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How to Plan for Mobility Without Sacrificing Your WLAN's Security

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How to Plan for Mobility Without Sacrificing Your WLAN's Security

Let’s face it; whether we’re at home, at work, in school or just out shopping, we’re always connected. Everywhere we go we demand it, in many cases expect it. Over the last 7 -10 years the explosion of mobile devices and applications has changed how we’re accessing our networks. What used to be primarily Ethernet is being replaced by wireless or (mobility).

However, although every organization has recognized the need for mobility or wireless, many have been wary of the many security challenges that come with supporting proper mobility.

When you think about it, today’s wireless environments have become massive gateways for not only user-driven devices trying to connect, but also smart systems and services like security surveillance or even HVAC. Through IoT or the internet of things now even more things pose as a potential threat to your network.

Because of how rapidly wireless technology has developed and more so our demand for it, a lot of companies are trying to figure out how to remain flexible, while at the same time secure.

Every IT department wants to and knows they need to offer their users the best possible experience while on their network. In most cases this means the ability to access the network from anywhere at any time. The challenge again, being able to offer this experience without jeopardizing your WLAN's security.

The issue is that simple network security is an oxymoron in itself; it’s just usually not how it is.

The goal of secure mobility is having complete visibility and control of your wireless infrastructure while continuing to enhance the user’s experience.

To do this you have to ask yourself these 4 things:

Who is connecting to your network?

It’s important to understand the different kinds of users that are on your network; from visitors and guests to employees, students, patients, doctors, executives, administrators etc. Knowing this will help you create security policies that fit each user’s role.

What devices are being used to connect to your network?

Today’s mobile environments are a mixed bag of devices. Everything from smartphones and smartwatches, to laptops and tablets; almost everything is trying to access your network. Knowing which devices are being used helps you decide what you want and not want to allow on your network.

Suggested Reading - "Mobile Device Management (MDM): A Key Piece of the BYOD Puzzle"

What Applications are allowed access?

Along with devices comes the even vaster array of applications they can run. It’s critical that you’re aware of these different applications so for example, YouTube isn’t taking precedence over your mission critical applications.

Where your users are able to access the network?

It’s very important to know where your users are when they are on your network. For example, when students are in their classrooms maybe you want them to only be able to access certain applications on certain devices.

Related Article - "6 Security Features Your Wireless Network Solution Needs for BYOD"

Having this information is the first step; once you do you can focus security policies at the edge of your network and begin to balance having proper security with a great user experience.

The best wireless network designs take this intelligence-first approach and make it seamless for the end-user. It shouldn’t be overly complicated for your users to connect, at any level or role.

To do this you will need an authentication process. Of course this will change depending on the type of user and type of device being used, but in every case you need to have complete visibility. Without proper visibility you can’t have the information or intelligence you need and without that you can’t guarantee you have the proper control over your wireless network.

At SecurEdge we've been helping organizations and businesses meet and exceed the demands of deploying secure mobility. If you have any questions regarding your current wireless network or would like to discuss a new wireless network design, simply contact us here!

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