What’s the point of your Local Area Network (LAN)?

Scott Alan Miller, noted storage and network expert at NTG and an avid contributor to the forum MangoLassi.it has some interesting ideas on that very topic:

Companies that move away from the LAN basically need to move from the idea that there is a special network on which security is low and access is high and you just throw data that you want hoping that people will be able to get to it and outsiders will not. The LAN was designed in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Internet was not an issue and security was low. Fundamentally, the LAN is a weird thing. It only seems logical because it was the easiest way to grant access to resources and it has been passed down from generation to generation of IT Pros by their mentors.

Scott goes on to state that the LAN only really serves a few limited purposes today, Active Directory (AD) and shared network storage. These two elements force startups to waste money on a LAN environment and keep many enterprise organizations off the cloud.

Scott does a terrific job breaking down the purpose of AD, its limitations and the workarounds his business uses in their NoLAN environment. We’re going to focus on the storage element in a NoLAN environment. What are the risks? Does this fit your NoLAN objectives? We’re going to touch on all of these in short order.

The Goal of a NoLAN Business Environment

Before we go any further, let’s break down the goal of a NoLAN business environment. Usually, the primary NoLAN goal for startups is to keep costs down, increase integration and keep business moving, no matter where the office or users are located. For instance, SmartFile uses several cloud business platforms for one or all of those reasons:

Service Use Case
Google Apps Email and Spreadsheets
Ring Central Business Phone System
Jive Intranet/Internal Communications
Slack Quick Internal Chat
GitHub Deployments
ZenDesk Support Tickets
Zapier Integrations
SmartFile File Storage & Management

These tools can be securely accessed anywhere by any member of our team. For many startups, that is the goal, creating infrastructure that is flexible, fast and still reliable.

For IT, there might be another, maybe even more important goal of going NoLAN. By removing your LAN, you’re eliminating a malware highway. As Scott mentioned above, the LAN was designed 30-40 years ago with the goal of allowing easy access between devices on your network. Today, malicious payloads use LANs to quickly infect an entire network, because each aspect of the network trusts each other. By removing the LAN, you might be removing the biggest threat to your business.

The Storage Problem

For many companies, there is a storage issue with the NoLAN environment. Without a LAN, where do you put your files? How does your team access those files? How secure are my files?

By going with a file management and hosting provider like SmartFile, you can give your team an online file server, with enhanced audit controls, email alerts and management features. The best part? You can brand the browser interface, which acts as the user’s file manager. For more native activity, SmartFile can be mounted through WebDAV or our Desktop Client for PCs, letting users store, share and access files with a few mouse clicks on their local machine.

Unlike your LAN, SmartFile has threat protection built in at many connection points. SmartFile’s encryption, compliance tools, anti-virus scanning and built in firewalls — built with varying technology to prevent one vulnerability for harming the entire stack — help protect your files.

Interested in a cloud-based file server for your NoLAN business? Try SmartFile  free for 14 days, no credit card or installation required!

What if you want to host the storage in your datacenter, not the cloud? This is a concern for enterprises or compliance concerned businesses. If this describes you, consider hosting SmartFile in your own data center through an on-prem setup. You’d get all the bonus security features of your datacenter (potentially physical security enhancements, redundancy and firewalls). This would also be more efficient than a SmartFile cloud setup because your machine would be your own (not shared with other organizations) which gives you more resources. It could be hosted closer to your physical location, improving the speed of uploads and downloads.

Interested in an on-prem file storage and exchange engine hosted in your  datacenter for NoLAN storage? Click here to get more info!

The Problems with the NoLAN Setup

There are a few risks of a NoLAN setup. For instance, services could go down temporarily, impacting your access. Also, if your internet goes down in the office, you might not be able to access these cloud services. At SmartFile, we have redundant internet, in case one service provider fails.

You’ll need to ask these providers some tough questions. Where is their data stored? Is it backed up? How easily can I back it up? For SmartFile’s storage, your data is stored in triplicate and on-prem devices can be backed up to our cloud services or Amazon S3.

Will More Businesses Turn to a NoLAN Setup?

Going with the NoLAN environment is becoming more promising, especially for small businesses but also for many enterprise businesses. Storage for the NoLAN or LimitedLAN business environment has been an issue, but services like SmartFile can help you handle that smoothly.

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About Curtis Peterson

I'm the Digital Marketing Manager for SmartFile who loves content, email marketing and web analytics. As a child, I built awesome websites with animated starry night backgrounds and multi-colored font headers on AngelFire and GeoCities.

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