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Wireless authentication standards stymie market

Lack of interoperability security and agreement on standards means a moribund market for enterprise-grade wireless Lan products, as prospective customers resist opting for proprietary wireless standards, says Meta Group.

Meta senior analyst Bjarne Munch said that as long as the likes of Cisco Systems and Microsoft continue to push their own proprietary barrows, enterprise users will continue to stay away in droves.

"Large vendors like Cisco are promoting a complete secure wireless solution for the corporate market. That is true, but it is based on a proprietary solution that is going to lock the corporate market into a Cisco solution," Munch said.

"A lot of companie) want WiFi, but they don't want to do WiFi security authentication, so they do it on a VPN solution. VPN is not as scalable, it's more expensive and it's more difficult to manage," Munch argued, adding it is highly probable Microsoft will win the authentication battle through its domination on the desktop.

"Vendors could win more business long-term by agreeing rather than trying to win short-term by protecting their proprietary technology."

As companies delay adoption, more and more users are bringing wireless gadgets into the office, which opens up security holes.

"You might buy your access point and install it at home, but on your work laptop. You take that into your office and you might even install an access point in the office. Increasingly we see rogue access points in the corporate market," Munch said.

Meta advised companies to establish  immediately what their wireless policy is in line with their security policy and enforce it before users become addicted.

"The security risk is quite real and the more enterprises wait, the more it will cost to rectify it," Munch said.

Julian Bajkowski writes for Computerworld Today


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