Seamless, Stressless, Wireless

It may be premature to see before December, but lately there have been some articles and forum posts across the Internet in which people debate how we haven’t really seen large advancements technology over the previous decade. The 60s had a cultural revolution and the Cold War, spawning the moon landings, ARPANET’s development and various leaps in technology. In the 70s the first general microprocessor was released and C was born. The 80s showed that home computing was possible along with the advent of GUI systems. The 90s showed that the internet was a huge player in commerce and mobile computing began with cell phones and Palm Pilots. What has this latest decade shown other than gizmos and gadgets?

The past decade was highly evolutionary. Everything became smaller and was packed with more software driven features. Because software is used on all sorts of gadgets, software security became a very big topic and one that we continue to explore. And of course, any device worth using daily is worth networking – wirelessly. Specifically, most multi-use devices will connect to wireless LANs. Add all of that together and we have a lot of wireless LANs that are in need of proper security. It is no longer enough to simply make a password for your access point and use some kind of encryption.

Security infrastructure must now be aware of wireless infrastructure and the two should be working together to provide a secure and useful wireless experience for the user. Enterprises have been at the forefront of this for a while, but it usually requires many routers, switches and access points (at least!) communicating properly. This adds a lot of overhead and manpower to installing, configuring and maintaining the entire infrastructure. This, in and of itself, is not a problem. However, the more complex a network becomes, the higher the likelihood that there is a misconfiguration that can cause a security incident. This is why it is important to have one device aware of the entire network, rather than relying on separate systems that control many different functions.

Most systems will have either a standalone access point/router or will have a wireless infrastructure system that centrally manages multiple access points. You then have to use a separate device to do your routing and firewalling and perhaps even a third (or more) to do proxying. Our flagship Astaro Security Gateway is about to get another great feature. It will act as a central wireless control point. You would now be able to configure your wireless devices and integrate them directly into your security configuration seamlessly. If you add this on with our new RED system, you can even centrally manage many sites’ wireless and security infrastructure from one system. This will greatly reduce the overhead incurred by having to learn multiple systems, install and maintain them. In a word, it becomes easy.

In the end, history will tell us what this past decade’s milestones truly were. Perhaps we will look on the decade and remember getting our hands on our first touch screen device. Maybe it will be about mass marketing gadgets rather than full computing platforms. I know that I will be remembering how wireless technology began to take off. I will also remember being part of a team that helped make it easier on everybody.


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