The Management Mandate
In general, however, securing a wireless access point is not much different than securing (blocking) any other managed switch, hub or node on a fixed network. In terms of stock selection, the wireless security vendors are pretty much the same as those that supply security for fixed networks, including Symantec, ISS Security and Checkpoint. Flexibility and convenience appear to be the major reasons that companies plan to purchase wireless networks over the next 12 months. While some see more advantages to wireless networks, these advantages tend to be outweighed by the two major concerns outlined above. There are some standout industry-specific preferences; healthcare related companies place great value on less paperwork and real-time access to data, education organizations on improved communications, and financial services on email access.Most interest in wireless IT is in the device and WLAN areas. However, this may be related to IT desires more than real company needs. Companies with a low percentage of "mobile" employees, i.e., with most of their employees working in a set place, for set hours, are less likely to buy wireless technologies. In such environments there is less need for WLAN technologies. In terms of particular wireless technologies, larger companies tend to purchase more from the large-cap vendors like Cisco, 3Com, Dell, IBM and Motorola. This is not surprising, since larger companies are in a position to purchase early-stage wireless infrastructure technology such as Layer 3 Ethernet switches, wireless routers, etc. Smaller companies tend to confine wireless spending to WLAN cards, notebooks and mobile devices. Melanie Hollands is president of technology long/short hedge fund Koala Capital. She has over a decade of experience covering the technology and telecom sectors from positions in strategic consulting, corporate finance and equity research.
There is noticeable variation in wireless spending between smaller and larger companies. In general, there is relatively little penetration into small and mid-size companies (<500 employees). Wireless spending by revenues varies, but "small" is probably a better description than "mid-size" for most of them.