Context is King

F5 recently attended the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit. It was a first for us, and a great opportunity to meet and present to the 400 or so senior-level security specialist attendees. CIOs and CISOs abounded.

Of the attendees that came over to the F5 booth, it seemed like there was only one thing on their mind. Almost every single one of these senior security people wanted to talk about mobile user access (MUA).

This article by Peter Birley touches on a number of the issues from the perspective of Unified Communications. It discusses various advantages and disadvantages of being remote and offers some general advice on how virtual teams can be effectively implemented.

MUA, of which BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is increasingly a component, is an aspect of modern business that is more and more common and, from the point of view of talented professionals, even compelling.

What is beyond the scope of Peter’s article but is absolutely essential is consideration of and planning for a good mobile user experience (I’m pretty sure MUE doesn’t exist as an acronym in this context!).

When many users are accessing a network from many locations, using a variety of devices, it becomes very important that the delivery architecture can offer a consistent and secure quality of service. If quality of service suffers, if applications cannot be accessed due to security concerns – then the virtual team is dead in the water.

The implementation of robust endpoint security is an essential building block to create the right technical conditions in the delivery architecture. This must include the implementation of a secure remote access via SSL VPN, L3-L7 access control devices and testing, and user authentication. Ideally you should be able to apply business policy to each and every user coming in to the network.

To do this, you need context. IT administrators must be given access to relevant information on:

  • The users
  • The network
  • The applications

If they have this context, then business policy can be effectively implemented. Single Sign-On and access control both serve to improve user experience and are consistent with introducing the concepts of the dynamic data centre to your organisation.

Tailor-made solutions for your mobile users are a reality – detailed insights can be found here and here (iPhone-specific). Did I mention that F5 can accelerate access for mobile users too?

Published Oct 10, 2011
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