By Plamen Petkov, VP of marketing and business development, Datamax-O’Neil, www.datamaxoneil.com
With wireless technologies permeating the enterprise, ensuring security is paramount.
Whether you’re in a store, the office, a warehouse, or in the field, wireless technology is a critical tool for conducting and improving business. Yet, despite its ubiquitous presence in business, we still read, almost daily, about hackers breaking into large network databases — heightening concerns about identity theft and credit card fraud. Security risks associated with wireless networks have forced businesses to comply with new, ore stringent regulations for network security and data encryption. While there are risks any wireless network faces, current state-of-the-art wireless hardware security systems can minimize that risk.
Mobile Devices Drive Worker Efficiency
The standardization of 802.11 wireless devices has been a driving force in the advance of worker efficiency. It has also brought higher levels of service to retail and commercial customers alike. The unassailable benefits of wireless devices are driving the growth of 802.11 technology. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, chipsets sold on an annual basis to support wireless technology will grow to 1 billion units in 2012. Clearly, companies that ignore the value of wireless technology will be left behind, as their competitors benefit from its many advantages. However, the use of wireless technology is not without risks, and astute companies will take measures to mitigate these risks before wholly embracing wireless devices.
Driven by the need to guard company-sensitive data from nosey competitors and ruthless hackers, protocols to protect wireless data have made their way to the market at an exponential pace. It is incumbent on providers of wireless components to be authoritative experts in the latest wireless security technologies. Advances in the 802.11 protocol and securities will continue. Securities used five years are now considered noneffective. WPA2 along with RADIUS authentication servers are now standard in enterprise systems.
Providers must also remain vigilant and knowledgeable about the progress hackers are making in developing methods to access propriety information contained within wireless networks. Today, more than ever, it is critical for anyone with a wireless network to work with a partner who is knowledgeable and equipped to address the security concerns associated with their business.
Don’t Risk Your Data — Security Is Crucial
Unless strong wireless security measures are embraced, you are at risk of exposing your proprietary information to competitors. You are also at risk of having your customers’ financial data and other sensitive information compromised by hackers. To avoid such disastrous circumstances, it is critically important to implement wireless security measures.
In any wireless network, access points give wireless devices, such as scanners, mobile computers, and printers, access to the heart of the operation — the network servers that store and distribute information. Each of these wireless devices, whether sending information, receiving information, or both, can associate with the network once it is within range of the access point. It is incumbent on the “system” to ensure that the device is a trusted part of the store-managed equipment and authenticate it, before it is allowed access to the network. Finally, to protect the communication links between trusted devices and the network server, the data is encrypted to render it unusable in the unlikely event it is somehow intercepted.
Consider The Future
The mix of industry standards and proprietary certifications is sure to expand over time as the hacker community adjusts its tactics to thwart industrywide security measures. To sustain the integrity of your business data, it is essential that you choose a partner that can support your wireless security needs today and into the future.