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Meta: IT slowly starting to dip into WLAN

IT organizations have slowly begun to dip their feet into the Wireless Land Area Network (WLAN) waters.


November 17, 2004  


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IT organizations have slowly begun to dip their feet into the Wireless Land Area Network (WLAN) waters.

By the end of this year, 30% of organizations will have transitioned WLAN trials into full production, according to research released today by META Group Inc., a provider of information technology (IT) research, advisory services, and strategic consulting.

WLAN adoption will accelerate over the next two years, with more than 50% of organizations deploying WLAN by 2006.

The dramatic rise in adoption rates, according to META analysts, can be traced to enhanced security developments, specifically, the introduction of WiFi Protected Access (WPA) models.

“WPA has dramatically weakened the best argument against WiFi use and has given the upper hand to mobs of impatient enterprise users,” said Peter Firstbrook, senior research analyst with META Group’s Infrastructure Strategies. “However, while WPA will improve authentication and encryption concerns, it is not a security silver bullet.”

META analysts caution CIOs to limit their reliance on WPA, arguing that it only satisfies one component of a comprehensive WLAN security plan.

Research indicates that the widespread pervasiveness of wireless will make radio frequency monitoring a critical, and costly, part of the WLAN security puzzle, as well.

The primary purpose of radio frequency monitoring is to identify “rogue access points” – network access provided through misguided employees and/or hackers. These access points threaten the security of the organization because they allow backdoor access into corporate systems.

“Radio frequency monitoring is more complex than it may seem at first glance,” said Firstbrook.

“Finding rogue access points is only half the battle — the other half is determining their intent and doing something about it. CIOs must make sure that they employ anti-rogue systems that can identity a legitimate security concern and disable the threat using radio signals.”