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Example research essay topic: Remote Connections - 971 words

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Remote Connections Nowadays the Internet and networks are not only the technical means of obtaining information they are also playing a major role in the sphere of business. More and more companies now opt for new Internet-based and -powered e-business initiatives, i.e. online commerce, supply-chain management, extranet collaboration etc. Such new technology as the remote access provides users of corporate LAN with remote connection solutions. It allows to connect and utilize the companys resources regardless physical or geographical location, which implies two major advantages the reduction of costs and no effect on productivity when employees are out of office. Providing remote connections to the networks via the Internet gives an entirely new meaning to keeping business critical information and resources secure.

It is absolutely necessary that companies develop and implement solutions that ensure the security and reliability of the remote systems. The amount of remote access security an organization might need varies from simple to complex according to the business challenges and costs. Remote access threats include data intrusion, system damage, and data destruction. Hackers or employees can gain unauthorized access to trade secrets, company data, and classified information, as well as damage stored information. Remote access obviously relies on the use of an open system, the Internet. This is one of the reasons there are so many significant security threats associated with remote access. A recent survey conducted by Cisco, CMGI, and Verio found that as many as three quarters of businesses on the Web have at least one of 20 widely known security holes.

The increasing complexities surrounding new remote access systems and technologies, have resulted in a wide range of security vulnerabilities for administers to combat, i.e. weak or multiple passwords, authentication data observation and replay, dial-back spoofing and so on. (Remote Access Security, Glen Doss, 2000) There are many options available for securing remote access networks, and here only few are listed. First, restricted address implies that only users with a valid address have access to the network. This is the first security line and cannot prevent stealing of equipment or forged addresses. Firewall protection is useful because individual packets can be inspected for type, source and destination. They may be quite complex, however, and it is difficult to be sure all possibilities are covered.

Caller ID will allow the server to check the phone number against an approved list and is an efficient method but cannot be extended to remote access across the network, while Callback allows for remote users to identify themselves through user name and password authentication. The server then terminates the call and calls back a predetermined number. This is a useful function but can slow the network down and is useless if the remote worker is calling from a temporary site. PAP (Password Authentication Protocol) is where passwords are transmitted at the start of a call, the downfall is that they can be easily snooped. CHAP (Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol). This challenges the user with periodic handshakes, again it can be easily snooped as it is in pure text form. RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) provides central management to the authentication servers.

(Remote access buyers' guide - Distant connections, Network News, 1999) The real driving force for remote access came with the appearance of VPNs, which allow remote access to take full advantage of the Internet by ensuring safe connections (security being of paramount importance) to private networks over the public infrastructure. This has made it possible for companies to implement remote access without the investment in often expensive RAS equipment. The majority of corporates now have Internet connectivity and so with the arrival of VPNs, it makes sense to take advantage of the existing infrastructure. Savings can also be made on the client side, as users can now dial directly into their local ISP PoP (point of presence) instead of perhaps having to make a national call. (Remote access buyers' guide - Distant connections, Network News, 1999) A new type of remote access solutions called SSL VPN is changing the way remote access is achieved. Combining existing technology and protocols (TCP/IP and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)), an SSL VPN off-loads secure processing and management of remote connections from the subscribing client and corporate server to a dedicated security appliance that typically resides between the firewall and application server.

 AEP Systems SureWare Agate appliance provides secure, authenticated access to corporate applications and resources from anywhere at anytime while also reducing costs and increasing remote access availability. Connecting from whatever device is available, for example a laptop computer, trade show kiosk, or PDA, a user can access applications that are enabled on the network using a standard browser. Unlike traditional VPN systems, SureWare Agate does not require any modification to internal Web applications or servers. Furthermore, being platform and application independent, SureWare A-Gate can publish multiple applications running on multiple diverse platforms. (Enabling Low-Cost Secure Access for Everyone. A Business and Technology Review of Secure Remote Access using an SSL VPN Appliance, 2004) There are so many threats, risks and challenges in business networking that organizations should take a systematic, thorough approach to planning and deploying secure network infrastructures.

When developing their network architecture, each area of the network should be carefully evaluated, potential threats should be found out, and appropriate security measures should be implemented. By developing an appropriate security policy, companies can move forward confidently to implement their network solutions and enjoy the many benefits of the Internet. Reference list: Enabling Low-Cost Secure Access for Everyone. A Business and Technology Review of Secure Remote Access using an SSL VPN Appliance, 2004. Retrieved April 10, 2005 from http://whitepaper.networkcomputing.com/shared/writ e/collateral/WTP/50701_71227_49008_SureWare_A-Gate _WP.pdf Glen Doss Remote Access Security, June 2000. Retrieved April 10, 2005 from http://www.gdoss.com/knowledge/ras_1.htm IT Week. Remote access buyers' guide - Distant connections, Network News, Apr 1999.

Retrieved April 10, 2005 from http://www.itweek.co.uk/features/81564.

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