Security fears slow adoption of WLan networks

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Security fears slow adoption of WLan networks

Antony Savvas
IT directors are reluctant to adopt wireless Lan technology because of lingering doubts about data security.

A new survey of IT directors has found that more than two-thirds of firms have no plans to adopt wireless Lan (WLan) technology. The main reason given by respondents was the fear that a WLan could compromise their corporate networks.

Financial companies were particularly reluctant to move to wireless networks with 84% of firms saying they did not intend to adopt WLans. Three-quarters of respondents were not prepared to consider wireless Lans until suppliers demonstrated they were tackling the security issue.

Users expressed worries about the encryption strength of standard WLan kits and raised concerns that individual employees within the business may not have the necessary level of expertise to set up secure wireless Lans within corporate buildings.

Those IT managers already implementing wireless technologies were much more concerned about this issue, with three-quarters of the sample saying that better skills among IT staff would help ease their concerns.

The survey, which reported the views of 100 IT directors, was conducted by market research firm Vanson BourneResearch for wireless security company @stake.

The standard security software bundled with most wireless Lan kits is based around the WEP protocol, which is prone to "drive-by" hackers. Security experts have been able to demonstrate gaining access to corporate networks simply by driving near corporate buildings equipped with WLans.

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