Preparing your business for mobility

By Howard Weiss, field solutions team manager, CDW, Network World |  Security

A better way to configure your network is to survey "what" and "who." What devices will have permission to access the network? What type of data will the network transfer? Who will access the network? Should a CEO have more privileges or a better connection than a guest?

These may seem like simple questions, but each answer builds your understanding of network requirements and routing protocols. Building network restrictions and accessibility based on these preferences -- such as bandwidth limitations by device and priority connections for employees rather than guests -- will enable a quick and efficient network.

Securing a mobile-friendly network

Security is just as important as network design. Limiting your network to employees and approved guests avoids excessive bandwidth spikes from unwanted users. Network security can further enhance connectivity by preventing malicious attacks that slow connectivity and put business data at risk.

A basic network password provides a thin layer of security, but it doesn't fully secure business data or prevent unrestricted network access from guests. If a business only provides a password on its core data network, any guest connecting to the network can access data that passes through it in order to secure personal information or valuable business data. To boost security, consider a network access control (NAC), which enables IT managers to set different privileges for various employee groups and for guests.

Wireless connections can also invite security threats by being visible outside of the building itself. Although a virtual private network (VPN) provides a secure connection, it is best to design a wireless network to provide just enough coverage for the physical business space. This prevents potential hackers from accessing the network from the surrounding business area, such as a parking lot or nearby building.

Once employees and guests have access to the network, there are many tools offered by various solutions providers that can help your business monitor mobile devices and manage network access. Security platforms, such as Cisco's Identity Services Engine (ISE), enable you to look at each device connecting to the network and to set policies allowing and restricting access on an individual device basis. Mobile device management (MDM) solutions, which require employees to install software on their mobile device before connecting to the work network and using it for work, can also help IT managers control what business data can be accessed through both company- and employee-owned devices.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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