Consolidating remote offices


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The answer is simple: The desire for selective consolidation reflects the realities about the requirements and management dispositions of firms. For many enterprises with larger remote sites or distributed workflows, maintaining significant ROBO IT resources is often highly desirable; there are often compelling availability or recovery reasons for keeping business-critical processes at least partially at the edge.

Resource consolidation technologies, while exciting and powerful, shouldn't be treated as a one-size-fits-all proposition. While WAFS and application-acceleration tools can transform distributed computing, it's clear their future will also require them to coexist with locally delivered and managed processes. Users tell us their data will live on the edge of the enterprise for a long time. This leads us to the next of the three key concepts in the ROBO: management controls.

ROBO security issues

Security is now top of mind in remote/branch deployments. Here are some common security issues to consider when operating across the WAN:

  1. Device-to-device authentication. It's not enough to have security just between clients and branch-office optimization devices, or between the branch servers and the WAN optimization device. The optimization

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  1. devices themselves should provide solid security.

  2. Directory integration. Scrutinize security issues relating to directory services provided to remote/ branch sites. If you're considering a WAN optimization or application-acceleration platform, explore the transparency and integration with existing user controls and management policies.

  3. Data authorizations. There are many approaches to handling data authorization at remote/branch offices. Make sure the vendor demonstrates how it ensures coherency and prevents data corruption. WAN optimization devices must communicate with each other or a central site. Understand the vendor's approach in detail.

  4. Server security integration. Users should ensure that security on their server platforms integrates with potential WAN tools. For example, make sure session integrity (e.g., SMB signing in Microsoft) is supported by the WAN tool to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.

This was first published in June 2007

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