Let unified comms join your existing upgrade projects

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Agencies should consider adding unified communications upgrades to projects already under way

Although it might seem counterintuitive, organizations that have already successfully implemented unified communications claim it works best to combine a UC deployment with other changes already in development.

For example, federal organizations are working to consolidate data centers and add better remote access capabilities to achieve compliance with key federal mandates, including the Office of Management and Budget's 25-point plan and the Telework Enhancement Act. 

Organizations that have successfully implemented UC, as indicated in CDW-G’s 2011 Unified Communications Survey, reported that along with deploying UC solutions, they are also often doing at least one of the following:

  • Establishing a new call center or expanding an old one.
  • Integrating or consolidating two or more existing networks. 
  • Expanding or deploying a telework program for a significant portion of the organization’s workforce.
  • Replacing obsolete or inadequate existing networks.
  • Implementing a continuity of operations plan and supporting capabilities.
  • Integrating branches of distributed operations, such as  field offices.

That is why CDW-G executives recommend that IT managers take advantage of the opportunity to update communications systems by discussing with top agency management officials how to couple telework and consolidation improvements with improvements in communications that can enhance the organization’s efficiency and generate savings.

Best practices for securing wireless network access

Security practices for protecting wireless networks, especially connections to primary wired infrastructures, have matured in recent years. It’s now possible for wireless local-area networks to not only achieve the performance rates of wired networks but also remain equally well protected if IT managers implement the right combination of security measures.

CDW-G’s technical experts offered the following advice for how to better secure wireless access.

  • Beware of spoofing assaults. When devising wireless security strategies, network administrators must remain wary of spoofing, a longtime practice in which hackers hijack the communications of users who believe they’re sending sensitive information through a secure pipeline. 
  • Encryption and authentication features, now considered a standard feature of switches and access points, must be used to protect wireless transmissions. Defending against vulnerabilities is complicated because wireless signals can travel through walls, leaving networks open to intrusions outside an organization’s building. 
  • Special intrusion prevention systems for wireless environments can help network administrators quickly identify unauthorized devices that try to break through security defenses. That is critically important for federal agencies and departments when securing areas where wired and wireless networks intersect.
  • Wireless-savvy intrusion prevention devices are worth examining because they can beat back denial-of-service attacks designed to crash networks. Geofencing, a virtual perimeter around a geographic site, and other related techniques can be used to help IT managers grant access only to devices running at known and trusted physical locations. 
  • A virtual LAN is another wireless security tool that can help regulate traffic using access control lists to guard against vulnerabilities that arise when guest users must find a way to connect to the Internet via a wireless link. IT managers might instead choose to dedicate a wireless LAN controller to divert guest traffic to a secure location outside the organization’s firewall. 
Source: CDW-G

About the Author

Barbara DePompa is a freelance writer for 1105 Government Information Group’s Content Solutions unit. This Snapshot report was commissioned by the Content Solutions unit, an independent editorial arm of 1105 Government Information Group. Specific topics are chosen in response to interest from the vendor community; however, sponsors are not guaranteed content contribution or review of content before publication. For more information about 1105 Government Information Group Content Solutions, please email us at GIGCustomMedia@1105govinfo.com