Three days until the Olympics - last minute preparations

News by Dan Raywood

No business should be under-prepared for the effect of the Olympics, but the issue could be the delivery of applications and services to remote workers.

No business should be under-prepared for the effect of the Olympics, but the issue could be the delivery of applications and services to remote workers.

Speaking to SC Magazine, Bernard Zelmans, general manager EMEA at Firemon, said that while businesses will be prepared for mobile workers, the issue for many may be the delivery of the applications. He commented that scalability of in-house applications will be huge issue if employees are accessing them via a VPN.

He said: “There will be a huge amount of traffic through the WAN pipe and as we work with enterprises, a part of the decision is access control to make sure that the firewall works and does a good job of knowing who can access what.”

He claimed that the traffic issue is not limited to two ports as management of the VPN technology for mobile or PC is one issue, and the other is to manage the traffic. “Once it is controlled, you need to know how they are connecting and what has access, that is when you need to put in technology and that is where the firewall plays a part,” he said.

“The firewall is a proactive security model as you can decide what you allow in. We believe that the enterprise is doing a bad job with firewall management; it has put thousands of rules in and using a security management tool is not like using an Excel spreadsheet. We are putting the security manager under tough pressure as it really needs to work fast but first we are putting on finger on it.”

Asked if he had any advice for businesses with three days to go, Zelmans said that most companies have now put technologies in place and ‘frozen' them until September. He said he didn't believe any company would take any risk regarding remote access to applications a few days before the games begin.

In terms of last minute preparations, Zelmans recommended auditing tools so that you are not going to suffer an attack so know ‘where you are', while best practise around security technology layers and on devices that are and are not being used should be done this week.

He said: “It is about visibility, but it is about process and if you have a firewall, it is closed and requests will have to be made to open it. You need process and workflow tools to track what you are doing. I hope that there will not be bad things happening and that people will be prepared to enjoy themselves.”

At the other end of the scale,a survey of 500 senior decision-makers at SMEs by Citrix found that only one in five (21 per cent) had put a business continuity plan in place for the Olympics, while only ten per cent were adopting new working practices to minimise potential interruptions.

Andrew Millard, senior director EMEA marketing for the online service division at Citrix, said: “Despite the fact that so many anticipate Olympics-related disruptions, it is surprising that almost 60 per cent of SMEs don't think that any formal change to existing ways of working is either relevant or necessary."

In terms of personal working practices, the survey found that 82 per cent of senior directors and managers have at least one smart device, either work-supplied or personally-owned, while 61 per cent of directors and managers expect to be ‘chained to their desk'.

Millard said: “The survey highlights the trend towards more remote working, supported by the increase in intelligent communications devices. The good news is that SMEs can now access simple and affordable collaboration tools that will ensure business continuity, by helping employees access the corporate network, hold meetings and stay in contact with colleagues and customers and maintain productivity, wherever they are located.”


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