It may just be coincidence, but within minutes of each other we spotted two back-to-basics-type articles about wireless security. The longer of these, which focuses on safe use of hotspots, was written by Preston Gralla for Computerworld. The other was written for a British site called bytestart.co.uk.
The articles have slightly different orientations. While Gralla provides instructions on how to adjust various settings for optimum security, the unidentified bytestart writer focuses on describing the various kinds of security technologies and measures -- such as encryption and firewalls -- available to mobile users.
The pieces, it seems to us, are in a classic bind. Anyone who reads Computerworld -- and definitely anyone who visits a site called bytestart -- will not learn much from the rudimentary instructions and descriptions provided by Gralla and the other writer. The pieces are well done, but the two are preaching to the choir -- and a choir that really knows its music, at that.
There is a great use for these articles, however: They should be sent to non-technical executives and managers whose approval and support are needed for wireless security expenditures. They also should be sent to folks whose support is necessary to move corporate culture. The articles should help these folks recognize the dangers of mobility and create a sense of urgency around meeting the challenges.
We have not posted any New Year's resolutions pieces. However, we are going to make one suggestion for the year ahead that could fairly be interpreted as a resolution: IT departments must redouble efforts to convince upper-level management that wireless and mobile security are serious topics that must be priorities.
Management must be made to understand that not paying attention can have disastrous financial and legal ramifications. This message must be accepted by those who sign the checks, those who set and enforce policies and, finally, those who train employees. These articles clearly can help in those efforts.