In my day to day activity, I frequently have to discuss with customers and partners about technology around mobility and security.
In the last 4 weeks I had a lot of requests from customers in the context of H1N1 disease, this is why I created this post.
The main concern about this disease (I would say ‘all deseases’, but TV and Radio station talk a lot about H1N1) is that people could get infected and become sick, or could decide to not come to work just to prevent this risk (bus, subway, train, airports, …) : Lucky me, home working is part of Microsoft culture, so I will not hesitate a second if this happens, without impacting my day to day activity.
Check confirmed H1N1 cases per country here (WHO)
This could have a severe impact on company’s organisation, especially if they are not ready to cope with such problem. I mean here, if they are not ready to propose “home working” to their employees to minimize the impact on their business.
Most of the big companies have already a mobility infrastructure, so they just need to extend it, which means more internet bandwidth, more “simultaneous connections”, and maybe more “hardware” authentication devices(token, smartcards, …).
But most of the companies don’t have such solution !
What are the solutions ?
At Microsoft, we have several mobility technologies. The one I am covering is Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) : More info about IAG, click here.
I think this is a great solution for such project because :
- IAG is in fact an Appliance : it is pre-installed, pre-hardened, so you just rack the server, do minimum configuration and your remote access portal is ready
- IAG is our VPN/SSL solution, and having a “network layer” approach is the quickest way to propose such service. BUT, once the crisis is over, IAG is a strong “application layer” mobility solution. You will be able to implement more security features and so be able to enhance your security in general.
- The A to Z solution can be installed between 1/2 day to 2 days max. Then all your employees will have access to the company’s network, exactly the same way as it is when they are in the building. “Security policies” implement in IAG will prevent security risks.
- IAG support a wide range of authentication mechanisms, for the most complex/expensible (OTP, Smartcards), to the most recent ones : SMS OTP, Cell Phones, Grids, … Frequently customers are afraid because they want strong authentication and sometimes it is very expensible. A wide lit of IAG technology partners propose strong authentication solutions, but at a lower price and easy to deploy.
Appliances and Virtual Appliances
As I said previously the “IAG” solution is in fact an appliance. You buy a server will all the products pre-installed by Microsoft Product group.
There is also another way to implement IAG, called Virtual Appliance.
If you rather want to use your own hardware (due to SLA, services, spare, …), you just need to install on this machine Windows 2008/HyperV, and buy a “IAG Virtual Machine” . It comes as a single big file (The Virtual Machine), with exactly the same content as a normal Appliance. The only difference with this option is that you use the hardware machine you want.
What is the best moment to implement a mobility solution ?
In fact, now 😉
We expect a lot of requests from customers in the next 2 months, so it would be great if you anticipate and implement such solution. Also, you will have time to inform your employees, train them, and make sure that everybody will be ready in case of emergency.
If you need more technical information, or if you want to locate the best partners to implement such solution in your country, send me an email and I will route you : firstname.lastname@example.org
A few interesting links I found for people leaving in France :