Securing Wireless Networks

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2004-05-24 Print this article Print

Wi-Fi Wireless networking lets users compute from any office or conference room in your building, as well as from home, Starbucks, etc. Most new notebooks have wireless networking built in, as will tomorrows PDAs and cell phones. In an attempt to prevent the spread of unsecured access points, Intel has announced that the wireless tech in its Grantsdale chipset will be turned off by default. Click here to read more.
IT: To catch a thief, think like a thief. Outfit a notebook with the latest version of Netstumbler, and leave it running around the clock. Do a daily walk-around with the system to try to pick up any rogue access points. Confiscate and destroy immediately.
Users: Turn off SSID broadcasting to hide your access point from ITs prying eyes. Make sure you use some sort of security, so that when you do get caught, you can at least plead intelligence. Click here to read about Aruba Networks WLAN monitors to sniff out rogue access points. Install Groove Networks nifty synchronization software, Laplink Software Inc.s Laplink Remote or Citrix Systems Inc.s GoToMyPC to let you sneak inside the firewall while at your local coffee shop. Middle ground: Lets face it, wireless is here to stay. Its an incredible productivity boost, and your users are demanding it. Set up a secure wireless network at the office and install VPN software to let users easily and securely connect while on the road, down the street or at home. Instant Messaging "Why do we need IM?" Ive heard some IT managers complain. "Weve got e-mail." Well, its the difference between a letter and a phone call. IMs instant and provides an easy way to share info and keep track of far-flung employees. Plus, it offers a quick and dirty replacement should your corporate e-mail system go on the fritz. Advanced versions allow for quick file-sharing and will even set up free Internet voice and video calls. IT: Use policies to prohibit installation of any unapproved application. Block IM ports on your firewall. Instruct your staff to keep a listen out for the telltale "boop-beep" that signals in incoming IM. Quickly delete and warn offenders. Users: Web versions of AIM and other popular IM clients make discovery unlikely. Use Trillian or another cross-IM client in case IT shuts access to one or the other. Middle ground: Its not just for the pimpled and tattooed crowd anymore. My advice: Try it. For quick communications and figuring out if someones reachable, theres nothing like IM. If your corporate policies or the law require tracking and retaining instant messages, then consider a secure solution. Yahoos got a decent one, as does Groove. Next Page: Bloggers could expose company secrets.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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