What is a LAN in Information Security?

LAN stands for Local Area Network. A Local Area Network (LAN) is a set of computers and associated devices that send a common communications line or wireless connection and share the resources of an individual processor or server inside a small geographic area generally within an office building.

Generally, the server has applications and data storage that are shared in common by several computer users. A local area network can serve as few as two or three users (for instance, in a home network) or as some thousands of users.

LANs have become commonplace in several organizations for supporting telecommunications network capabilities that connect end users in offices, branches, and some work groups. Ethernet is commonly used LAN technology.

A multiple corporations use the Token Ring technology. FDDI is used as a backbone LAN interconnecting Ethernet or Token Ring LANs. Another LAN technology, ARCNET, once the most generally installed LAN technology, is used in the industrial automation market. In some situations, a wireless LAN can be preferable to a wired LAN because it is cheaper to set up and maintain.

A suite of application programmes can be maintain on the LAN server. Users who require an application frequently can download it once and then run it from their local hard disk. Users can order printing and several services as required through software run on the LAN server. A user can send files with others at the LAN server; read and write access is kept by a LAN administrator. A LAN server can also be used as a Web server if safeguards are taken to protect internal software and data from external access.

LAN supports access to more computing power, data, and resources than be practical if each user required a single copy of everything. LAN supports the benefits of personal computing. LAN can connect multiple offices to one laser printer, fax machine, or modem. This creates a single element of equipment available to multiple users and prevents unnecessary equipment purchases.

LAN users can choose personal documents that they need co-workers to see, including engineering drawings, department plans, contracts, or drafts of memos. Co-workers can view at these files without delays for printing paper copies. LAN can be used to send and handle electronic mail and messages.

LAN also supports access to shared databases. The file server is connected to a disk that includes shared databases, including the firm’s customer list and telephone directory. When a workstation require data in a shared database, it sends a request message to the document server, which implements the retrieval from the disk and sends the data to the requesting workstation. This arrangement prevents maintaining redundant copies of information.