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    F5 Keeps Remote Workers Connected and Secure with BIG-IP APM

The quick spread of COVID-19 has disrupted daily life across all continents. This fast-moving outbreak has led to new precautions and mandates; new travel bans issued by governments and organizations; and to the postponement of sporting events, meetings, and conferences around the world. Just recently, for example, F5 shifted our customer conference, Agility 2020, to a virtual event as a precaution and to protect the health of our customers and employees.

It has also led to school closures in over 30 countries – including the US, Japan, Italy and India. According to the United Nations, these closures have disrupted the education of over 350 million students worldwide, not to mention the lives of parents around the world who now have to modify their workdays to accommodate children who should be at school.

COVID-19 has also led to organizations worldwide, including F5, to ask their employees to work remotely (where able) in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, and to insure the health and well-being of their employees. The actions of these organizations are sensible yet they have led to major disruptions in manufacturing, supply chains and productivity.

Many organizations have dusted off their old business continuity plans (BCP), only to find out that they haven’t been kept up to date with available technologies. Organizations need to know how to judge and manage the impact that COVID-19 will have on their organizations and day-to-day business.

Unfortunately, attackers are now leveraging the fear and uncertainty caused by the spread of the coronavirus to try to extract money and critical information from organizations and individuals. The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided warnings about attackers posing as WHO representatives phishing for donations or corporate information and user credentials; or including malware-riddled attachments and links urgently imploring the user open the file or click the link.

With the lives of so many workers being turned upside down due to school closings, work from home mandates, and other COVID-19 related protections being put in place, how do we stay productive and safe from bad actors?

For teams who need to work remotely, some use virtual private networks (VPN) to help stay securely connected to their corporate network and applications. Other teammates may use corporate applications that are deployed to public clouds or that are SaaS-based. The question is, how can an organization ensure that their house-bound and remote workers are being productive, able to access applications that today are located anywhere, from any location, over different devices, while keeping their corporate apps and information secure?

F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM), F5’s access management solution, is an answer.

BIG-IP APM delivers all of the tools that organizations need to ensure their users remain up and running, and above all, productive. APM also protects user access from all locations, over all devices. The industry’s most scalable access management solution, APM consolidates remote access, web access management, and Identity Aware Proxy (which helps drive Zero Trust Application Access), enabling organizations to enable the form of secure application access that their organization and users require.

  • For organizations requiring remote access to their network and all of its resources for their users working from home or remotely during this outbreak, APM, through its SSL VPN capabilities, enables secure remote access to corporate resources from any network, and from any device. APM ensures secure, fast network and application access for remote users, while protecting corporate network resources, applications, and sensitive data from malware, theft or hack, and rogue or unauthorized access, leveraging context-aware policies.
  • BIG-IP APM’s web access management (WAM) capabilities ensures users secure access to web-based applications from anywhere, every time. APM proxies your organization’s web applications, enabling centralized authentication and authorization, supporting single sign-on (SSO) and federation. APM also ensures that a user’s device adheres to your organization’s approved security posture before allowing access to your network for SSL VPN access, or your web-based apps. And APM’s web access management capabilities are simple to setup, providing a seamless, simple user experience.
  • For organizations who are adopting a Zero Trust architecture, BIG-IP APM delivers Identity Aware Proxy capabilities. Today, your applications can reside anywhere, including in the public cloud as native cloud apps or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), in a private cloud, or on-premises or in a data center. That alone complicates application access for you and your users. And it also increases your attack surface, leaving your apps at risk of human error, credential theft and attack, and account takeover (ATO). APM’s Identity Aware Proxy delivers seamless, secure application access that leverages a trusted identity source, include Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS); enforces modern authentication – such as identity federation, SSO, and even multi-factor authentication – for all applications, even those that do not natively support modern authentication; and is driven by context- and identity-aware policies, to ensure that only the right users are able to access the right apps at the right time.

In addition, APM’s webtop ensures that your users are able to access any approved application from a single web page upon authorization and authentication, regardless of where the application resides – in the public cloud, SaaS, in a private cloud, on-premises or in a data center. And, based on context-aware policies, if the user’s location requires additional authentication, then that can be implemented as well. It’s a simple, secure, and enhanced experience for your users that helps limit support calls and headaches.

F5’s BIG-IP APM can help you and your team remain productive and secure while working from home or remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. With BIG-IP APM you can ensure secure, consistent, context- and identity-based access to your network as well as any app, anywhere, anytime for the right user, in the right context.

F5 BIG-IP APM is available on-premises (BIG-IP iSeries Appliance or BIG-IP VIPRION), virtually (BIG-IP Virtual Edition), or in the public cloud (Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP)). It is also available for all F5 business and licensing models (perpetual, subscription and PAYG).

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