Employees seek private WiFi in the workplace that leads to monitoring and security problems for IT managers

News by Dan Raywood

Employees implementing their own private WiFi in the workplace are leading to security headaches for administrators.

Employees implementing their own private WiFi in the workplace are leading to security headaches for administrators.

Pravin Bhagwat, co-founder and CTO of AirTight Networks, claimed that this was a worrying trend, as users have WiFi at home and want the same convenience at work, so are buying their own private devices and plugging them into the private network.

Bhagwat explained that they put the routers under their desk so have their own access and find a connection. “But 50 per cent will use Belkin and Netgear when it should be Trapeze or Cisco, but the IT administrator does not have the tools,” he said.

This could also lead to the problem of someone connecting from the street into the network, and the company may be protected by a £5,000 firewall but employees are using a private and unsecured WiFi.

Bhagwat said: “We have seen this globally, we have done scans in major cities and we are seeing a trend and enterprises need to take the problems seriously and take security measures.

“Imagine if someone in an office connects then someone on the street can connect into the company network but no-one can know about it. We are seeing a clear trend in the larger organisations and IT has no visibility of this.”

Bhagwat further claimed that there are two types of security threat: outsider-in and the insider-out. He said: “The administrator does not have the tools to control the threat and this is a big issue for many markets, where we come in with a sensor to alert that sends a report and can set a policy.”

The company will launch version 6.0 of its SpectraGuard in January that deploys sensors, shaped like smoke alarms, to detect wireless connections and block them.

Kiran Deshpande, president of AirTight Networks, said that one box can cover 10,000 to 30,000 square feet so it is more about geography than capacity.

The new version of SpectraGuard enhances forensics and capabilities with new dashboards added. Bhagwat said: “The new specifications will make it easier to specify, monitor and control WiFi security policy.

“We are seeing a trend of an increasing number of inside-in and insider-out threats and organisations that have not deployed WiFi are the most vulnerable. For a small company this is not a problem but for a Fortune 500 it is a huge problem.

“The bottom line is that network administrators provide the connection and have no control over it, next there will be no more ethernet and we will all be on WiFi, they need to put packet inspection into the network and make sure it is ‘AirTight' and not leaking all over the place.”


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