Archive for the ‘Rethink Remote Access’ Category

With workforce mobility on the rise, remote employees are consistently in the market for easy-to-use VPN solutions that can safely connect their mobile devices to the corporate network. And given employees have a variety of mobile operators to choose from, corporations want to make it easy for users to switch in and out between these providers in order to maintain productivity on the go.

To meet these demands, NCP has rolled out an all-new Access Point Name (APN) feature in its entry and enterprise IPsec VPN clients. This automated configuration eliminates the need to manually update each device’s mobile access point when switching out SIM cards from a previous mobile operator. By analyzing the SIM card’s provider ID and using it to define the corresponding APN, identifying the appropriate dial-up parameter takes next to no time at all, allowing the user to get up and running on the network safely and easily.

Want to learn more about this feature and the NCP Secure Client’s integrated support of 3G/LTE cards? More information can be found here.

This is part two in our Q&A series on SSL VPNs. Earlier this week, we shared insight from Rainer Enders, CTO, Americas at NCP engineering, on the inception of SSL VPN and its key differentiators.

Q: What are the core strengths of SSL VPN, and when might enterprises choose to go with this protocol over IPsec VPN?

Joerg Hirschmann: The pre-installed, SSL approach is ideal for situations in which one doesn’t require transparent connections for secure remote access. For instance, SSL VPN is an optimal solution when enterprises must grant limited access to external associates or partners needing connections only to specific applications (e.g. web-based) or administrative access to specific machines through RDP or SSH sessions. However, the ideal secure remote access solution takes a hybrid approach combining the strengths of both SSL and IPsec.

Q: What about choosing to go with software solutions versus hardware appliances?

Joerg Hirschmann: A software solution is the ideal fit for a virtualized central environment, whereas appliances are usually a better fit in branch offices or a smaller environment without virtualization in place.

If you have any questions on VPNs, the IPsec and SSL protocols or anything else related to secure remote access, send them to editor@vpnhaus.com. 

 Joerg Hirschmann is CTO at NCP engineering GmbH

This is part one in our Q&A series on SSL VPNs.

Q: When SSL VPN followed IPsec VPN into the world of remote access, what was its initial purpose? How did it differentiate?

Rainer Enders: SSL VPN was introduced to address various shortcomings of IPsec VPN, such as usability, interoperability and scalability. In particular, the IPsec client-based approach was regarded as a process that was difficult to manage from both administrators’ and users’ perspectives.

When SSL was initially introduced, it was considered a client-less technology. The terminology “client-less” was created to differentiate from the IPsec client-centric approach. Obviously, SSL VPN is not client-less, as a client is still involved and is typically in the form of a web browser. Therefore, the key differentiator between the two approaches is that the SSL VPN client comes pre-installed on all OS platforms in the form of the browser, whereas IPsec VPN is separate software that, in many cases, must be installed.

Q: When should companies use a browser-based SSL VPN for secure remote access? How does this differ from applications of a Thin Client SSL VPN?

Rainer Enders: When deploying SSL VPN, great care must be taken to implement and secure the digital signature architecture. Web proxy and thin client SSL are restricted to certain access modes, and as such, should only be used in projects with limited scope with compliant access environments. SSL VPN should not be used for high security environments, as there are more points of attack and vulnerabilities.

Rainer Enders is CTO, Americas, at NCP engineering.

Stay tuned for more expert insight on SSL VPNs later this week from Joerg Hirschmann, CTO at NCP engineering GmbH.

This is the third and final entry in our Q&A series on questions related to employee provisioning and VPNs. Last week, we addressed how provisioning can benefit an organizations’ overall security postures as well as the de-provisioning tactics necessary to mitigate security risks during employee transitions. 

Question: Certain scenarios, such as short-term business partnerships, will require adaptable provisioning. How can VPN technology enable temporary and secure remote access? What are other solutions companies can use to incorporate flexibility into their workforce?

Joerg Hirschmann: VPN solutions offer different access points for various types of remote access users. In general, employees will require deeper access to corporate network resources than external partners will need. For that reason, companies should deploy VPN clients to their entire workforce, depending on the necessary access requirements, whereas external partners should access the relevant applications through client-less SSL VPNs, if possible. This will allow external partners to avoid the process of deploying software and licenses.

Organizations can also achieve temporary access, whether it be on-demand or limited hourly access,  by implementing a Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) server. With this approach, general access limitations can be set automatically, whereas on-demand access will have to be enabled–as well as disabled–manually by an administrator. Again, process quality is important.

If you have any questions that you would like answered on VPNs, remote access, network security and the likesend them to editor@vpnhaus.com. 

Joerg Hirschmann is CTO at NCP Engineering GmbH

This is part two in a series of questions related to employee provisioning and VPNs. Earlier this week, we addressed how enterprises can ensure that their provisioning processes benefit their overall security postures. 

Question: Provisioning’s security holes become particularly apparent when remote mobile access users leave a company and enterprises try to apply a one-size-fits-all de-provisioning approach. In today’s mobile, global, 24-hour business world, what de-provisioning tactics are necessary to mitigate security risks during employee transitions?

Joerg Hirschmann: The best de-provisioning approach will be one that does not rely on a singular component to keep up with an organization’s changing needs. For instance, a provisioning process should go beyond the ordinary capability of disabling an account; instead, an organization should use the scalable method of PKI (certificate based authentication), which offers an additional option to withdraw remote access permission by revoking the user’s certificate. Similar offerings are available through One-Time-Password tools, which can also disable specific tokens, for example.

At the end of the day, the quality of the automated process will dictate how effective provisioning and de-provisioning will be.

Stay tuned for more on employee provisioning and VPNs next week. If you have any questions that you would like answered, as related to VPNs, remote access, network security and the likesend them to editor@vpnhaus.com. 

Joerg Hirschmann is CTO at NCP Engineering GmbH