Wireless LANs (WLANs) offer many benefits to a business, but some network managers are worried about the security of WLANs. The benefits are obvious, including increased productivity, reduced costs, and the ability to connect distant offices and mobile employees. However, the easy exchange of data isn’t as critical as the security of that data.
When wireless networking was in its infancy, the idea of a secure wireless network was almost a joke. Those who decided to go ahead and implement a WLAN in order to gain the benefits sometimes did so with crossed fingers and a prayer. However, as is true of everything else technological, today’s WLAN has changed and improved. A secure WLAN is now a realistic goal. Just ask Col. Donald Welch at West Point. They have joined the ranks of thousands of other organizations and are in the process of implementing campus-wide wireless connectivity.
Today’s WLAN Security
Wireless Security needs to be implemented thoughtfully and carefully, encompassing everything from basic 802.11 security to virtual private networks. The latest wireless authentication and encryption protocols make it possible to devise security solutions for today’s networks. Of course, as is true with all networks, 24/7 monitoring is necessary.
The problems to be solved are numerous.
* Prevent passive eavesdropping and recording of wireless traffic, such as proprietary information, logins, and passwords;
* Prevent bandwidth theft;
* Prevent spam;
* Prevent the use of stolen network capacity to attack others.
Identify the Problems
* Prioritize what needs protection;
* Define access requirements: who and how;
Current Status of the Network
* Do a site survey with a WLAN discovery tool (20% find access points that do not have IT permission);
* Inventory authorized equipment and workstations;
Some Factors to Consider
* Identify what network components can be reused and which must be replaced;
* Leverage existing security needed with new technology, such as highly secure access points;
* AP choice will affect existing firewalls;
* More bandwidth may be needed;
* Wireless traffic will need to be segregated inside the WLAN where differing policies can be applied.
Emerging technologies offer many options not previously available for security and encryption on wireless networks. Wireless Security is possible with today’s technologies, making all of the benefits available to businesses of all sizes. Envision Networked Solutions has been supporting the telecommunication requirements for their commercial clients for over 30 years throughout Hawaii. Call Envisionns.com to discuss the possibilities for your business.
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