Upping The IPS Ante

Silva
Motorola announced this week its intentions to acquires Wireless IDS/IPS vendor AirDefense. The acquisition may provide a bit of deja vu to readers who recall the acquisition of Network Chemistry's wireless IDS/IPS assets by Aruba Networks in 2007.

Meru Networks, eschewing acquisition for product introduction made its own announcement on Monday, announcing the company's RF Barrier, an active RF management solution that aims to solve the problem of what the vendor is calling "leaky RF." The Meru solution actively blocks 802.11 RF from escaping the physical confines of a WLAN deployment to thwart external "parking lot" attacks by closing Wi-Fi based attack avenues.

In fact, 2007 - 2008 has been a time focused on shoring up the security
of the WLAN as the networks become more critical to over 50% of
enterprises Forrester sees investing in the networks today. As the networks are more pervasive, moving toward covering the entire physical environment, and more employees are relying on Wi-Fi to access corporate data and applications, it's high-time to secure the WLAN.

In the case of Motorola, the Wi-Fi network is especially critical. As the vendor embarks on selling its message of the all-wireless enterprise, where WLANs will interconnect not only users to the network, but networke edge devices -- such as WLAN access points -- to the network along with storage, printers and other peripheral devices, the WLAN is citical and, therefore, a major focus for security.

In markets such as retail, standards like the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standard dictate wireless security, but compliance and regulation aside, it is becoming easier to secure the WLAN, regardless of the industry you are in. Vendors are rapily working to close security gaps with product enhancements and new product introductions. Look for a broader suite of solutions to address security coming from your primary network vendor; while this won't negate the need to  integrate these add-on network elements, the single source should ease integration to some degree.

How secure do you feel your organization's WLAN is today? What are your concerns either about securing the network or its current lack of security?

By Chris Silva

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