Lack of knowledge about network introduces risks



What is the capability at Juniper that makes network
access control important?
The capabilities we have built at Juniper allows us to detect machines which
have been infected when they connect to the corporate network which also
involves automated remediation. In some cases, it is not possible to do the
remediation but in lot of other cases it is possible. For example, if somebody
is downloading patches and the machine shuts off, while they were away, they can
come back and turn it on. However, the chances of infection are very high in
such a case. Before the machines are patched, they can be infected. With NAC
technology, the machine has to go through a health check-up process and user has
to be authenticated and verified that they are allowed on the network, before
they get an IP address. If the user is allowed access and the machine is not
healthy, the machine can be automatically remediated. It might require a manual
remediation from the IT department. Juniper is focused on solutions that are
based on high performance networks. The real concept, here, is that if the
network is strategic to the companies, they should make sure that they have high
quality network and security equipment. We enable organizations to have greater
capabilities for the money they are spending. One thing that we emphasize in our
product is interoperability.

PC users are used to turning off the security updates.
What is the way out of this?
We have a mechanism which can detect things like turning off firewall or
anti-virus automatically. We quarantine till the problem is resolved. We can
have a white list and a black list of applications. There are several health
checks that we can do on the machine, and we can do it each time the machine is
connected to a corporate network whether wireless, wired, or remote access. The
remote access machines which could be home machines are the ones which are
likely to be infected. We got involved in this health checks through Junipers
SSL VPN products.

Working from home is something which has not taken-off due
to security issues. Your thoughts on this issue.

There are certain things that cannot be accessed from
home, but there are several other things that can be, so as to improve
productivity of such employees. For example, during the current times, when H1N1
has become almost an epidemic, it makes more sense to let employees work from
home, so that they remain safe. I think SSL VPN is the safest way to enable
those working from home as there is no need of a client to sit on the machine.

What are the key trends in the network security space?
There is a lack of realization about who is on the network, and that it
introduces risks. A lot of organizations are realizing that several devices are
on their network, and they are not aware about most of them. This is dangerous
because these unmanaged devices can become sources of infection as they are not
patched and monitored. Most organizations do not have any network access control
in place. Even in the wireless scenario, it is typical to have shared passwords
that everybody knows, especially if they are using simple wireless protocols
like WEP.

Sudesh Prasad
sudeshp@cybermedia.co.in

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