Higher productivity, cost savings and faster access to information are the benefits of a mobile workforce. But the growth of technology and the potential threats to corporate networks have caused fear and confusion. IT security providers need to ensure that the mobility and convergence benefits of mobile architecture are realised within a secure environment. This means policies have to adapt to retain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data.
Old methods of securing wireless networks, such as RF engineering and WEP, have proved costly and ineffective and have been replaced by standards-based technology. Locking down is fundamental, since even the seemingly secure environment of the fixed edge is at risk. Rogue access points (APs) in employees' homes expose corporate networks to attack by breaching firewalls and security systems. An automated system to identify and disable these APs is vital. Laptops, PDAs and mobile phones must also be carefully secured to avoid intrusion or loss of confidential information.
Authentication techniques will validate and authorise those entitled to use the wireless infrastructure. The 802.1x protocol is the most secure authentication method, but it has to be implemented correctly. While authentication minimises active attacks, a wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) will prevent the remainder, including denial-of-service (DoS) attacks and unauthorised wireless clients.
The mobile edge is the reality of our wireless world, and companies have to embrace the necessary security. A best-practice solution to the challenges of mobile networking will allow you to reap the benefits of wireless technology.