Hand on heart can you say with 99% certainty that all of your field UEs are patched and upgraded with all the security and firmware updates?
Core network is always a focus, but can that 3G modem on a tank in the middle of nowhere be accounted for? Or will it be when the public 3G network is decommissioned that you’ll find out?
Increasingly with OT and IT connectivity integrating at a rapid pace, keeping track of all the UEs is an exponentially challenging task. But the data is still coming in so no problems, right?
Until the data stops flowing.
With the imminent switch off of the 3G network across Australia, should your current UEs be migrated to carrier 4G/5G or even migrated to Private Network?
Why is UE Management critical?
It’s so easy to deploy new UEs across a network. They don’t cost a lot, each business unit has their use cases and soon hundreds, if not thousands of devices can be blissfully delivering happily on the latest industrial wireless.
But at some point, the critical question will arise – who is looking after them all?
The look of fear is real when you ask when the last security patch or update was deployed.
And when those UEs are spread across a vast Private 4G or even greater carrier mobile network…that’s where the fun begins.
How can you relieve the headache?
First way is to have a robust registration framework and documentation that captures all UEs connected to the network. But…unless you’ve had that running from the very beginning, the horse has well and truly bolted for many so registration can be limited in its effectiveness.
Network analysers do a great job of identifying what is actually connected to the network but how do you know where the UE is, particularly if it is part of a wireless network?
Self-reporting by end users is a way forward, but we tend to find that user groups don’t keep the records themselves. They connect a new device to solve a business requirement, and then move onto the next problem.
What are the priority areas?
Enterprises tend to have a good fix on firewalls, routers and switches. Where we tend to find gaps when we do network reviews is on the wireless side of the network. These tend to be Access Points which aren’t patched, mobile data devices which aren’t covered by an MDM, and carrier mobile devices used to access corporate systems or feed data back to corporate systems.
Aqura’s Principal for Packet Networks, Adnan Raja highlighted edge networks tend to be the most dynamic and evolving, yet some of the least managed.
“Latest generation wireless can help to cover gaps quickly and effectively for users, but if work hasn’t been done to manage the devices using those edge networks, it does require a bit of heavy lifting to bring it all under control,” said Raja
“And with the line between public and private so thin these days, the risk is even greater than ever.”
And on top of the security risks of unknown UEs accessing enterprise networks, many carrier 3G mobile devices will be affected by the 3G switch off that is taking place next year.
Two Feet and a Heartbeat
Unfortunately for many, the solution is not a technology one. It’s a people driven approach.
Old school, desktop analysis to map UEs and in some cases do an actual site audit. Yes, people walking around doing a review of connected devices to identify, log and determine if the devices are up to date.
So, if you have a UE headache, let’s talk. Our team has helped many organisations get a grip and bring the UEs under control to manage security and performance.