Security Concern Deterring WiFi Adoption

Despite the hype created around Wifi as a technology to seamlessly connect people on the go, telecom infrastructure provider companies like Bharti Infotel and other operators in the Asian region are finding that potential customers are quite concerned about security when it comes to WiFi adoption at the individual level.

“We started to bundle WiFi with our broadband options to high-end customers, but they are quite worried about security features and the response is not that encouraging. We are in a situation where new technologies and services raise security concerns, which are often unique,” says, a senior official at Bharti Infotel – one of the largest cellular operator in India on conditions of anonymity.

Interestingly, the usage of wireless LAN equipment means – that users can have flexibility while they work. They can execute routine tasks from a lot more locations within buildings and wireless hot spots – this gives people access to the Internet, irrespective of the fact that they’re sitting in an airport lounge, a hotel reception area or strolling in an supermarket place.

There are a lot of enterprises, which have shown interest in adopting the idea of mobile workforces within their day to day activity. This is being granted more time to get vital jobs done and the times when they’re unproductive are increasingly few and far between.

Perhaps the most exiting part of wireless- comes from the fact that its really easy to access. And this unfortunately, is likely to be one of it’s greatest weak points. The flip side of it being an open access environment is dangerous, especially when we talk about business critical areas like mobile work force management.

As it goes with most of the profitable tools, enterprises wont be happy to let it fall into the wrong hands. So, unless the security risks that wireless poses can be tempered, all the productivity gains one makes from this technology will be neutralised.

Wireless is fraught with several risks and 2.4 Ghz is still an unlicensed band. Customers feel that WLAN traffic flows in unrestricted airways which is quite open to intrusion. One of the major challenges for customers remains to be connected but also protected

The threat can be a lot more straightforward than that anyway. Since a wireless LAN is a broadcasting mechanism, and any device broadcasts its address, then it follows that anyone can tap into that broadcast. Especially if, as is the ease in the majority of sites, people don’t bother activating the security systems that come with the equipment.

One may ask – why would anyone switch off the security? Well in some cases, people put off security because they feel that continuos running of security infrastructure would result in a performance overhead on the overall operations.

There are times when wireless warriors or users are completely oblivious to the dangers, and more often they have stone inkling there may be a remote danger of hacking, but dismiss this as over exaggerated. And in a way, who can blame them, when there have been so many seemingly exaggerated claims made by the IT industry to flog Y2K solutions, e-commerce systems including the online payment systems etc.

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