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Integrity of Information on the Move with the Cisco Secure Wireless Solution

Wireless networking is changing the way IT approaches network security

The growth of wireless networking has blurred the traditional boundaries between trusted and untrusted networks and shifted security priorities from the network perimeter to information security. The need to secure mobile information and control the wireless environment to prevent unauthorized access must be a priority for maintaining the integrity of corporate information and systems.

Wireless security, especially for Wi-Fi based wireless LANs, must be a priority for IT organizations given the rapid growth of wireless adoption. Wireless LANs have three inherent characteristics that make securing them even more important. The first is that wireless, by definition, transmits via the air and is not contained by physical boundaries like building walls. Thus, existing perimeter security defenses, such as firewalls, are no longer as effective for enforcing policy controls across internal and external boundaries. Secondly, as a standard the 802.11 protocol is well documented and understood and is easily available within the public domain. This pervasiveness increases the ease with which malicious exploits can be attempted. Finally, Wi-Fi operates in the unlicensed frequencies of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Unlike cellular frequencies that require licenses, these unlicensed frequencies are open for use by anyone. While the FCC mandates certain rules of engagement that prohibit aggressive or malicious use, the difficulty in enforcing such rules means most unlawful use of the frequency goes unpunished.

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