One key design consideration for Crystal Enterprise was for the delivery of information to be deployed as part of any Web-based delivery platformintranet, extranet, or Internet. Increasingly, organizations are looking to standardize the access to corporate information within a Web-based infrastructure. Companies are now able to support a close relationship with their external constituentsbe they customers or suppliersthrough the delivery of information over the Web. Furthermore, considerable economies of scale can be realized by using the same architecture to deliver information internally.
Often, the means by which information can be rendered is through the display of a Crystal Report (or multiple Crystal Reports) as an integral part of a Web page executing on a client browser. Such integration with a company's Web-based information delivery system requires that the vehicle for providing that information (for example, a Crystal Report managed by Crystal Enterprise and integrated completely into a Web page) can also conform to the company's security requirements. In a nutshell, no matter what firewall standards a company chooses to adopt, Crystal Enterprise not only must be able to be configured within these standards, it also must do so without compromising the integrity (or performance) of information management and delivery.
This chapter concentrates on how the architecture of Crystal Enterprise allows for complete integration into complex networks with firewall systems to provide information delivery across intranets and the Internet without compromising network security. More often than not, providing examples of how Crystal Enterprise works with complex firewall scenarios produces enough information to relate this chapter to other network deployment scenarios.
To understand how Crystal Enterprise works in a complex network environment, a review of several server and system processes is provided in this chapter, extending discussions put forth from earlier chapters in this book.
Essentially, this chapter concentrates on firewalls and illustrates how Crystal Enterprise can be deployed within the various firewall architectures commonly available. First, however, you start by learning to understand firewalls and looking at the supporting technology.
A firewall is a set of related programs located at a network gateway server (that is, the point of entry into a network), which protect the resources of a private network from users of other networks. It restricts people to entering and leaving your network at a carefully controlled point. A firewall is put in place to protect a company's intranet from being improperly accessed through the Internet. Additionally, firewalls can be used to enforce security policies and to log Internet activity.