WLAN Security Survey Shows Skills Deficit

By Matthew Peretz

January 08, 2002

Survey of 1,200 professionals shows serious concerns without adequate skill sets to maintain and secure wireless LANs.

Information Security magazine, a division of TruSecure Corp., yesterday revealed the results of a study of WLAN security that it published in its January, 2002 issue. The results were well in line with the industry's current hyperfocus on 802.11 security.

Information Security, which the companies state is an independent media division of TruSecure Corp., surveyed 1200 IT and security professionals. Predictably, the survey found that concerns about wireless security are paramount for business entities considering 802.11 deployments. Of note, however, was that the survey also revealed that the requisite skills for maintaining and securing those networks are not keeping pace with actual demand and authorized/unauthorized implementations in data-sensitive environments.

According to the survey, 74 percent of respondents said they are very concerned, and 20 percent said they are somewhat concerned - about corporate WLAN security. In light of this, only 24 percent said they felt 'very knowledgeable' about WLAN security, and a full 54 percent said they were only 'somewhat knowledgeable.'

This is in keeping with the general expert consensus that skills are not keeping pace with threats. For this reason, it is also noteworthy that while many industries restrict or prohibit the use of WLANs, many are still at risk because of unauthorized networks within corporate boundaries.

Other Poll results:

In terms of device usage:
48% of respondents stated that laptops have wireless network access
29% allow PDAs
19% allow handheld computers

In terms of investments in WLANS:
20% said their company plans to spend more than $100,000 on WLAN products and security in the next 12 months
27% said their company plans to spend less than $10,000

The report also found that 51 percent of financial services firms allow wireless access to their corporate networks. The entire analysis and results of the poll can be viewed at the Information Security magazine Web site.

Matthew Peretz is Managing Editor of 802.11-Planet.com

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