Mobile and wireless technologies have become a mainstay of today’s business. The global workforce is increasingly on the move, companies operate across international time zones and work is no longer a place you go to, but an activity that can be conducted anywhere, at any time.
It’s now essential that employees are able to tap into business-critical applications wherever they are. With wireless networks and remote access systems, workers are no longer tied to their desks—they can work from conference rooms, their boss’s office, on the road at hotspot locations or from home.
Technologies such as wireless, or secure socket layer (SSL-VPN) are an even greater enabler of mobility. Wireless facilitates business operations where change is constant – for example at construction sites, in emergency services, at trade shows or in seasonal or temporary retail outlets. Companies can set up temporary or permanent mobile access without waiting for broadband wiring to be pulled. With SSL-VPN, employees can access their desktop and network applications securely, from any computer connected to the Internet.
Given the growth and popularity of mobile technology there’s a huge opportunity for resellers to encourage small as well as large organisations to take advantage of the affordable and easily managed mobility solutions that are available on the market. Equally, major opportunities exist for partners to make mobility part of their managed services offering.
What are the security issues related to mobility?
Despite the overriding benefits, business owners and network administrators face several issues when it comes to wireless technology:
* The security threats facing the wired network -– application layer intrusions such viruses, spyware, worms and Trojans -- seem to become amplified when it comes to wireless networks, which can also be vulnerable to rogue access points.
* Another shortfall of traditional wireless networks is that they act as wireless gateways but do not provide the degree of granularity in access control offered by Deep Packet Inspection, which can scrutinize traffic and identify any harmful content at the application layer. So if a user is allowed into the network based on the authentication information, the enterprise could be vulnerable to an application layer attack.
* People using public computers - for example, at a business centre, hotel lobby or airport - are at risk from threats already on the computer: spyware, keystroke loggers, malicious code or viruses.
* Many of the wireless security solutions available require parallel networks to manage both wired and wireless access. This is not only costly, but time consuming for IT management. Parallel security infrastructures are expensive to the point of impracticality -- usually more than the average business can afford – so that in itself becomes a security risk.
Vendors such as SonicWALL have re-thought the approach to bridging the gap between wired and wireless and have designed completely new wireless and remote access appliances that provide a single, comprehensive security solution built on a trusted internet security platform.
Such appliances offer total security enforcement and management for both wired and wireless networks. Naturally such solutions promise ease of use and management and cut down on security costs overall – so there are cost benefits in investing in such hardware.
What products/solutions does SonicWALL have to address these?
As a 100% channel focused company, SonicWALL has listened to its partners’ feedback regarding their own customers’ changing needs. As a result it has been the first vendor in the industry to offer streamlined solutions for security enforcement and policy management of both wired and wireless networks, without the need for parallel infrastructures. Since then other vendors have taken SonicWALL’s lead and designed their own single solution appliances.
* The PRO series security gateways (for larger deployments) allow users to create a secure wireless network with the addition of easily installed SonicPoint Access Points, which are governed and managed by the same security policies as the PRO device.
* The TZ series appliances (for smaller network requirements) are available in both wired and wireless versions, and can also support the SonicPoint Access Points to create an extended, secure wired and wireless network
* The SSL-VPN 200, 2000 and 4000 appliances broke the mould by making simple, secure remote access affordable to every business, without the cost penalty of a per-tunnel license fee which other vendors impose.
* SonicWALL VPN technology allows for secure site-to-site and remote communications
* SonicWALL Enforced Desktop Anti-Virus scans laptop and desktop computers for viruses, spyware and other internet threats before connecting the machine to the network, thus preventing mobile and remote users from introducing threats from behind the firewall.
* TZ 190
What parts of the market has SonicWALL noticed the most adoption of mobility?
SonicWALL has noticed an increased adoption of Secure Remote Access solutions. Mobile workers across all markets are putting increasing demand on business both big and small to provide secure remote access to applications. Historically SSLVPN appliances have been a technology of the larger enterprise as the costs were high as was the investment in technical understanding. When SonicWALL delivered a Secure Remote Access solution that was well within the grasp of SME and mid-tier customers across all markets from both a price point and ease of use it noticed exceptionally high adoption rates.
SonicWALL has also noticed a high adoption of 3G technologies in retail, construction, mining and the logistics markets.
Most of these markets depend on an internet connection to provide efficient customer service and optimise employee productivity.