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MWC: Symantec improves mobile data security

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At this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Symantec announced advances in its enterprise mobility strategy to secure mobile data and enable business productivity.

Symantec has announced significant advances in core areas of its enterprise mobility strategy across Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7 platforms. These advances help customers secure mobile data and enable business productivity across both corporate managed and personally owned unmanaged devices by providing cross-platform, multi-application protection.

Symantec is empowering enterprises to foster mobile productivity by enabling new business models that rely on diverse mobile devices and innovative mobile applications. Symantec’s comprehensive data and application security address enterprises’ concerns by applying corporate security policies uniformly on all mobile devices, endpoints and applications. Symantec’s modular enterprise mobility platform will allow these services to be delivered via on-prem and SaaS models, as part of existing security and management solutions, to drive operational efficiencies and lower total-cost-of-ownership.

‚Our recent State of Mobility Survey highlighted that 59 percent of enterprises are making line-of-business applications accessible from mobile devices, representing a dramatic shift in the nature of mobility from an email extension to a core business enabler,‚ said CJ Desai, senior vice president, Endpoint and Mobility Group, Symantec.

‚Symantec is at the forefront of enabling enterprise productivity. With these new enhancements to our mobile portfolio, we will offer the most comprehensive solution set for securing mobile devices, apps and data. With Symantec, enterprises no longer have to choose between productivity and security. We are changing the game by allowing them to confidently achieve both.‚

This announcement advances Symantec’s enterprise mobility strategy by enhancing capabilities in device management, threat protection and enterprise integration.

Device management

For enterprises that need a solution to centrally secure and manage mobile devices and applications, Mobile Management includes security policy management and application management for Android, iOS and Windows Mobile 7 platforms.

From a unified management perspective, Symantec is announcing Mobile Management for Microsoft SCCM will be generally available in March. This, in addition to existing integration with Altiris IT Management Suite from Symantec, will make Mobile Management available for two of the most widely deployed management platforms. This enhanced support gives enterprises the visibility and control required to confidently embrace the proliferation of mobile devices.

According to Symantec’s State of Mobility Survey, 67 percent of enterprises are concerned with malware attacks spreading from mobile devices to internal networks. With multiple app stores and unchecked applications, Android is a frequent target for malware, raising the possibility of data theft and browser-based phishing attacks. In response, Symantec plans to bring its anti-malware technology and global intelligence network capabilities to the Android platform with Mobile Security for Android.

With the release of Mobile Security for Android, Symantec will help prevent rogue applications from stealing corporate and personal data and will enable safe web browsing. This solution will be generally available in late summer 2012.

Enterprise integration

According to the same survey, 65 percent of enterprises cited data loss as one of their top concerns for mobile adoption. Symantec addresses the problem with Data Loss Prevention for Tablets, which is now generally available. Available first for the iPad, this solution monitors and controls the transmission of confidential data by applying industry leading fingerprinting and advanced machine learning technologies. Combined with Symantec’s recent release of Mobile Management, Data Loss Prevention for Tablets provides the industry’s strongest closed-loop solution to enable organisations to support business productivity and personal use concurrently across corporate and personal email, web communications and native applications.

No enterprise data is secure without proper access and authentication policies in place. To enable strong user and device authentication to enterprise networks and applications, Mobile Management is integrated with the new Managed PKI Service v8.3, which includes certificate management enhancements for iOS devices. This simplified integration automates the steps involved in extending PKI systems to mobile devices for user identity and authorisation, speeding the time to value with a user friendly, transparent process.

With 31 percent of IT personnel currently dealing with mobile related initiatives, driving efficiency and lower total-cost-of-ownership is paramount. To deliver a broader array of choices for enterprises to manage their mobile deployments, Symantec will be making its enterprise mobility platform available.

This console-agnostic platform will help Symantec extend its reach in the protection of mobile users by allowing enterprises, partners and telcos to quickly and efficiently integrate their offerings with a common web services and agent architecture.

In combination with Symantec O3 ‚ the company’s cloud information protection platform ‚ the Symantec enterprise mobility platform will enable secure usage of cloud apps from mobile devices. This combination provides layered information security and information management controls on the device and in the cloud to secure native applications as well as SaaS use-cases. With support for a wide variety of cloud apps and services and integration with wide variety of identity sources, Symantec enables innovative business models created in the confluence of cloud and mobile technologies.

