It’s a new kind of digital world out there. Organizations are working with new technologies which are improving productivity as well as overall business strategies. These new digital tools produce data, deliver content, and help optimize the entire business process. Still – as this new digital dawn approaches even closer, many organizations are left with questions around creating efficiency, agility – and most of all, security when it comes to their wireless ecosystem.
Currently, wireless devices are quickly outpacing wired systems. A very recent Cisco report indicates that traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2019. And, by 2019, wired devices will account for 33 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 66 percent of IP traffic. So, when it comes to wireless technologies – how can organizations create a more agile and secure architecture? Most of all – how can they enable the end-user while still providing appropriate security levels? Remember, an efficient data center and business security policy does two things: Secure the overall architecture; and, it does not hinder user productivity.
With that in mind – let’s look at ways new wireless controls are creating better security and agility.
- Creating contextual wireless awareness. It’s a question of: Who, What, Where, How, and Why. This is a new type of contextual policy awareness that helps directly automate the entire user experience. They can roam throughout a facility, go offsite, and even change devices. However, on the backend – a contextual policy engine is constantly asking who the user is, what device they’re using, where they are accessing information from, and even why they are asking for a specific app from a given location. This kind of engine allows you to create one SSID and allow the policies to place the incoming user into the guest group. Not only does this create automation – but it simplifies the wireless control architecture as well.
- Enabling true next-gen security policies and controls. We’ve had IPS and IDS for some time. Now, there are advancements to these technologies as well. You’re now able to apply contextual policies to IPS engines which help the architecture go way beyond signature violations. Now, you can understand what application a user is accessing, the device they’re coming in from, and then apply specific policies and signatures to the session. The idea here is to create a multi-vector threat detection architecture which is then capable of automating security responses. Furthermore, you can now fingerprint – in real-time – all of the files traversing a wired and wireless platform for advanced malware protection as well. This allows in-line disposition of a file to understand malicious traffic and prevent it from spreading.
- Implementing powerful roaming capabilities. This new kind of feature not only enables security – it also helps with agility and productivity. Let me give you an example: A user is accessing an application from a mobile device. That app can only be accessed from a secure architecture. Well, if the user leaves the premises, access to the application halts. However, with a secure roaming architecture, users are able to leave the facility and immediately kick off a secure VPN session to allow them further access to the app. This can be further controlled by knowing where the user is and the kind of network they’re using to access the app.
- Integrating visibility and compliance. This is an important point. Wireless control architectures now offer much better analytics and forensic capabilities. They further integrate with wired security systems to create a true – end-to-end – security architecture. These are no longer standalone systems. Rather, the best security comes from the most proactive visibility and control mechanisms. You can now integrate new kinds of compliance, visibility, and even auditing capabilities into your wireless architecture. All of this allows you to enable your users – while still creating better control mechanisms.
One of the best ways to create a better wireless architecture is to test it out with a group of users, apply the right policies, and see if it’s a good fit for you. The other big best practice is to ensure that your wireless architecture integrates easily with your overall data center and technology ecosystem. You can have the best wireless controller – but if it’s managed as a completely different entity and doesn’t integrate with other core systems – you might have a management challenge.
As your organization evolves – look to new wireless controllers which can help with today’s needs as well as the future. That means working with technologies capable of applying wireless compliance and security policies around modern wireless systems as well as upcoming IoT devices.