One popular initiative has seen many local councils consolidate their operations by co-locating their staff. NHS, education, council employees and others are all congregating together in one central location in an effort to reduce property costs. While on the surface this seems a practical solution, for the IT team it’s a logistical nightmare.
Imagine if you will, each department existing in its own locale. Part of the infrastructure would typically include a physical IT network. Just like a building has walls protecting the contents inside, the network too would have barriers, or gateways, to prevent external access.
As organisations come together, under one roof, so too do the networks on which they function and this is where the complexity begins.
Sticking with the physical building analogy, if you give someone a key to the front door, without a thought to the security within the building, then that person is free to roam all the floors, corridors, offices and potentially rifle through the unlocked drawers and filing cabinets within. Similarly, a physical network is made up of several layers and it’s reliant on someone physically locking all the areas, or compartments, to prevent unauthorised access.
It is imperative that a company controls which individual has access to which services, applications and information and from where. They also need to ensure that each individual is actually who they claim to be. While this sounds pretty straight forward, it can be very complex to manage without the right tools.
Before I continue its worth clarifying that inadequate data protection will get you into a whole heap of trouble. If you’re in any doubt a quick internet search of ‘public sector data breaches’ will bring up a long list of organisations that stand testament to the size of the problem, and the penalties they’ve incurred as a result.
Instead of building separate physical or rigidly constructed networks for each organisation, one method that is gaining popularity is to create one network, and to control access to the services and data it houses at the point of entry.
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