Secure WiFi deployment

Computer Associates International has announced the beta availability of Wireless Site Management (WSM), an innovative solution that enables customers to manage and secure enterprise-wide WLAN deployments while reducing the risk and complexity associated with Wi-Fi (802.11 networks) implementations.

The rapid enterprise adoption of wireless technology is presenting major challenges to IT organisations.  WLANs are particularly vulnerable to security breaches since they lack robust and manageable security schemes, and wireless networks can be accessed from outside the enterprises walls.  WLAN security is therefore highly complex and labour-intensive, requiring administrators and even end users to manually configure and manage security settings on devices that access the WLAN.

Proper setup and operation of the WLAN itself is also a major challenge, as individual access points must be configured correctly to minimise radio frequency interference and provide optimum throughput for users.  Additionally, rogue (unauthorised) access points make even the most secure WLAN implementation vulnerable.

CAs WSM addresses all of these challenges by providing a complete security and management solution for enterprise Wi-Fi networks.

"We operate one of the most advanced on-campus networks in the United States, providing data, voice, multimedia services and Wi-Fi over an extensive IP converged infrastructure," said Maurice Ficklin, director of technical services at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. "CAs Wireless Site Management will enable us to provide secure, reliable wireless access to a diverse, constantly changing end-user population that includes students, teachers and staff while reducing the operational workload on an IT organization that is already functioning at maximum capacity."

Key features and benefits of WSM include:

Automatic WLAN discovery and prevention of rogue users and devices:  WSM identifies all WLAN infrastructure components along with their physical locations, enabling administrators to easily identify and disable any rogue devices.  WSM agents augment the discovery and detection process by acting as listeners for wireless traffic.

Automatic encryption key management:  WSM automatically generates, distributes, rotates and synchronizes WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) keys for secure wireless communications based on policies defined by the security administrators.  This gives security officers complete control over their WLAN encryption policies and relieves them of the manual work required to enforce those policies.

Location- and time-based access control:  IT administrators can now visualize their WLAN site on a location-aware map and define the physical areas where the companys wireless network can be used and the areas where it cannot.  This helps eliminate unauthorized access to the network and prevents employees from accessing the network from unapproved locations.  Users access can also be restricted to certain times during the workday.

Connection load balance:  WSM manages and monitors the configuration, performance and quality of enterprise WLANs by automatically balancing the number of connections on each access point, providing optimal throughput for every connected user.

Built-in reporting:  WSM generates reports that provide valuable information about the organizations network, such as data on security vulnerabilities or performance metrics. 

Reliable, high-performance wireless networking can make a significant contribution to the effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare delivery if it can be properly deployed and secured without inordinate operational overhead, said Linda Reino, CIO at Universal Health Services, one of the largest healthcare organisations in the United States.  CA's Wireless Site Management delivers an impressive set of wireless security and management features that can position UHS to meet our business goals while providing safe, reliable and cost effective wireless deployment.

WSM augments CAs Unicenter and eTrust management solutions by enabling IT organizations to secure and manage the wireless infrastructure as an integrated extension of the wired infrastructure.

CAs Wireless Site Management provides customers with an effective solution to tame the wireless environment, said Yogesh Gupta, senior vice president and chief technology officer at CA. By making WLAN infrastructure secure, simple, and manageable, WSM enables CA customers to deliver reliable wireless connectivity to end-users, safeguard otherwise-vulnerable corporate information assets, and minimize the cost of operating the network.

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