Security policies must evolve to reflect growing IP mobility

Company data is being put at risk by IT managers not
updating their security policies to reflect evolving Internet Protocol
(IP) mobility, according to NextiraOne. But while security must always
be a concern, it should not be a barrier to the adoption of exciting
technologies such as WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) or wider-range WiMAX
wireless internet systems that will come in the future, as well as
working from home over fixed-line connections.

NextiraOne is among Europe's leading network integrators and is
concerned that, as mobility becomes an increasing part of modern
business, organisations are failing to keep up with the security
implications that come with it.

Research group Forward Concepts predicts that wireless local area
network (WLAN) equipment shipments will rise by six per cent this year
on 2004, valuing the market at $5.2 billion with further growth
anticipated in 2006. Gartner also predicted a near 26 per cent rise in
the sales of mobile PCs during 2005. A rise in Wi-Fi and mobile PC sales
driven by falling costs means that IT managers must seriously consider
the implications for their organisations, especially as wireless
technology takes off in the home. As employees see the benefits of
working wirelessly at home, they will also want to see those mobility
benefits replicated in the office.

Productivity benefits gained through wireless IP technologies could be
negated if the network was not secure, for example, if a company was to
become victim of hacking. With new IP networks carrying voice packets
across the network, the potential for unauthorised parties to 'tap' IP
phone calls has risen, but policies across European companies are yet to
reflect this evolution, according to NextiraOne. There also looms the
threat of VoIP "audio spam", which could clog voicemail boxes with
spoken adverts.

"Wireless IP networks will never fully replace wired lines, but they
will act as a significant complement bringing increased flexibility and
productivity to organisations," said George Karystineos, Mobility &
Security Solutions Director for NextiraOne.

"But with the addition of wireless networks to offices, IT managers
across Europe must avoid complacency, making sure that the networks are
much more secure. Staff must also be informed how to work wirelessly and
safely, either within range of the corporate Wi-Fi 'hot spot' or any
other Wi-Fi points while travelling."

Karystineos said that to combat this potential threat and make the most
of WLAN technologies, companies must work closely with their service
providers to ensure that their service level agreement (SLA) offers the
highest possible level of security. IT and human resources (HR)
departments must also co-operate on how to formulate policies for mobile
working staff.

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