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Wireless Security

According to consultants @stake, security concerns represent one of the biggest obstacles to the uptake of wireless technology.

According to consultants @stake, security concerns represent one of the biggest obstacles to the uptake of wireless technology such as wireless LANs and wireless connections to fixed LANs. In a survey of 100 IT managers in the UK, more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of the sample indicated that they had no plans to implement wireless technology in the next year for fear of unknowingly compromising their overall network security. The research reveals that IT managers are wary because they feel uninformed, with three-quarters (75pc) of the same group citing a requirement for more information about the specific security issues as a pre-requisite to implementing wireless networking. The greatest scepticism is in the finance sector, where eighty-four per cent (84pc) of those surveyed indicated no plans to implement wireless technology in the next year.

Call for support

The findings represent, according to @stake, a call for support from UK IT managers to technology vendors in the security market. In addition to wanting more information, nearly two-thirds (64pc) of those in the survey who are hesitant to implement wireless networking technologies specifically indicated that they would require better support from the technology vendor community than is presently offered before committing to such a project. This plea was especially prevalent within smaller companies, as opposed to their larger counterparts – more than three-quarters (77pc) of IT managers within smaller companies cited vendor support as a critical concern, as opposed to slightly more than half (53pc) of IT managers within larger companies echoing those opinions.

Breach sufferers

According to the most recent figures from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), nearly two-thirds of all UK businesses have suffered a security breach. The vast majority of these incidents are caused by operator or user error, so it’s not surprising that IT managers feel somewhat helpless, @stake say. Security is a very complex area – especially wireless security – and much of the problems faced by businesses faced today has come about because networks were not originally designed with wireless security in mind, the consultants say. This has been further complicated by the fact that the skill set for this work is also difficult to find. The data appears to suggest that the industry would benefit if vendors and businesses collaborated more closely – to make sense of the technology on offer. Adoption rates are likely to increase if some of these concerns were addressed. In its current nascent phase, wireless network security can only benefit from this kind of full disclosure. Ollie Whitehouse, Director of security architecture, @stake, says: ?Other findings from the survey reveal that even those IT managers who have already implemented wireless networking technologies are uneasy about the overall security of their networks. Among the group expressing these concerns, three-quarters (75pc) of respondents indicated that they are not satisfied with the level of support available from technology vendors. One major difference between those who have already implemented wireless technologies and those who have not yet is the focus upon skill sets among in-house staff. Within the group who does not plan to implement wireless technologies for at least the next year, less than one-third (29pc) of IT managers cited a need for a better skill set among staff base as a pre-requisite for undertaking such a project. Those IT managers already implementing wireless technologies were much more concerned about this issue, with three-quarters (75pc) of the sample saying that better skills among base staff would help ease their concerns.?


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