Ease the Challenges Brought on by Hosted Office 365 Users with the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series

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The threat landscape is constantly evolving and there’s no end in sight. Simultaneously, organizations worldwide are dramatically changing how and where they conduct business with the adoption of cloud computing, virtualization, and mobility. As organizations of all sizes eagerly migrate from on-premises Microsoft Office to cloud-based Office 365 deployments, let’s look at some new challenges for IT.

For example, using Office 365 can increase your organization’s Internet traffic, so it’s important to evaluate the network impact of Office 365 services. Email traffic with Exchange hybrid deployment and directory synchronization activity has the most impact on bandwidth, while you might also notice a general increase in Internet traffic after migrating users to the Office 365 suite.

To mitigate such challenges as you transition to Office 365, there are a multitude of reasons why Barracuda NextGen Firewalls make sense:

Global Policy Enforcement

Today, most organizations run Office 365 in a hybrid environment by connecting Office 365 with Exchange on-premises. Putting a powerful anchoring solution in place like Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series (compatible across all of these deployments) gives your organization overarching control over policy compliance, certificate status verification, application controls, logging, malware scanning, data loss prevention, and reverse proxy security for hybrid deployments—all essential for governing hosted users. Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series cleanly integrates into your organization’s network by utilizing single software across every device in your network.

Centralized Management

Barracuda’s centralized management system can track every firewall (and other Barracuda products within your security infrastructure) wherever they live in your enterprise. You can assign varied permissions to different types of users, check the health of all connected devices and generate reports—all through a single pane of glass—no need for cross-directory syncing of all accounts’ data. Plus, users gain the convenience of single sign-on. Also, get up to speed quickly with serving all of your users; during migration, rather than reconfigure all of your distributed firewalls multiple times, do them all at once through Barracuda Cloud Control.

Security

As organizations move to Office 365, it’s imperative to take measures to mitigate risk. It’s a good idea to consider shifting some of the management resources used to oversee the basics of Exchange toward providing even higher levels of security during migration. In the past, to enable email flow between cloud and on-prem users, Exchange Online Protection servers would send Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) emails using a TLS connection. However, Microsoft doesn’t support this functionality. Normally, customers must open TCP port 25 on the firewall to the hybrid server from the Exchange Online Protection servers. Instead, there’s an easier way to secure SMTP traffic by configuring the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series to allow inbound TCP 25 traffic only from Exchange Online Protection servers to the hybrid or Edge servers.

Application Control 2.0

Set granular policies over applications like Office 365 with Barracuda’s next-generation firewall technology. You’ll maximize Office 365’s effectiveness as a collaborative tool for your users, while ensuring the integrity of your infrastructure. For example, a company may grant one department access to Facebook while blocking access for other departments, thereby maintaining greater security and subsequently, increasing user productivity by blocking non-critical online activity (e.g., limiting audio calls on Skype).

Traffic Shaping

In Office 365 deployments, organizations should explicitly prioritize their business application traffic over ad hoc Internet access using technologies that can provide Quality of Service (QoS) and application-aware traffic prioritization. You can apply such policies, ensuring traffic prioritization of previously detected Office365 traffic. When Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync reside on the local area network (LAN), there is an implicit traffic prioritization of business application access over ad hoc Internet browsing.

Application-Based Link Selection

When resource-intensive applications prevent business-critical activities like VoIP conference calls, administrators can act immediately to either end a connection or regulate its bandwidth. The combination of next-generation security and adaptive WAN routing enables the Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series to dynamically assign available bandwidth for several links based on protocol, user, location, and content, as well as applications, application categories and web filter categories. This keeps expensive, highly available lines open for business and mission-critical applications, while significantly reducing response times and freeing bandwidth. An insightful dashboard interface provides an overview of the active connections for a network, also allowing real-time actions to be taken.

Conclusion

It’s common for organizations to overlook how the influx of hosted users through Office 365 will impact their network infrastructure— introducing unnecessary and unwanted challenges. This is why putting a Barracuda NextGen Firewall on the job can help. Barracuda’s next-generation solutions guarantee a heightened level of service and availability for organizations that rely on Office 365—better managing and serving your users and their access to email, productivity applications, and available bandwidth for business and mission-critical activities. Having a Barracuda NextGen firewall that is application-aware also optimize availability by prioritizing and link balancing business-critical traffic. Additionally, granular visibility into user activity helps administrators create optimal traffic-shaping policies that are most appropriate for their organization when using Office 365. Whether you are pre-migration, in the process, or already using Office 365, join the thousands of organizations already using Barracuda NextGen Firewall F-Series to enhance their Office 365 experience.