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For critical day-to-day online business operations

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DQW Bureau
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SECURITY ISSUES

Would you use a bank that doesn't take steps to maintain your accounts in the most secure and reliable way possible? Of course not. You want a bank that offers the best possible protection for your money. That's the foundation for your financial relationship. You also want a server that offers the best possible protection for your computer-based information and communications. That's the foundation for your enterprise network.

Network security goes far beyond simply having a directory that allows only authorized users to access network resources. Inside the network, you need security controls that dictate which users can see which files. Just as entering the bank vault requires special authentication, using certain files on a NetWare server can also require extra security clearance.


Providing secure communications over Internet connections places extra demands on a network operating system.

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E-commerce needs for protected financial transactions led to digital certificates that encrypt messages and guarantee the identity of their source.

Inside your network, authorized users must be identified. Outside your network, authorized transactions must be identified, protected, and guaranteed. NetWare 6 provides the tools necessary for safe and secure communications and transactions.

Your company welcomes anyone into the lobby and into some portions of the building, yet requires authorization for an individual to enter confidential areas like executive offices, accounting, and product storage. NetWare 6 manages access to your network resources in much the same way.

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Security needs range across your entire network. Network security often uses password authentication to verify users of network resources; i.e., give John access to that particular network directory. NDS eDirectory provides the foundation for all NetWare security, supporting this critical function with the best fault-tolerant distributed directory available today.

Today, NetWare 6 offers rock-solid access authentication for every user, but goes far beyond the example where John accesses a particular directory. Single Sign-on gives John access to all networked company servers, regardless of type or operating system (with Novell Account Management). Policies controlling groups of users or network resources reduce administration time while allowing great flexibility for users and partners.

Novell BorderManager Enterprise Edition, available separately, is a powerful Internet security management suite that includes firewalls, authentication, virtual private networking tools, and caching services for networks of all sizes. BorderManager integrates tightly with eDirectory, providing the first security management solution to support single sign-on controlled access to company information over any internal or external network.

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Critical communications within the corporate network or between your company and partners can be guaranteed with the Novell Certificate Server (included in NetWare 6). Novell Certificate Server 2.0 is a scalable, secure public-key cryptography product that creates, issues, and manages certificates. Certificates are digital attachments that verify the identity of the sender of a message. In addition, certificates give receivers a simple way to encode their replies.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FILE SECURITY, CONTROL, AND RELIABILITY

Some companies claim "file" servers are passe, unnecessary, and a relic of the past. Let's look at that assumption in more detail.

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When a computer does something, how are the results saved? In a file. When a computer receives something, what does it receive? A file. When you ask a computer for information, what gets searched? Files.

Do you know how your paycheck gets printed? Payroll files, whether on a bookkeeper's laptop or on the largest corporate mainframe, describe and print your paycheck. See why we believe files are the lifeblood of your company?

Software vendors who claim file servers no longer matter don't have quality file servers with strong security, access controls, and reliability. When you have a secure, reliable, and high-performance file system, as with NetWare 6, you have the foundation of a complete enterprise e-commerce application system. A rock-solid file system holds applications together.

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Many desktop operating systems can now share files, but that doesn't make them file servers in the NetWare sense. Local desktop file sharing lacks strong security, provides only rudimentary management control, and relies on a desktop OS for reliability. If that were all NetWare had to offer in the way of file service, we would have died with disco. Besides all the other weaknesses, peer-to-peer file sharing lacks any convenient method of file backup. Many NetWare servers were purchased in the 1980s to provide centralized backup for critical files, and that need remains strong today.

Some analysts claim that storage needs now double every year. With the amount of new content that is developed and reshaped for Web use every year, that figure may be optimistic. Whether your storage needs increase by 50% or 200% each year, storing files you can't retrieve only adds frustration to your workday.

Novell led the way in the 1980s to higher-performance and higher-capacity storage solutions, and we continue that leadership today. Need to place 500,000,000 files in a single volume? We do that. Need to mount that volume in seconds rather than hours? We do that, too.

