When security is important

Some customers require a high level of security for information. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 requires that systems handling and transmitting confidential medical records must be secure.

It used to be assumed that only system and network administrators would be able to get access to a network switch because switches were typically placed in secure locations under lock and key. For some customers this is no longer true. Others simply want the added assurance that even if someone did manage to get to the switch that data would still remain secure.

If you do not invoke front panel security on the switch, user defined passwords can be deleted by pushing the Clear button on the front panel. This function exists so that if customers forget the defined passwords they can still get back into the switch and reset the passwords. This does, however, leave the switch vulnerable when it is located in an area where non-authorized people have access to it. Passwords could easily be cleared by pressing the Clear button. Someone who has physical access to the switch can be able to erase the passwords (and possibly configure new passwords) and take control of the switch.

As a result of increased security concerns, customers now have the ability to stop someone from removing passwords by disabling the Clear and/or Reset buttons on the front of the switch.