Robert Kalinofski, Principal Consultant, Carbn Security says: ‚Securing tablets is a hot issue. It’s where the workforce is going, and it is critical to control the information that is leaving from these devices. Symantec Data Loss Prevention for Tablets does just that, it ensures the confidential data on tablets will be protected and helps to balance the need for security with productivity of users.‚

Leif-Olof Wallin, Research VP, Gartner says: ‚The overwhelming demands of consumerisation and access to information from mobile devices is leaving enterprise IT departments to struggle with the requirements of device choice, the new era of mobile apps and the blurred lines between corporate and personal data. Organisations must look to secure the complete ecosystem: devices, apps and data. Doing that in an efficient manner that enables business productivity will be key to success.‚

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Prepare for Wi-Fi 6

From traffic to healthcare, the applications of the new Wi-Fi 6 standard are set to transform how we connect.

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20 years ago, with the release of 802.11b, Wi-Fi began its conquest of the world networking scene in earnest. Wi-Fi can easily be called out as one of the most popular technologies of the last two decades. Just as mobile telephony and mobile internet, it has become a part of everyday life. And with the advent of IoT and the introduction of 5G, the time has come for the new standard – Wi-Fi 6.

Beyond being significantly faster than the previous generation, Wi-Fi 6 delivers up to four times greater capacity. Latency is vastly improved, allowing for near real-time use cases. Wi-Fi 6 is also easier on connected devices’ batteries.

So what impact will Wi-Fi 6 have on business in the coming years?

Digitisation, mobility and IoT are driving the need for connectivity. By 2022, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all prior ‘internet years’ combined up to the end of 2016. In other words, more traffic will be created in 2022 than in the 32 years since the internet started. In 3 years, 28 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, many of which (robots, production lines, medical devices) will communicate over a wireless network. Against this background, it is easy to understand why we need a redesigned wireless standard that is more responsive to present and future challenges.

Wi-Fi 6: The business impact

“In the first phase, we expect the new wireless standard to gain a significant foothold in the B2B field, where it brings important innovations,” said Garsen Naidu, Country Manager, Cisco South Africa. “We will see it, together with other technologies, penetrate significantly into manufacturing, into the logistics industry. The technology is also more effective in high-density settings like large lecture halls, stadiums and conference rooms, so we are likely to see significant penetration in these settings too. And, with its extremely low latency, Wi-Fi 6 also promises to open up new opportunities in AR/VR, healthcare, and self-driving vehicles. ”

Ever since the launch of the Internet, every leap in network speed has had a major impact on technological innovation: 4G has brought along the age of smartphones, whilst 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will transform the business world. According to Cisco experts, these two technologies – 5G and Wi-Fi – will be widely adopted at the same time, complementing each other.

A short history of Wi-Fi

In 1999, half a dozen technology companies, including Aironet, which was later acquired by Cisco, formed the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance. The standard announced that year, 802.11b, which gained significant commercial traction, was the first to emerge under the ‘Wi-Fi’ brand. As such, 1999 marks the year in which Wi-Fi really began.

Solutions that carry the official Wi-Fi logo work consistently with the IEEE 802.11 data transfer standard. These solutions are certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which guarantees compatibility between various wireless devices. In addition, networking manufacturers have done a lot to improve compatibility. Launched as early as 2002, Cisco Compatible eXtensions is a free licensing program that has enabled other vendors’ Wi-Fi products to be securely deployed on Cisco wireless networks.

Subsequent developments in Wi-Fi technology included managing interference and increasing data stability. Cisco is supporting these with the Cisco Flexible Radio Assignment and Cisco CleanAir technologies. The latter is capable of identifying and graphically displaying radio interference, identifying the source of the problem, and directing users to other, less crowded, channels.

Challenges of the present and opportunities for the future

One of the most widespread business applications of wireless technology is office Wi-Fi. Using Wi-Fi, employees can move freely and access the network from anywhere where there is a hotspot. Wi-Fi-based analysis and location services are also becoming increasingly popular. And with the spread of IoT, Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous, and is today found everywhere from agricultural fields to production lines.

“We see promising business opportunities and a wide range of new applications. At the same time, with hundreds and thousands of new devices connecting to wireless networks, IT teams are facing increasing complexity. So we need to rethink IT architectures from the ground-up,” added Naidu.

Much of this need to rethink network architectures is driven by the enormous growth in wireless connectivity.

Wi-Fi has driven growth in general IT use, which in turn has led to the need to provide and run bigger and more complex networks with a greater variety of endpoint device types on them. This complexity ‘feedback loop’, driven in no small part by Wi-Fi, requires that new solutions are developed to deal with this complexity.

Cisco has pioneered in this area, using AI, machine learning, and machine reasoning, via products such as Cisco DNA Assurance to eliminate manual troubleshooting and reduce the time spent resolving service issues.

