Topic C: A growing number of our salespeople and executives are starting to use public Wi-Fi hot spots. What standards or products should we use to secure these systems and connections?
Our advice: Wi-Fi hot spots are inherently less secure than a wired network or dialup access. Like the public Internet, anybody can access the network from anywhere, and with broadcast network packets, anyone with a laptop and an antenna can pick them up. The newest IEEE 802.11i security standard, Wi-Fi Protected Access, features some notable improvements over the older Wired Equivalent Privacy, but neither standard is the final word on wireless security. Unless your company has extreme security requirements, none of these issues should stop you from using the public access networks. However, taking proper precautions to reasonably secure your data reduces the risk considerably.
With the spread of Wi-Fi finally delivering on the promise of universal Internet connectivity, take advantage of the technology. At the same time, minimize your mobile users' risks of suffering identity or data theft by practicing good computer security hygiene.
Beth Cohen, TAC Thought Leader, has more than 20 years of experience building strong IT delivery organizations from both the user and vendor perspectives. Having worked as a technologist for BBN, the company that literally invented the Internet, she not only knows where technology is today but where it's heading in the future.
Carlos Bravo, TAC Expert, has more than 15 years of experience at the senior-officer-management level (22 years' total business experience). He's a seasoned former Fortune 500 senior executive and founder and principal of multiple companies in the technology, manufacturing, and services sectors. Experienced in all areas, from startup though management of thousands of employees and contractors, Bravo has navigated through several mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs as principal. He's recognized as an industry expert in business-process reengineering and large-scale systems integration for enterprisewide computing solutions.
Hunter Muller, TAC President, is a respected global expert on IT business strategy, leadership, and organization development. Muller's concepts and programs have been used successfully by many companies worldwide to improve executive performance, enhance collaboration, elevate the role of IT, and align strategy across the CXX/line-of-business suite.