LONDON -- Business Continuity and flexible working requirements are among the key drivers which have prompted the Institute of Directors (IoD) to begin rolling out secure remote working technology from policy based networking leader AEP Networks.
We face a number of potential threats, partly as a result of our location in Pall Mall, Central London, said Richard Swann, the IoDs IT Infrastructure Manager. They range from terrorist activity blocking off access to our offices, through to poor weather and the everyday transport problems that can affect a big city. The possibility of an avian flu epidemic is another emerging risk we are aware of and we wanted to have effective remote working systems in place as a contingency. We are also keen to encourage flexible and home working.
The IoDs profile, as the professional body for business leaders, meant any remote working technology must incorporate effective security to protect against malicious attacks or prying eyes. The AEP Netilla Security Platform (NSP), an SSL VPN appliance, was chosen because of its ability to protect the IoDs network using an application layer proxy. This means that remote users, who are working from home or using non IoD computers, never directly connect to the corporate network.
The system intermediates between the network and end users, presenting them with a proxy of the applications using screen scraping technology. It protects application servers from direct exposure to the Internet, applying security policy and functioning as a gatekeeper. Network resources are further protected by the PKI protection built into the appliance.
NSP was implemented by systems integrator, Enforce Technology, and is gradually being rolled out to IoD users. The system is configured to provide Thin, web based remote application access to the IoDs Windows 2003 corporate network. This approach is designed to allow simple, secure access to Windows Terminal Servers as well as UNIX, Linux, and 3270 mainframe applications quickly and easily, and without third-party server based software.
The NSP system replaces hardwired ADSL and router based VPN connections which were originally used to link employees homes to the IoDs network in Pall Mall.
Previously we were providing staff with ADSL connections and routers at home together with PCs and software, even if they already had their own home PC and web access. We couldnt take the risk that their own machines didnt have up to date security such as antivirus and anti-spyware, said Swann. But in the longer term this would have proved expensive and inflexible as we sought to step up our remote access capacity both for business continuity and flexible working purposes.