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Report reveals only half of IT managers have added wireless security products to address problem

Enterprise IT managers believe that wireless networks require more security than wired networks in order to maintai...


May 13, 2004  


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Enterprise IT managers believe that wireless networks require more security than wired networks in order to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of corporate data.

Still, only 55% have added a security product to address the problem, according to a survey conducted by Survey.com, and sponsored by wireless security vendor Fortress Technologies Inc.

While wireless has infiltrated more than 75% of the largest financial services, healthcare and manufacturing organizations, IT managers and senior IT executives still believe that security and lack of tangible ROI inhibit the buy-in, usage and deployment of wireless local area networks for line-of-business applications.

The majority of organizations surveyed said they have critical business applications on networks that now have some wireless exposure.

An overwhelming 94% acknowledged that these applications contain data that, if compromised, could materially impact the business or brand. Given the urgency around protecting this data, most said that the quality of mass-market security products does not meet their high-assurance privacy needs. This feeling was most pervasive in the financial services and manufacturing industries.

Most report that they are taking steps to detect, monitor and control enterprise wireless use and the majority of organizations have adopted policies to regulate wireless and mitigate risk –most notably financial services IT managers — with 90% reporting that corporate policies are in place today.

The report states that at the other end of the spectrum, 20% of respondents have banned entirely the use of wireless in the enterprise and 28% prohibited the use of wireless at employees’ homes when connected to the company LAN.

“What we are finding today is enterprises divided into two groups as it relates to wireless security, both of which benefit from the feedback of their peers contained in this report,” said Shawn Hughes, CEO of Fortress

“The first group is proactively planning a wireless systems strategy and is seeking buy-in across the organization. For this group, network security is a decisive factor leading many to adopt a ‘no wireless policy’ until addressed. The second group already considers wireless critical to their enterprise, and is urgently searching for solutions that mitigate risk and ensure privacy without sacrificing productivity gains they are already experiencing.”

The report queried several hundred enterprise IT managers and senior technology executives about wireless usage, operating practices and security concerns in their organizations. They represented financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and government organizations with between 500 and 10,000+ employees.