Information Technology decision makers (ITDMs) believe wireless networks to be the most vulnerable element of the IT infrastructure, with nine in ten CIOs reporting concerns over insufficient wireless protection.
According to a new survey from Fortinet, nearly half (49 percent) of respondents ranked wireless networks as most exposed from a security standpoint, in contrast to just 29 percent for the core network.
The Fortinet survey also reveals that insufficient wireless security is a concern for almost all (92 percent) of the CIOs polled while nearly half of ITDMs (48 percent) consider loss of sensitive corporate and/or customer data the biggest risk of operating an unsecured wireless environment.
Delving deeper, findings show that 72 percent have adopted a cloud approach to management of their wireless infrastructure and 88 percent trust the cloud for future wireless deployment.
Furthermore, 43 percent of ITDMs polled provide guest access on their corporate wireless networks but 13 percent of these organisations do so without any controls whatsoever.
“The survey findings indicate that despite the growth in mobility strategies, wireless security has simply not been a priority for enterprises to date,” says John Maddison, vice president of marketing products, Fortinet.
“As advanced persistent attacks increasingly target multiple entry points, and the cloud becomes more prevelant, it’s not an oversight organisations should risk any longer.
“It’s positive to see IT Leaders beginning to recognise the role wireless security plays in protecting their critical business assets, yet there is more to be done.
“As IT strives to balance the need for strong network security with ubiquitous connectivity, wireless must be considered as part of a holistic security strategy to ensure broad and consistent protection for users and devices over wired and wireless access.”
Wireless Networks at risk?
According to the survey, wireless networks are ranked as the most vulnerable IT infrastructure, with the highest proportion of ITDMs (49 percent) placing it in their top two.
Respondents positioned wireless as significantly more vulnerable than core networking infrastructure, with just 29 percent of ITDMs ranking this highly.
Databases (25 percent), applications (17 percent) and storage (11 percent) infrastructures were considered amongst the least susceptible from a security standpoint.
In addition, 37 percent of global ITDMs polled do not have the most basic wireless security measure of authentication in place.
A significant 29 percent and 39 percent of enterprises respectively, overlook firewall and anti-virus security functions when it comes to wireless strategies.
Other security measures deemed critical to core infrastructure protection, such as IPS (deployed by 41 percent), application control (37 percent) and URL filtering (29 percent), play a part in even fewer wireless deployments.