SOURCE: AEP Networks

March 21, 2007 04:00 ET

Business Continuity Drives Secure Remote Access at Institute of Directors (IoD)

Proxy-Based Remote Working System Protects IoD Network

LONDON -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 21, 2007 -- Business Continuity and flexible working requirements are among the key drivers which have prompted the Institute of Directors (IoD) to begin rolling out secure remote working technology from policy-based networking leader AEP Networks.

"We face a number of potential threats, partly as a result of our location in Pall Mall, Central London," said Richard Swann, the IoD's IT Infrastructure Manager. "They range from terrorist activity blocking off access to our offices, through to poor weather and the everyday transport problems that can affect a big city. The possibility of an avian flu epidemic is another emerging risk we are aware of and we wanted to have effective remote working systems in place as a contingency. We are also keen to encourage flexible and home working."

The IoD's profile, as the professional body for business leaders, meant any remote working technology must incorporate effective security to protect against malicious attacks or prying eyes. The AEP Netilla Security Platform (NSP), an SSL VPN appliance, was chosen because of its ability to protect the IoD's network using an 'application layer proxy.' This means that remote users, who are working from home or using non IoD computers, never directly connect to the corporate network.

The system intermediates between the network and end users, presenting them with a proxy of the applications using 'screen scraping' technology. It protects application servers from direct exposure to the Internet, applying security policy and functioning as a gatekeeper. Network resources are further protected by the PKI protection built into the appliance.

NSP was implemented by systems integrator, Enforce Technology, and is gradually being rolled out to IoD users. The system is configured to provide 'Thin,' web-based remote application access to the IoD's Windows 2003 corporate network. This approach is designed to allow simple, secure access to Windows Terminal Servers as well as UNIX, Linux, and 3270 mainframe applications quickly and easily, and without third-party server based software.

The NSP system replaces hardwired ADSL and router-based VPN connections which were originally used to link employees' homes to the IoD's network in Pall Mall.

"Previously we were providing staff with ADSL connections and routers at home together with PCs and software, even if they already had their own home PC and web access. We couldn't take the risk that their own machines didn't have up to date security such as antivirus and anti-spyware," said Swann. "But in the longer term this would have proved expensive and inflexible as we sought to step up our remote access capacity both for business continuity and flexible working purposes."

The NSP provides staff with the ability to access network resources from any PC with a browser. They are no longer restricted to using managed corporate devices.

"The proxy-based access provided by NSP, which effectively isolates our network from the users' machines, means we no longer have to insist that they use only our own hardware. They can use their own home PCs or even a third party device in a cyber café or hotel. This reduces costs and means users have a greater opportunity to stay productive in the event of a business continuity issue," explained Swann.

Before deciding on AEP Networks, the IoD's IT team evaluated a number of other solutions including Citrix and Cisco VPNs. NSP was considered the best fit in terms of security, ease of use and cost effectiveness.

The IoD plans to control access to network resources by introducing the NSP's policy-based realms facility, which will restrict access to individual parts of the network to specified user groups. It is also planning to introduce a token-based authentication system to enhance security.

About The IoD

The IoD (Institute of Directors) was founded in 1903 and obtained a Royal Charter in 1906. The IoD is a non-party political organisation with upwards of 52,000 members in the United Kingdom and overseas. Membership includes directors from across the business spectrum -- from media to manufacturing, e-business to the public and voluntary sectors. Members include CEOs of large corporations as well as entrepreneurial directors of start-up companies.

About Enforce Technology

Enforce Technology are a specialist IT Security Integrator providing security solutions for both Governmental and Commercial organisations. In addition to providing network perimeter security for organisations, email, policy management, IDS/IPS & virus protection solutions can also be provided. The company also provides vendor independent consultancy and support.

About AEP Networks

AEP Networks offers a comprehensive Policy Networking solution that provides complete security starting at the endpoints and working throughout a network -- from the edge to the core. AEP's integrated portfolio of security products includes network admission control enforcement points, identity-based application security gateways, SSL VPNs, high assurance IPSec-based VPN encryptors, and hardware security modules for key management. Our products address the most demanding security requirements of public-sector organizations and commercial enterprises internationally. The company is headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, with offices worldwide.

AEP Networks, the AEP Networks logo, and NACpoint are trademarks of AEP Networks, Inc., with registration pending in the United States. Netilla, SmartGate, SmartPass and SmartAdmin are registered trademarks of AEP Networks, Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

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