My company is moving to a new office soon. It\u2019s going to cost a lot of money to wire the new building. My IT team has been filling me in on what we can expect to pay. I asked them, why can\u2019t we have a wireless office? My cell phone is wireless, my computer is wireless via Wi-Fi \u2013 why can\u2019t our whole office be wireless? I\u2019m told, \u201cNo way, not going to happen, fuhgeddaboudit.\u201d So I posed the question to other companies via a media query and asked, do you have a wireless office? This is the first article in a series where we\u2019ll discuss if a totally wireless office is possible or just a pipe dream.\n\tI like to envision what the future of technology will be like and a completely wireless office has to be just around the corner.\u00a0 As much as I\u2019m optimistic about a wireless office, I know security risks are an issue.\u00a0 But knowledge is power and by becoming informed of the risks in advance, hopefully we can prevent heartache down the road.\n\tWhy would a hacker want your business\u2019s information?\u00a0 Most of the time there is something to be gained by hacking in the form of cold, hard cash. But also, hackers want your computing power, your connection bandwidth and\/or your (or your computer's) identity. You must protect against a hacker interested in accessing important company information as well as the information of your employees. If you don\u2019t have a secure Wi-Fi, a hacker can easily access your network from your parking lot.\n\tFor example, one school district\u2019s insecure Wi-Fi network was exposed when\u00a0a reporter sat in her car and not only accessed the network of the school\u2019s central office, but was also able to download students' grades, phone numbers, home addresses, medical information, psychological evaluations and even full-color photos.\u00a0\n\tThis particular school\u2019s parent community included many people who worked for companies that supplied Wi-Fi equipment. As a result, these parents brought wireless networking into their children's schools at a very early stage. The security of the Wi-Fi network was weak and insecure \u2013 a free Wi-Fi network had been set up using the school\u2019s LAN line.\u00a0 A secure network always needs to be a top concern -- when Wi-Fi access is limited in a business setting, employees will find a way to have full internet access, even if it means going an unsafe route to get it.\u00a0\n\tAs more and more new technologies find their way into the workplace via the consumerization of IT without the direct knowledge of the IT director, a secure network is more important than ever. Osterman Research\u2019s study titled the "2011 Consumerized IT Security Survey" states that \u201cmore than 80 percent of [companies] surveyed are letting their employees use consumerized IT products and services to conduct business communications.\u201d\n\t\u201cConsumerized IT in the workplace is a fact of life, and organizations recognize that they must act to integrate it in a secure and compliant manner,\u201d says Michael Osterman, principal of Osterman Research.\u00a0\n\tSo how do you keep your network secure?\u00a0 Incorporating Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or a Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS) will help significantly in protecting what happens on your Wi-Fi network.\u00a0 With these in place, you can identify if anyone is trying to hack into your network.\u00a0 WIPS is the preferred method of security since WEP has some flaws.\u00a0 A good WIPS will prevent:\n\to\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Rogue access point or rogue hotspot\n\to\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Unauthorized association (people outside your company accessing your network)\n\to\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Ad-hoc networks (peer-to-peer connections)\n\to\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Denial of service attack (makes computers unavailable to the user)\n\tAnother survey titled \u201cConsumerization of IT: A Survey of IT Professionals\u201d was conducted by Dimensional Research. This survey reports that \u201csecurity needs top the list for IT managers when it comes to managing external mobile devices with 82 percent citing their concerns about the use of personal devices for business use, and another 62 percent specifically concerned about network security breaches.\u201d\u00a0\n\tHas your network ever been compromised?\u00a0 Have you begun thinking about how the consumerization of IT will affect your company\u2019s network security?