The latest Wi-Fi 6 developments introduced earlier this year make a consistent, efficient and seamless wireless connectivity experience a reality.

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Getting London wired

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Ruckus Wireless has been selected by Telefónica UK, which operates the O2 brand, to supply high-capacity small cell products for high-speed wireless services being deployed throughout London.

Already deployed throughout the busiest, iconic areas in central London, such as Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square, Leicester Square, Regent Street and Oxford Street, Ruckus SmartCell 8800s have initially been deployed to provide free, fast and reliable Wi-Fi to anyone.

Within a single, low-profile design, the SmartCell 8800 is the first carrier-grade, modular multi-radio system to integrate patented adaptive antenna array technology supporting multiple licensed and unlicensed radio technologies including: high-speed dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, small cell 3G/4G radios and 5GHz wireless backhaul. This gives Telefónica UK the flexibility to easily and economically offer high-speed Wi-Fi and cellular services in specific locations when needed.

‚”For O2, it’s all about us providing customers with fast and reliable connectivity where they need it,‚” said Derek McManus, chief operating officer for Telef√≥nica UK. ‚”Our vision is for Wi-Fi to be simply another access layer to our mobile core. Customers don’t really care about the underlying technology: they care about getting connected, fast and reliably. The introduction of small cells helps us to support these requirements and completely complements our mobile strategy by letting us push capacity closer to users in locations where it makes the most sense.‚”

‚”In telecoms there is now a mad race to the lamppost, and the first one there wins,‚” said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless. ‚”A big barrier in small cell deployment is simply securing the physical locations with the requisite power and backhaul to support small cells. Once physical assets secured, it becomes important for operators to exploit them with as much technology as they can. This means multi-function, carrier-grade products that are simple deploy, unobtrusive and massively scalable. SmartCell is one of those products and O2 is one of those operators taking a lead in this race.‚”

After extensive evaluations of wireless suppliers, Telef√≥nica UK selected Ruckus and its SmartCell system. ‚”It all really boiled down to who had the best Wi-Fi for carriers and the most forward-thinking strategy to integrate Wi-Fi within existing and future cellular infrastructure,‚” said McManus.

‚”Such partnerships prove that industry players are starting to see the benefits Wi-Fi is bringing to their services,‚” adds Michael Fletcher sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa. ‚”We are likely to continue to see more industry players embracing this transformation globally, and hopefully locally as well as operators look for solutions to cater for their growing customer base.‚”

Beating the Backhaul Dilemma

‚”A major challenge with small cell deployments is how to reliably backhaul traffic from potentially thousands of small cell nodes without breaking the bank,‚” said Robert Joyce, chief radio engineer at Telef√≥nica UK.‚”

Telefónica UK effectively eliminates this problem by meshing traffic over highly reliable 5GHz Wi-Fi mesh links between nodes using Ruckus Smart Mesh technology. Smart Mesh uses advanced self-organising network (SON) principles with Ruckus-patented adaptive antenna arrays (BeamFlex) and predictive channel management techniques (ChannelFly). Combined these technologies create highly resilient, high-speed Wi-Fi mesh backbone links between nodes that automatically adapt to changes in environmental conditions.

Thought by many to not be possible, Smart Mesh has demonstrated to deliver reliable backhaul for licensed cellular and unlicensed Wi-Fi traffic in both line of sight and non-line of site environments.

‚”Ruckus Smart Mesh technology is proving to offer a cost-effective, reliable and flexible alternative to conventional approaches,‚” said Joyce. ‚”With Smart Mesh, we are running fiber to just one of every five nodes. This has proven to be a huge benefit in reducing capital and operational expense with the added bonus of reducing the time to market.‚”

Big Improvements with Small Cells

Small cells represent a new architectural approach for injecting much needed capacity into service provider networks. Small cells are miniature base stations that combine licensed and unlicensed radio technology with wireless backhaul to deliver lower powered wireless signals much closer to mobile users. This results in better signal coverage, improved voice quality and higher data performance.

Small cells enable operators to provide a premium quality mobile signal where it was never previously economic, such as indoor environments and remote outdoor locations. They also enable operators to meet the burgeoning demand for mobile data, by multiplying the data capacity of the macro network at a fraction of the cost.

With the Ruckus SmartCell system, mobile operators gain a capacity boost from LTE small cells, cutting costs and complexity by co-locating and combining them with Wi-Fi access points, sharing site-lease agreements and backhaul. The integration of Wi-Fi and LTE small cells within the cellular core also helps operators optimize network utilization across the radio access network, providing a further improvement in performance, and creating a seamless experience for subscribers.

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