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Fortinet explains why secure Wi-Fi is no longer an oxymoron...

07 Aug 14

A security-centric infrastructure enables you to secure your Wi-Fi network with confidence, says Fortinet's Scott Cowan.

In a corporate environment, wireless networking should be as secure as your wired LAN. Especially with the growing adoption of BYOD (bring your own device).

Today’s managers use smartphones as an extension of their workstations. For phone calls. For email. For dashboards and sales figures. For business and social calendars. Security leaks into any of these applications is clearly unacceptable.

But Wi-Fi has the reputation as being inherently unsafe. What can you do to secure your Wi-Fi network so your management team and staff can tap into all of the resources on the corporate LAN - as well as the cloud and greater internet - with confidence? The answer is a securitycentric infrastructure.

Security-centric infrastructure

The key to building a security-centric infrastructure is treating your network as a single, integrated entity, regardless of how users are connected to it – wired, wireless or remote.

A unified security infrastructure is based on a common set of rules and policies that determine the level of access a user is granted.

Rules and policies are based on a their needs, not by which access method they use.

There are three key components to a security-centric infrastructure:

• Unified access layer

• Integrated security

• Cost-effectiveness By integrating these three components - along with real time visibility and comprehensive reporting - into your enterprise network, you’ll be able to provide the tools your team needs to thrive in today’s online workplace.

Unified access

At the heart of the hardened network are the gateway and controllers. The gateway looks after the traditional security functions: firewall, intrusion prevention system (IPS), application control, web filtering, and so on.

The controllers provide a unified access layer for all users with a common set of authentication and network security policies.

Integrated security

With a single access layer in place, the focus is now on controlling who can access the network, regardless of how they connect. Integration enables you to maintain real time visibility and control over application traffic, even unknown applications from unknown sources.

You can identify and control access on the various networks and endpoints regardless of location, device, port, protocol or IP address used.

Cost effectiveness

None of this is new. But what is changing is that you can now provide all of these security services through a streamlined, appliance-driven infrastructure. Until recently, many of these functions were distributed over servers and with little thought to integration.

A new generation of secured gateways and security appliances that treat wired, wireless and the cloud as a single entity has significantly reduced costs and management overheads.

Secure Wi-Fi doesn’t have to be an oxymoron

Hardened Wi-Fi is essential for using the internet or cloud to run your business.

By including Wi-Fi and the cloud as integrated components of your network and securing them accordingly, you’ll go a long way in providing a safe and secure environment for all of your users, regardless of location, application or device.

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