Industry Insights

Why Your WLAN Access Security Needs a New Look

Posted by Susan Sison on Mar 15, 2017 3:50:14 PM

According to Statista, there are 28.4 billion connected devices globally—and the Wi-Fi Alliance® expects that number to grow to 38.5 billion by 2020. With evolving technologies and trends placing wireless connectivity front and center for organizations, IT teams need to take a mobile-first approach to planning, managing and deploying wireless local area network (WLAN) access security.

Larger, More Complex Networks

Mobility, connectivity and BYOD are workplace norms. And the number and types of devices connecting to increasingly complex WLAN networks continues to explode. It’s no surprise then that expenditures on WLAN technology have grown faster than in other areas of IT, according to Synergy Research Group.

Before investing in new technology, IT professionals are best advised to gain a comprehensive overview of WLAN challenges and the best way to address them.

Wi-Fi Security Concerns

With the frequency and severity of cyber attacks on the rise, WLAN access security is a priority for organizations large and small, public and private. There are several reasons for this:

  • Traditional WLAN access security measures don’t have the capabilities to provide comprehensive endpoint security, greatly increasing the risk of unauthorized access.

  • With the rising popularity of everything-as-a-service (XaaS), malware hidden in the code of an app can easily penetrate a network.

  • Many networks have only expanded horizontally, essentially becoming flat. As a result, there are no controls or barriers within the network—meaning that anyone can gain access to the entire network.

A Better Approach to WLAN Access Security

Since the bulk of the risk to WLAN access security stems from unsecured mobile devices, it’s critical to adopt a mobile-first mindset that addresses the associated risks. This involves implementing an integrated access layer strategy to protect not only data exchanges and transactions but also mobile devices. This requires:

  • Creating multiple defensive layers and adding internal network segmentation to counteract the chain of infection in the event of a breach.

  • Designing policies for both applications and devices, and implementing them consistently across all environments.

  • Providing continuous scanning to detect malware, check endpoint integrity, control application use and block access to malicious sites.

Ramping up WLAN access point security also calls for organizations to move to a more integrated, centrally-controlled technology solution — such as that we’re able to offer through our partnership with, Fortinet.

Fortinet WLAN Access Security Options Suit Specific Needs

Fortinet’s Secure Access solution provides several distinct WLAN options that deliver end-to-end enterprise protection, while still offering the flexibility to evolve with an organization’s needs. These include two on-premise options.

The first on-premise option is the Integrated solution, consisting of a Wi-Fi controller integrated with a FortiGate next-generation firewall to deliver comprehensive protection of all connected access points. The second is the Controller —a scalable option that has the advantage of facilitating the separation of the wireless network from the security infrastructure to reduce time spent on surveying and channel planning. There’s also a cloud-managed option, FortiCloud, which offers the unique defense of providing advanced firewall protection at the network edge — while centralizing control of all cloud access points.

A partner of Fortinet, NCA can help you map out a secure WLAN access strategy with the protection you need to keep your data safe and the flexibility to grow. Contact us.

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