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Security cited as #1 reason why one-third of UK firms still shun WiFi

by david.nunes

Security cited as #1 reason why one-third of UK firms still shun WiFi

Jaded perception of slow WiFi is #2 reason

Newbury, U.K. – June 19, 2013 – A Vanson Bourne survey commissioned by Enterasys Networks has found that one third (33%) of UK companies still do not provide WiFi access to their staff when in the office.  When asked why not, almost two thirds (61%) blamed lack of security while over a quarter (27%) cited lack of bandwidth as a problem.

Budget for installing WiFi at work was not an issue – barely a handful (4%) listed cost as a barrier to deployment of WiFi in the office.

Conversely, the vast majority (64%) of the UK companies surveyed that don’t offer WiFi in the office, do permit staff access to the corporate network via a WiFi connection while working remotely – whether at home, an airport lounge or pretty much anywhere else offering WiFi connectivity.

Mark Pearce, strategic alliance director at Enterasys Networks believes that these attitudes towards WiFi security and bandwidth are hopelessly outdated.  He feels such double standards undermine any true concerns about security and instead suggest apathy and underinvestment in the mobile technologies that are reshaping the way UK businesses compete today.

Pearce said: “A fully mobile workforce – where mobility stretches from inside the office to the remote worker – helps businesses maximise the productivity of their staff.  Tying staff to static locations while in the office inhibits team collaboration and the kind of dynamic hallway or cafeteria engagement that fosters the creativity and problem solving that businesses now rely on to succeed in a tough global marketplace.  WiFi should be seen as a net-positive strategic investment, yet one in three UK businesses choose to remain mired in a static, wired-only world.”

Over the past 18 months the hype around the next generation of WiFi, 802.11ac has grown. Although it is still at ‘draft’ stage, it is tipped to deliver massively improved wireless performance, better range, improved reliability, improved power consumption and remit a ‘wired-like’ performance. Industry experts behind the standard say it will be particularly good for streaming HD video, gaming, running backups and enabling data transfer. It will also extend the range of WiFi networks, which could make it easier to cover a small office with a single, powerful router. For businesses yet to adopt WiFi, Pearce’s top five tips would be:

1.     Plan your wireless strategy – analyse the potential mobile solutions for your business and prioritise which applications should go mobile first

2.     Ensure that your concepts are viable – investigate available solutions to make sure they will work with your existing infrastructure and processes. Assess which wireless application and devices make best use of your available technology and make sure that every item on the list is secure. If you are unsure, bring in an IT consultant to help

3.     Run a controlled test – test your wireless strategy on a small scale, for example within the regional sales force. Test it for a month or two and see how well it integrates with your wired network and existing business processes. Develop concrete, well-defined metrics for your test including tracking customer satisfaction, savings in time, cost savings or improvements in availability and uptime. During this test period, make sure data and network security is maintained at all times

4.     Continue limited deployment – following a successful test and once all kinks have been ironed out, add additional departments to the wireless and continue to monitor how it integrates with your wired network and business processes

5.     Roll-out solution company-wide – after ensuring that your wireless initiative is secure and has positive bottom-line contributions, it’s time to roll-out the solution company-wide. Plan ahead and set up assessment checkpoints down the road to monitor the benefits

The survey was carried by Vanson Bourne and completed by 100 IT decision makers across commercial Enterprise organisations within the Financial, Manufacturing and Retail, distribution and transport sectors.

About Enterasys Networks and Siemens Enterprise Communications
Enterasys Networks is a premier global provider of wired and wireless network infrastructure and security solutions. Our solutions enable organisations to drive down IT costs while improving business productivity and efficiency through a unique combination of automation, visibility and control capabilities. Enterasys provides a broad range of enterprise networking and security solutions by technology and industry.

Siemens Enterprise Communications is a leading global provider of unified communications (UC) solutions and network infrastructure for enterprises of all sizes. Leveraging 160 years of experience, we deliver innovation and quality to the world’s most successful companies, backed by a world-class services portfolio, which includes international multi-vendor managed and outsourcing capabilities. Our OpenScape communications solutions provide a seamless and efficient collaboration experience – on any device – which amplifies collective effort and dramatically improves business performance. Together, our global team of UC experts and service professionals set the standards for a rich communications experience that empowers teams to deliver better results.  Siemens Enterprise Communications is a joint venture of The Gores Group and Siemens AG, and includes Enterasys Networks, a provider of network infrastructure and security solutions, creating a complementary and complete enterprise communications solutions portfolio.

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