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STANDARDS OR STRANDED

Standards drive communications today. Two decades ago, computer and networking vendors developed their own machines, protocols, file formats, and operating systems. As standards developed, communication capabilities exploded. One need look no further than the Internet and World Wide Web to see culture-changing communications developed by cooperation rather than competition.

Novell engineers developed our own communications protocol, IPX (Internetwork Packet eXchange) two decades ago, just like our competitors. As TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) grew in popularity with the Internet, we added TCP/IP to the communication tools within NetWare clients and server operating systems. Today, a pure NetWare environment functions perfectly well using only TCP/IP for communications, exactly like the Internet.

The World Wide Web uses HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) as the communications protocol between Web clients and Web servers. HTTP relies on the foundation of TCP/IP for operation.

NetWare 6 adds more file access protocol standards into the server than ever before. NFS (Network File System), AFP (AppleTalk File Protocol), CIFS (Common Internet File System), FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and WebDAV, now ship with the basic NetWare 6 package. These protocols are critical to communications generally and to e-commerce transactions specifically. There are many benefits to the end user. For example, an iMac can now connect to a NetWare file server right out of the box without a NetWare client. The same is true for UNIX or Windows users.

The "standard" standards joke is that if you don't like the standards out there, make your own. As the networking world started the movement from proprietary systems (for example, IPX from Novell and DECnet from DEC), each company pushed to get as many of their proprietary functions into the developing standard as possible. Computing means competition, so companies who made minimal changes to their existing protocols in order to adhere to the new standard could get their products to market sooner than their competitors could.

The most critical standards supported by Novell for customers interested in using the Internet, the World Wide Web, and any type of e-commerce applications, are:

  • TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
  • LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)
  • XML (Extensible Markup Language)
  • SQL (Standard Query Language)
  • ODBC (Open DataBase Connectivity)
  • JDBC (Java DataBase Connectivity)
  • JavaBeans
  • JNDI (Java Naming and Directory Interface)
  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
  • HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)
  • DNS (Domain Name System)
  • DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol)
  • J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition)

Some companies pervert the standards process by "adding functionality" to the accepted and globally adopted standards. Microsoft, for example, misuses a field in DNS (Dynamic Name Service) in their Active Directory. They claim they added a feature, but the result breaks connections between Active Directory servers and standard DNS servers. DNS provides the means for translating human-readable names (Novell.com) into TCP/IP addresses (192.233.80.9) so that network nodes can communicate. Tampering with DNS standards skews the global Internet toward one company's proprietary viewpoint.

Today's computer room no longer contains a single vendor's products. Twenty or 30 years ago, a company could rely on a single supplier for a complete computing infrastructure. Companies such as Wang, Burroughs, Univac, Control Data, RCA, Honeywell, and GE provided completely proprietary systems, but they provided everything a customer needed. At least that's what their advertising claimed at the time. We can't check their current advertising, because none of these companies remains in the computer business.

Supporting standards today could be the most critical commitment a vendor can make, both for the sake of their customers and for the company's continued existence. The market speaks loudly and clearly on this subject today: follow standards or get stranded. Follow proprietary solutions, even when they're called "extended standards" and get pummeled by your competitors and your single-source vendor.

Standards make it possible to add the network pieces you need as your network computing needs change. Buy into a product that distorts standards, and you lose your leverage, flexibility, and ability to change as the marketplace changes. Buy into a product that supports standards, such as NetWare 6, and you'll always be ready to move and serve customers.

ALL STANDARD FILE PROTOCOLS LEAD TO NETWARE

Earlier we mentioned proprietary protocols, such as IPX or DECnet, and how they've given way to standardized protocols. While it may sound like the world spins around a single protocol today, that's not the case. Novell products and NetWare 6 support a variety of different file protocols, all of which are standards in their own markets. File protocols allow different client machines to communicate with the NetWare file system. With NetWare 6, you can now take an iMac out of the box, plug it into your network and immediately begin accessing files off of a NetWare 6 server without installing any additional client software. It's that easy. The same holds true for a Windows client, a UNIX workstation, an FTP client, or a Web browser.

The emphasis is to work within an existing infrastructure, capitalizing on the strengths of each platform and clients, not to rip out the existing infrastructure and replace it with a one-size-fits all solution.

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