this wired-wireless access architecture, the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) has already been helping customers like Whittier Union High School, San Antonio Water System and BlueWater Communications Group apply consistent security across the entire network through a centralized, single policy source.
Whittier Union High School District, a California high school district serving more than 13,600 students, was facing the challenge of mobile devices. Both faculty and students were bringing their personal devices on campus, many for educational apps and tools.
“It’s becoming increasingly critical to provide employees, students, and visitors access to our network and extensive educational resources given the growing expectations of our tech-savvy population,” stated Karen Yeh, Director of Information Technology, Whittier Union High School District.
Whittier needed a way to apply differentiated policy across their student and staff populations, somehow managing access for both personal and corporate devices, all without increasing IT resources. Karen called Cisco, and two weeks later her team was deploying the Cisco ISE, implementing a single point of security policy for their networks across wired, wireless and VPN. Considering that Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the US went to Whittier High School, the flexible network access enabled by Cisco ISE may be empowering the next generation of leaders, scientist or artists. But, mobile devices aren’t confined to education. San Antonio Water System, a public utility owned by the city of San Antonio, is seeing surprisingly similar issues.
Business-critical data should be secured at each point along its path—from remote devices to its destination
Although some security incidents are caused by malicious individuals, many data breaches are actually the result of a careless mistake or simple forgetfulness on the part of an employee that is then exploited by a hacker. An unsecured smartphone lost in the airport can allow anyone access to email accounts, for instance. Or a laptop with outdated antivirus software can easily be compromised by new attacks.
Regardless of how it happens, a data breach can suddenly put your company’s business-critical information at risk. With more information now in the cloud and places other than your own network, to fully protect your data, you need to make sure it’s secured in three places: on your employees’ devices, while in transit between those devices and the Internet, and at its destination, including possibly a service provider’s environment. Read More »
When choosing between IPSec and SSL, you might find you need both kinds of VPNs.
Mobile workers are a fact of life for most small businesses and that is often a good thing—for both the company and the employee or contractor. Users who have remote access to your small business network from their home offices or while traveling tend to be more productive and can helps save your company money. The trick, of course, is making sure that the mobile connections to your network are secure. For that, you need an encrypted virtual private network (VPN), which lets remote users safely connect to your network from any location with Internet access.
With VPN, you can secure your network and also offer secure access to remote partners and employees.
Technology—no small business can succeed without it. Your network not only provides secure connectivity to your employees, but also to your community of partners, suppliers, and customers. Although your network is the lifeline of your business, you probably view it as a cost center, buying equipment as necessary—sometimes on the fly when a problem or immediate need arises. However, your network can be a source of cost-effective growth for your company.
If you installed a VPN as part of your infrastructure, it was most likely to provide employees with secure access to your network while working at home or on the road. Apart from the obvious productivity gains that companies can achieve by providing employees with the ability to work from anywhere anytime, VPNs can also make it easier to expand your business and share pre-existing network resources and information.