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Remote computer access to files and systems must secure

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EVOLUTION
Intermatic, Norwich and Hamilton County all started with the same legacy platforms, but made different choices when revamping remote access. Workforce, application, business goals and vendor preference affected those decisions. However, there are some common aspects to their choices.

None ended up with a single remote access solution. All combined platforms to satisfy diverse applications, users and devices. All tried to reduce complexity, whether to contain costs, cut administration or simplify user experience. And all tightened security through granular filters and/or endpoint scans--in two cases, by leveraging NAC.

In the future, remote access will be affected by advances like IP telephony, data/voice convergence and 4G wireless. With broader NAC adoption, the network perimeter will continue to fade, turning everyone into a "remote" user. Keeping pace with these changes will require further evolution. As these companies found, perhaps the best remote access strategy is one that doesn't hold you back and grows along with you.

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Lessons Learned
Here are some tips for rolling out a successful secure remote access strategy:
  • Web-based access speeds deployment and expands reach, but is no panacea.


  • Don't try to shoehorn every application onto a single platform.


  • Plan for client-side support, even when using "clientless" VPNs.


  • Seek opportunities to converge local and remote access solutions.


  • Greater transparency keeps both your users and help desk happy.


  • Adapt your approach to how users do their jobs--don't expect users to adapt.
--Lisa Phifer

This was first published in November 2007

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