Mobility takes on a new meaning in today’s world of work from home users and the vast number of Wi-Fi enabled devices owned by network users. Many people confuse mobility with wireless networking. Yes, wireless networking is part of mobility but mobility is not just about a campus Wi-Fi network.
Mobility is about secure network access from anywhere, from any device.
When you think of it that way, it’s a lot more challenging to accomplish. This article will give you some guidance. Here are five things your network has to know to be able to provide secure mobile access:
1) Identity: Who is requesting access? Your network should provide Role Based Access Control to internal resources as well as external content and applications. The first thing you have to know is who the user is so that you can provide access to needed applications, and limit access to everything else.
2) Location: Where is the user accessing the network from? Are they on the main campus site? Are they at home? Are they at starbucks? Your network needs to apply a policy based upon the risk the user presents by where they are. It also must provide flexibility based upon location. You may not want a user in your office to post material on Facebook, but you probably don’t care if they are on at home.
3) Device: How they are accessing the network? Is your school wireless network overrun with students bringing their iPads and Android phones to school? That’s trend you can’t reverse. But if you know what device they are using (and identity of the user) you can provide limited network access that doesn’t drag down all of the learning going on.
4) Content & Apps: What type of applications are they running? Is the traffic on your hospital network a doctor carrying his iPad or is it a nurse’s wireless VoIP phone? Your policies have to put priority (QoS) on the important applications, and be able to allow controlled access from others.
5) Time: When are they accessing the network? We’ve built many large school wireless networks for universities. Many times we encourage more controls during the day (specifically bandwidth shaping), than at night to protect learning functions. Having the granularity to control usage by time of day is critical.
Of course designing this type of system involves a discussion about what infrastructure you have in place and what you need to accomplish secure mobility (impossible to answer that in one article).SecurEdge specializes in this type of secure mobile network access with all of these features build in. If you want to figure out how to have this level of visibility and control you can request a discussion with one of our design engineers. We’d love to be a resource for you.