Whether network managers like it or not, hotspot use, along with all of its benefits and problems, has become increasingly common in enterprises. That's what a recent Networking Pipeline poll found out. Forty percent of respondents said that their company already had a policy regarding hotspots, and 17 percent said that their company was studying the issue.
Only 20 percent of respondents said that their companies don't allow hotspot use. And 17 percent said their company had no policy. But these companies are fooling themselves if they think that employees won't be using hotspots, because like it or not, hotspots are here to stay, and becoming ubiquitous. There's good reason for that - despite potential security problems, they're a great productivity booster when employees are away from the office, especially when combined with VPNs that allow for remote, secure access.
The key here is putting a company policy in place. Companies that ban hotspots have their heads in the sand. Like it or not, on-the-go workers are going to connect to the Internet via hotspots, company policy or not. Maybe they'll do it on a company laptop on a Saturday afternoon at a local cafe, while catching up on work. Maybe it'll be on a company laptop when out of town, and with no other way to hop onto the Internet between flights. But one way or another, they're going to use hotspots.
So enlightened companies allow for the use of hotspots, but put policies in place. They require the use of VPNs. If a company doesn't want to go to the bother of setting one up on its own, it can go the hosted VPNS route, or use subscription-based VPNs. Policies may also require the use of specific clients for connecting, and may require security software that goes beyond just anti-virus tools, and may include personal firewalls, spyware killers, and more.
As detailed in our article, Hotspots Put Enterprises On The Hot Seat, network managers face a slew of potential hotspot problems. But as the article points out, there are a slew of solutions as well.