From an IT management perspective, remote access management can be complex. Deployment, administration, testing and compliance is often multifaceted and time consuming, and security is an on-going concern.
Granted, I have talked with IT professionals who tell me VPNs - being the primary remote access technology deployed by enterprises - are not difficult to deploy and maintain. They tell me VPNs are a 'set it and forget it' technology, and they serve their organizations well because they have just a few remote workers.
That, however, is a minority perspective. The world is rapidly evolving. Gone are the days when organizations only had a handful of remote workers. Increasingly, enterprises are turning inside-out and all users are viewed as outsiders because:
- Employees, irrespective of where they access a corporate network, are mandated to use a VPN. This includes remote employees as well as those physically inside a corporate facility
- Third party contractors, casual workers, partners and customers need to get access to behind the firewall applications to do their jobs or transact business
- All users are increasingly mobile
In a world where everyone is considered an outsider and IT must deal with the constant, timely on and off-boarding of users, remote access VPN technology is complex. How complex? A 2016 survey conducted by Soha Systems (now part of Akamai Technologies), asked over 200 IT and InfoSec professionals how many and what type of hardware, software and systems they needed to touch to enable/disable a remote user. The answer: 9 to 14 different network components. (The survey's summary infographic can be found here.) If it takes 5 minutes to access and configure each of those components, it can easily take an hour - or more - to on and off board remote users. Yes, remote access has become a complex - and painful - IT function.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
Akamai recognized this problem and has released a cloud service that delivers simple, secure and convenient access to applications called Enterprise Application Access.
With Enterprise Application Access, a Cloud DMZ service, no one can get to applications directly because they are hidden from the Internet and public exposure. A unique dual-cloud architecture closes all inbound firewall ports while providing authenticated end users access to only their specific applications. Enterprise Application Access integrates data-path protection, identity access, multi-factor authentication, application security, and management visibility and control into a single service. It is an integrated, globally distributed service that eliminates the time and complexity of building an access solution out of component parts - and Enterprise Application Access can be deployed in every kind of data center or hybrid cloud infrastructure in minutes to create a central point of access and control.
With Enterprise Application Access, IT gets a service that is easy to deploy, provision, change and monitor as it does not require device software or hardware. Or end user clients (it is clientless). Managing and controlling employee and third party access becomes simple and uncluttered. As a central point of entry and control, Enterprise Application Access provides a single management pane for detailed audit, visibility, control and compliance reporting. The result is painless, secure remote access alternative to deploying VPNs.
Want to know more? Here is a short Enterprise Application Access video that highlights why remote access no longer needs to be complex.