Integrity finds key to WLAN security

Integrity finds key to WLAN security

Wireless product distributor Integrity Data Systems will soon begin distributing a wireless LAN analysis tool for resellers to use when selling consulting services to their customers.

The security problems caused by the explosion in wireless LAN technology are well documented and, in most cases, still unsolved. "The problem is that people don't know the basic fundamentals to protecting themselves," said Integrity Data CEO Ross Chiswell. "The bigger vendors are saying ‘trust us, we've got these standards', but half of those standards aren't even ratified yet."

Chiswell also believes resellers who are being force-fed such vendor messages are also contributing to the problem. "Not enough resellers understand the technology," he said. "There are plenty with a good understanding of security and plenty with a good understanding of wireless, but not enough with both."

With end-user fears on the rise and most analysis and auditing tools too expensive for the majority of the market, Integrity went searching among the cutting-edge US vendors to find a solution. Chiswell claims that his chief technology officer has found it.

The distributor will soon be making available a wireless LAN analysis tool called AirMagnet, from the vendor of the same name, which runs on Compaq iPaq with a Cisco or Proxim wireless card. AirMagnet is an assessment tool for wireless networks that identifies and tracks wireless devices using the network, monitors the health and performance of the network and pinpoints vulnerabilities such as rogue access points and security holes.

Rather than suggesting that the technology be resold by the channel to end users, Chiswell said the best revenue opportunity for such a product is for a reseller to buy it and use it as part of a WLAN security auditing service. Resellers can set themselves up as security consultants, using the tool to produce reports for their customers. They can then make recommendations on what technology should be implemented to close the gaps in the wireless network - another sales and services revenue opportunity.

"Channel partners can audit a customer, fix their problems, eventually even sell them the tool itself and show them how to use it," he said.

The application costs $6,000 and while that may sound expensive, Chiswell said it is well below anything else on the market. He said the nearest competitor to this product is worth $25,000, hence only very large service providers tend to use them. The AirMagnet tool, with an iPaq and access card, can be bundled for under $8,000 and is just as effective, he claimed.

There are approximately 60,000 wireless LANs deployed in Australia, Chiswell said. "A huge percentage of these are wide open."

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