Business frets over wireless security
Is it safe?
There is no question that a number of the new mobile solutions that are being developed could help many business processes function more efficiently. The results of a recent survey, carried out at an executive briefing held by IT consulting services and solutions provider C&C Technology, sheds some light onto the perceived advantages of wireless working and some major concerns regarding these solutions.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, wireless network security was highlighted the most significant concern with 39 per cent of IT directors of the opinion that security concerns pose the biggest challenge. It is true to say that in too many organisations today there are few 'corporate' procedures covering the introduction of wireless systems. Even more worrying is the fact that with Wi-Fi technology readily, and cheaply, available many individuals inside companies take it on their backs to install access devices on the corporate network, often with no understanding of the potential security hole being opened.
It is interesting to see that the survey went on to find that in far fewer than half of the organisations interviewed (39 per cent) no more than a quarter of the workforce were utilising mobile solutions. The driving factors likely to increase the use of mobile systems were given as "greater flexibility" (73 per cent) and "greater access to business applications" (58 per cent).
Jason Colombo, Technical Director at C&C Technology stated, "Wireless and mobile working can deliver enormous benefits, however there are still a lot of security concerns regarding these networks. To get the most out of wireless technology, businesses need to address the issues that are preventing them from moving forward. We focus on helping companies to deploy an access strategy to ensure their wireless network operates efficiently and securely for the purpose for which it has been designed."
It is clear that the introduction of wireless technology into mainstream business must be managed with the same business oriented change management processes as every other area of IT. This means that companies must make IT departments responsible for all wireless deployments and, much more importantly, ensure that all staff realise the consequences of doing their own local rollouts.
With all organisations ever more dependent on IT systems it is essential that network security integrity be maintained at appropriate levels; this means that local management must dissuade well meaning IT amateurs from installing any wireless access technology. Wi-Fi can be secured but it requires knowledge; Wi-Fi can deliver business benefits but it takes care, forethought and ongoing maintenance and support.
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