We have all seen many changes to our lives over the past few months with our daily routine of spending time commuting to a place of work being replaced with a mad rush to the laptop just before the day starts. Working from home has had its advocates in the past but for the majority of organisations it was something that was not a suitable way of managing the workforce.
Now, as we start to get back to some form of ‘normality’ we can reflect on how businesses have adapted to the remote workforce and if this is now a reality for millions of staff. Many companies have found that it can make more use of remote workers and collaborative applications such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom have excelled in allowing staff to remain in contact and in some cases ensuring that the office ‘banter’ continues to ensure staff don’t feel isolated. The hours spent on the commute into a ‘bricks and mortar’ office are now replaced with additional free time to either get ready for the day in a more relaxed manner, or finishing work at a reasonable time and spending time with families and loved ones.
So, the great WFH movement of 2020 has been a success right and we can now easily deploy thousands of employees at home and allow them to connect to corporate systems using nothing more than their home WiFi and corporate laptop? Although this is true from a data access point of view with VPN technologies allowing remote staff access to the corporate estate, from a security point of view this situation brings with it many vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.
When your staff are centralised within a corporate office the security of data and their devices is under your control and steps can be taken to avoid things like Malware or restrict access to unauthorised sites that may be identified by phishing type emails. The security of all devices is a managed entity that encompasses firewalls, threat prevention systems and next-gen features.
Home working circumvents many security systems as corporate devices are mixing with games consoles, home laptops, phones, tablets, automation systems and televisions. Many of these devices have little or no security measures in-place and are allowed to roam the darkest corners of the internet on a daily basis. The home network is not as safe a place as the corporate office and typically has no controls unless the ‘owner’ is tech-savvy or is in the security game.
So, how do we provide the security and ease of use of the corporate world to the home user to ensure that they get the same experience with things like WiFi while also being secure and easy to manage by corporate IT departments? A home worker doesn’t ask for much, they just want to lift the lid of the laptop at five to nine in the morning, close it at five thirty and not have to worry about the speed of the WiFi , the security of their data and have someone to call if things go wrong.
Corporate IT departments now need to manage a whole new range of issues that in many cases are outside of their control as they are often environmental. During the lockdown, we have had many customers asking about their WiFi connection which in most cases has been down to the router provided by their service provider. Changing to a home mesh WiFi solution typically solves the issue but this is a typical problem that corporate IT is having to deal with.
So, how do we create an environment that is suitable for home workers and can be managed by the IT department as if the ‘home office’ is part of the corporate estate? Juniper Networks provide the following three solutions to provide a safe and manageable environment to remote staff:
Corporate Grade WiFi
Using MIST access-points, which provide industry leading levels of manageability, brings the corporate WiFi experience to the home office. From a central dashboard you can view all access-points within the organisation and drill down to identify users and potential issues they are experiencing. Using Marvis, the MIST management engine, standard language queries are used to provide analysis of data. Marvis provides a ‘hey Siri’ type interface where you can ask things like ‘show all users with issues’ and it provides a list that can be used for troubleshooting.
Marvis uses AI to learn about the environment and is constantly being updated from the MIST cloud with new ‘skills’ and reports. Using MIST for remote WiFi allows corporate IT to provide enterprise class wireless to users and have the ability to manage it centrally. From a security point of view having a second WiFi network in a remote location that is restricted to only corporate devices is a huge benefit.
Corporate WiFi and resources extended to the Home
MIST Edge is an extension of the corporate environment to the home user utilising MIST access-points and edge devices. MIST edge devices sit within the head office environment and provide access to corporate resources to the remote MIST access-points via secure encrypted tunnels.
The access-points are within the home users’ location and provide enterprise class wireless for corporate devices such as tablets and laptops keeping them securely air-gapped from home-based machines. Selected corporate resources can be delivered directly to the remote users’ location simply by utilising the MIST dashboard. These resources could be access to internal systems such as fileservers or access to cloud-based platforms.
All traffic from the remote users’ device is tunnelled back to the MIST edge device located in the datacentre or head office location. This means that corporate security policies can be enforced on the user traffic and application security systems utilised. The security of the user traffic is guaranteed as it traverses the corporate infrastructure so can be administered by existing firewalls and security appliances.
MIST edge provides the same user interface as MIST wireless so the enhanced AI features of the Marvis platform are present. From a manageability point of view, corporate IT can easily make changes to configurations and troubleshoot issues across hundreds of remote locations.
Corporate IT resources extended to the home with Firewalling
MIST edge is a revolutionary way of extending your systems to the new breed of remote users who expect things to ‘just work’ and want the office experience while being at home. To further enhance the security of this environment a Juniper SRX firewall can be deployed to sit between the remote workers’ home network and the remote corporate environment.
Deploying a remote SRX firewall adds a further level of security to the environment and allows unique policy to be applied at a very granular level.
Juniper are at the forefront of remote working solutions for the home worker and are dedicated to bringing the corporate experience to remote locations. The ability to access a complete range of solutions from a remote location while maintaining full security policies is a huge benefit to organisations. But most importantly, the solutions provided by Juniper are easy to administer and manage even by the smallest of IT departments.
Typically, utilising Marvis to troubleshoot issues within the wireless networks significantly decreases the time to fix and also provides proactive advice and guidance. Advanced features, such as automatic packet capture, allow you to identify exactly what issues the user is having often before a call is placed to the helpdesk. The need for more remote working will bring with it management, security and administration challenges all of which can be simplified by using MIST wireless.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.