Research institutions and Universities have a rich heritage built around the sharing of knowledge and information. The Internet was originally conceived as a mechanism for researchers to be able to do this more effectively.
The success of the Internet and the rapid development of software and hardware to support extensions of its capabilities have, however, brought with them the darker side of human creativity with the rise of hacking and malware. Sad though it might be, the reality today is that the institutions that originally founded the Internet based on the principle of openness have to place restrictions on their networks to counter the threats that have emerged.
Looking to the future, a fine balancing act is required to support new application types and methods of working while ensuring security, managing costs and maintaining a culture of openness. Against this background, this short report looks at the current position of academic and research networks, examines the challenges and some of the steps network administrators are taking to deal with them; then goes on to discuss strategies for building secure but flexible networks to support the diverse academic community.
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