Companies risk security by not introducing wireless

Enterprise IT managers are interested, but reluctant, to introduce wireless technology to their business for no good reason — and as a result could be risking security breaches. At least according to a survey by researchers IDC.

IDC’s research director, Lars Vestergaard, said their research found interest by businesses in WLAN usage was widespread, but not many of them were particularly interested. “Unfortunately IT managers are being uncertain about using this technology, but they use a lot of bad excuses,” he said. “This is because they often fear a lack of security as well as an increase in transaction costs, for example, having to spend a lot of time and money on introducing the technology to new users.

“They are worried about the time they would have to spend educating and training users,” he explained, and this could cause all sorts of security problems for an enterprise.

“Wireless technology can be fully taken care of and encrypted, although it does not come as standard. What is happening is that IT managers are rejecting it on behalf of the company, but employees are still using the technology and that is not secure,” he said.

In particular, “employees are using connect cards and posing a security risk by doing so because they don’t know how their security works, so someone could hack into the enterprise LAN. In this way, enterprises are exposing themselves to risks by ignoring interest by others in WLANs.”

The solution, according to IDC, is for IT departments to make strategies on how to deal with incorporating wireless technology, adding that the technology was hugely successful already and was inevitably going to be used as standard by the enterprise in the near future.

Vestergaard admitted there was a need for more education in the workplace, but this was increasing with more IT managers being educated and passing their knowledge on to all departments of a possibly wavering enterprise.

He concluded: “It’s inevitable people will start using wireless technology on a big scale and on the business side it is visibly needed. What’s needed now is flexibility of pricing, an increase in hotspots and an increased understanding of how the technology can be used.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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