FDE and VPN: Don’t Throw out the Security Baby with the Legacy Bathwater, Part 1

By Cameron Laird In “Die, VPN! We’re all ‘telecommuters’ now–and IT must adjust,” John C. Welch accurately describes much of the changing landscape through which corporate computing is traveling now: Work is as likely to take place outside the office as in; Work in some domains has become as likely to take place on an employee’s device as one owned by the corporation; A large percentage of all work can be done through the Web; and “Endpoint” (in)security is nothing short of horrifying: the data equivalents of bars of gold are regularly walked unescorted through neighborhoods so bad they can’t help but end up in the wrong hands. The situation is unsustainable; what should be done? Welch’s conclusion: adopt full-disk encryption (FDE)–and ditch VPNs. His arguments for FDE have merit. The ones against VPN? Well, I expect to use VPNs for a long time into the future, and you should, too. Here’s why: What is VPN? First, let’s review the basics: information technology (IT) departments are responsible for computing operations. Computers have, in general, the capacity to make general-purpose calculations. This means both that IT is called on to perform a wide, wide range of tasks–everything from routing telephone connections in a call center, to control of machine actions in a steel plant, to running accounting programs in a hair salon–and also that there is inevitably more than one technique to complete each task or fulfill each requirement. Even the simplest analysis of the “remote problem” exhibits these characteristics. Let’s begin with Welch’s starting point: much of the work of the future will be done outside the conventional workplace,...

Why You Need a VPN that Supports Seamless Roaming

By Sylvia Rosen Imagine, you’re at the train station on your way to an important meeting. While you’re waiting, you’re drafting an urgent email. Just before you hit the send button, your wireless connection is lost – and with it, you lose your VPN connection and the link to your office email. Frustrated, you log back in, crossing your fingers that your email saved. Of course, it didn’t. Twenty minutes – and lots of good ideas — down the drain. Sound familiar? Too many VPN solutions aren’t enabled to handle connection outages or changes, resulting in wasted productivity, and even worse, lost data.  This hassle is eliminated with VPNs that support roaming among different types of networks — allowing users to focus on business instead of worrying about their connection. VPNs with seamless roaming automatically switch to the best available network and ensure that users never have to re-authenticate. Seamless Roaming Seamless roaming enables smooth transitions between networks, making it ideal for traveling professionals who are always on the go. VPNs that enable seamless roaming secure your data, even in the event of a wireless outage or switching between networks, like Wi-Fi and 3G. “If all your traffic goes to the VPN while you are connected to it, then everything is secure; nobody can really attack your machine,” explains Rainer Enders, the CTO Americas for NCP engineering. “When the VPN drops, you go back to regular ‘connecting mode’ through the Internet. If your VPN doesn’t enable seamless roaming, you now have a connecting path that is an insecure tunnel, which is why your connection to your corporate server will...

What We're Reading, Week of 11/7

Virtual Strategy Magazine, Q&A with Rainer Enders of NCP engineering InfoSecurity.com, IT Security Spending Highly Buoyant, Despite Economic Gloom CSO, IPv6: Click, Clack Front and Back PC Magazine, Mobile Users Want Privacy, Do Little to Protect...

What We’re Reading, Week of 11/7

Virtual Strategy Magazine, Q&A with Rainer Enders of NCP engineering InfoSecurity.com, IT Security Spending Highly Buoyant, Despite Economic Gloom CSO, IPv6: Click, Clack Front and Back PC Magazine, Mobile Users Want Privacy, Do Little to Protect...

Live, VPN! Why VPNs are a must-have for today's workforce

In response to last week’s post, “Rainer on Ars Technica: Live, VPN!” some readers have requested the full article here on VPN Haus, so here it is. (reprinted with the permission of Ars Technica) By Rainer Enders The recent Ars Technica article Die VPN! We’re all ‘telecommuters’ now—and IT must adjust declares that we’re all “telecommuters” now, perennially connected to our corporate data via smartphones, laptops and tablets. This is certainly true, but this reality actually flies in the face of the article’s main point that VPNs should die. One of the commenters on the piece posted: “VPN isn’t going anywhere.” And the commenter is right—VPN is indeed here to stay, especially now that we’re all telecommuters. Here are some reasons why The year of the data breach From Sony to Gucci, high-profile companies became victims of hacking with incredible frequency in 2011. Corporate heists of this scale are typically complicated, but there are a few common lessons learned that we can glean from these breaches. For one, hackers are relentless and sophisticated, and will take advantage of every opportunity to sabotage a corporate network. This is the stark reality of today’s world, where stolen data is a billion-dollar business—not the climate in which businesses want to slack off on their VPN protection. In fact, breaches have become so prevalent that the US Securities and Exchange Commission recently introduced guidelines that urge companies to disclose security breaches in order to protect investors. But this isn’t just about corporate IT policies. This is also about protecting the privacy of individuals. The Sony breach exposed the personal information of millions of users, while a Stanford hospital breach this past fall...