Security is in Wi-Fi Management's Future
Established WLAN management systems are getting more protection features -- and many vendors are changing their focus entirely toward security, because that's where the money is.
That seems to be the way the wind is blowing these days.
Take, for instance, Cirond Corporation of San Jose, Calif. Today the company announced today that it is ''shifting focus'' from managing to securing wireless LANs. This is just the latest evidence of vanishing borders in the Wi-Fi industry.
''We have decided to focus the entire resources of our company and leverage our mature technologies in this space,'' said Nicholas Miller, Cirond president and CEO.
While 2002 saw the world-wide demand for Wi-Fi security at just $27 million, the sector has seen a huge jump. In 2003, demand for wireless security leaped to $104 million world-wide, according to Lee. The market for enterprise security solutions is larger than management.
Driving the increased demand is the fruition of many companies' tentative steps into wireless networking.
''Enterprises are finally deploying WLANs,'' says Lee. The analyst says small pilot projects are maturing. Also propelling the need for security is an Oct. 11 Department of Defense deadline requiring corporations secure to their wireless networks.
Lee, who is now completing a survey of wireless security, says Cirond's decision confirms what he's been hearing. He expects that this year we'll see more management functions entering security products.
For example, Bluesocket, the Burlington, Mass.-based WLAN management vendor, also announced an IDS system today called BlueSecure. It monitors an enterprise's WLAN, reporting security threats such as rogue Access Points and ''war driving'' events. It's an additional feature of the company's already-existing wireless gateway.
''What we've been doing all these years... is sell wireless gateways to secure enterprises,'' says Michael Puglia, Bluesocket senior product manager. ''BlueSecure will augment our current offerings.''
Lee says we won't see the consolidation of wireless management and security vendors like we've witnessed in the semiconductor sector, distinctions are blurring. He's ''not sure we can call some of these companies true WLAN security or WLAN management companies.''
''Security shouldn't necessarily be a solution on its own -- it should be a feature of a broader management system,'' says Julie Ask, a wireless analyst for Jupiter Research.
Its possible Cirond's move toward security only wasn't prudent. ''Companies that think security is a separate, large market are going to find it increasingly difficult to make money,'' says IDC analyst Stephen Elliot.
''It will be a homogenized market with both security and management being equally important,'' Elliot says.
But Cirond's Miller is not questioning the move, saying, ''I see management as less important than security.... If you have one buck, you're gonna spend it on security.''