Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/13/cloud_launch_guestbridge/

The Cloud moves into the enterprise

Do you allow visitors on to your network?

By Bill Ray

Posted in CIO, 13th December 2006 14:10 GMT

WiFi hotspot aggregator The Cloud sees a future in providing guest access to company networks, but do they just have a solution in search of a problem?

The problem works like this: you have a nice WiFi network running in your office, and in walks a contractor who’s only going to be there for a day or two but will need internet access. Allowing said contractor to log on to the WiFi might provide the appropriate access, but might also provide access to all sorts of internal resources which should be for employees only.

Even worse is someone who travels to your office for a meeting; at the end of the meeting they ask if they can connect up to check their e-mail. Refusing seems petty, while acceding is a security risk.

According to a survey sponsored by The Cloud 21 per cent of business would allow the meeting attendee to connect up, while 59 per cent would connect up the contractor only by arrangement, leaving the visitor to find a cyber-cafe.

Asked why the majority would leave their guests disconnected 35 per cent said it was an unacceptable security risk, and 25 per cent were worried about the legal ramifications of acting as a service provider. But 37 per cent felt that the cost and effort of providing such access wasn’t worth it.

Which is where The Cloud intend to step in next year with their GuestBridge server, which will apparently give guests secure access without compromising security and dealing with the liability issues. Until January we're not going to know how much GuestBridge will cost, making a value judgment difficult.

The Cloud certainly have the experience and technology, but getting companies to pay for servers might be more difficult. Is the problem really significant, and will companies pay to have it solved for them?®