Mmm, nothing like a hot mocha latte, a tasty bagel and a side of stolen information. That bagel just tastes so much better knowing that while you're emailing sensitive company info, Sir Shady Ripoff just bought a sweet ski boat with that vital information. Perhaps this is an exaggeration and unrealistic but not quite. Because while Sir Shady is kicking it with his bros on the lake, you'll be eating ketchup sandwiches for lunch trying to figure out what went wrong. Recognizing the vulnerabilities of wireless networking is a necessary first step to ensuring shared Wi-Fi security and protecting your info (and quality of lunch choices). Let's take a look.
Wireless networking undoubtedly expands the boundaries of the mobile worker’s workplace. You are no longer confined to your desktop and can enjoy more freedom and mobility. While there are advantages to being able to access your mailbox and other company data outside of company premises there is also the danger of exposing such data to external threats and risks. Network security becomes a balancing act between providing authorized access to company resources and keeping the network secure from intruders. It goes without saying that in a large city like Los Angeles, where wireless networking is practically everywhere, the risks are dramatically increased.
Technology and applicable standards exist and continue to evolve in order to implement mechanisms that address network security issues. One such mechanism is authentication, whereby access is allowed only after proper validation and authorization has been granted.
A principle of data management and security is that the level of protection of information is a function of the value of that information. This is like keeping precious jewels in a safe while leaving high priced jewelry on top of the dresser. Another element to consider is the cost associated with implementing security measures. Thus, mutual authentication is a higher level of authentication requiring both parties in a communication to authenticate each other and prevent intruders from impersonating one of the parties.
Network encryption is a process that encrypts data while in transit. It is implemented through the network architecture, requiring no action from the end user or the application. Products and services for network encryption are available from various companies.
Network security may help you control network traffic, keeping out viruses or other malicious code. Still it is equally important to be aware not only of external threats but also of the threats from within. More harm can be done by knowledgeable and trusted employees who deliberately steal or corrupt information than by random attacks from outsiders. Security measures should include processes that monitor access to sensitive information – who, when, where and how.
Unfortunately, the best efforts cannot totally eliminate risks but can at least keep them at a manageable level. By staying secure in an environment with shared Wi-Fi, employees can enjoy the benefits of wireless networking, increasing productivity and helping teamwork by staying virtually connected.