RealTime IT News

Study: WLAN Security Poses Market Opportunity

Many early adopters of wireless networking technology have deployed Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) without adequately securing them, creating a market opportunity for software tools and services related to improving WLAN security, according to a new report by INT Media Research.

The study, 802.11 Wireless LAN Security: Usage, Expectations, and Strategies for the Future, found that more than half of all those surveyed admitted they had experienced at least one type of WLAN security incident over the past year, and 33 percent of businesses which have experienced a breach of their WLANs failed to strengthen their security policies after the attacks.

Also, more than two-thirds of businesses use self-testing methods to verify the security of their WLANs, and only 23 percent of the WLANs currently operated by businesses today have undergone third-party security audits.

Currently, according to the report, 802.11b products are the hottest wireless networking technology.

"Only four percent of our survey participants adopted non-802.11 WLAN technologies," said Lisa Phifer, vice president of Core Competence Inc., who developed the report for INT Media Research. Additionally, INT Media Research believes 802.11b will remain the most popular standard for WLANs, at least in the near term. "I expect that near-term WLAN deployments based on 802.11b standards will exceed those based on 802.11a technologies by a 7:1 ratio," Phifer said.

But as those deployments continue, Phifer said security lapses will cause half of the current 802.11b users to begin deploying 802.11a and/or 802.11g-based WLAN segments next year, with investments in 802.11b equipment decreasing dramatically over the long-term. By the end of 2003, INT Media Research expects 61 percent of WLAN operators will be running mixed-mode systems.

"New security solutions must be developed to meet the challenges present in mixed-mode wireless LANs," Phifer said. "There is a strong market potential for self-assessment tools, including easy-to-use wireless scanners, intrusion detective systems and traffic analyzers for use in mid-size WLANs. Systems integrators have a tremendous opportunity to help these companies understand their WLAN vulnerabilities and how to correct them."

INT Media Research is a division of INT Media Group, parent of internetnews.com.