Core Competence White Paper Prepared for
Residential Broadband Access and the Teleworker:
Security Considerations for the IT Manager
The teleworker -- the employee who is expected to perform a majority of his or
her work duties from a residence -- may be the fastest growing part of the corporate
work force. For some enterprises, connectivity needs for the majority of its
teleworkers may be accommodated using the same technology and security measures
used for roaming and remote access. For others, the emergence of residential
broadband services offers new opportunities for extending the corporate LAN to
the residence-based employee. The high bandwidth, low latency, and "always connected"
characteristics of services based on Digital Subscriber Loop or cable modem may allow
teleworkers access to corporate LANs using NOS (Network Operating System) file,
session, and printer services, including AppleTalk, Microsoft Network, and UNIX/NFS/X.
These NOS services are generally impractical to use over traditional dialup services
because of dialup's low bandwidth, high latency, and intermittent connectivity.
Residential broadband services thus allow a qualitative difference in telelworker activities
compared to dialup services, by enabling teleworkers to use the corporate network at
home in the same way they do at the office.
The characteristics of residential broadband access services are similar to
public, switched data services
such as Frame Relay and SMDS, with one noteworthy exception. Most Frame Relay
and SMDS connections terminate at remote offices or corporate locations, where
some site security policy is typically enforced: employee identification is
required, connectivity to the public Internet is restricted and protected by
corporate firewalls, etc. Residential broadband services, as their names
imply, most often terminate in the home of a corporate teleworker. Because of
this difference, the characteristics that make residential broadband access attractive
may also raise security concerns for some IT managers.
Why is residential broadband access to a corporate network so different from modem and ISDN dial
access from a residence or hotel? Why are some IT managers
cautious about bringing DSL or cable modem services into their enterprise? Are there ways to
safely integrate residential broadband into an enterprise network? Is one
residential broadband technology safer than the rest? Let's take a closer look...
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