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Most employers agree that flexible “family friendly” working conditions foster good employee moral and enable staff to be as productive when working from home as they are in the office.
Unfortunately working for an employer in a role that deals with confidential material is often a reason to be excluded from home based working due to the risk of material going astray. Historically those working in a secure role for governments have been forced to consume their IT whilst sitting at their desks, no doubt locked in a Faraday cage—hardly conducive to a good work/life balance.
Those employees that have slipped away with a laptop to work from home have quickly come unstuck as they realised their home environment and access to the corporate network is anything but secure. Even a laptop that has been locked down with the latest patches and anti-malware will only be reasonably secure for a limited time—maybe only hours, maybe days at best, dependent upon the rate of threat evolution.
Networking links into organisations have been vulnerable for a long time, and the use of standard broadband connections to get access to confidential data in the office is fraught with danger. Employees at home will often leave a PC logged in all day whilst maybe they disappear for a couple of hours, leaving hackers with an open invitation to attack a corporate infrastructure.
AEP Networks is one supplier that has a range of appliances including the Netilla Security Platform (NSP). By using this appliance an organisation can allow users to access their remote data across a standard internet based connection safely away from prying eyes.
This approach was put to the test at the G8 summit in Scotland in 2005 when the local authority responsible needed to put in place a secure remote access infrastructure for their employees based around the Gleneagles site. Using NSP from AEP the council made sure key staff could get to their data as securely as if they were working in the office.
The Netilla Security Platform is part of a much bigger offering from AEP that includes products to provide secure networking and application access. As the company has evolved from its origins in accelerator cards they have invested in products that fit their portfolio, ending up with a range of FIPS compliant solutions for those wanting to lockdown a network.
As you would expect, AEP Networks have some interesting ideas about developing their product set. With access to an organisation’s security backbone the next logical step for AEP is to further explore policy management and control across the network.
Securing the remote end point in an Assured business is critical to an organisation that supports remote workers. Using technologies such as the Netilla Security Platform will give users enhanced security today, with the possibility that further integration into a managed policy environment such as AEP are discussing should make the security professional’s role easier in the future.