Phases Of Wireless Deployment

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Phases Of Wireless Deployment – At each phase of a wireless network’s life, you have an opportunity to integrate or reintroduce security into the thought process. Let’s take a look at some of the nuances of security at each phase, including new deployments, existing wireless networks, and wireless refresh projects.
When deploying a new wireless network, you are in a unique position to do things correctly from the start. Trying to secure a wireless network after you’ve deployed it is never as easy as just doing it from the start. Whether you’re tasked with designing the installation, deploying the wireless network, managing and maintaining the installation, or securing it, you need to voice your concerns from the beginning.
Phases Of Wireless Deployment
During the initial predeployment discussions, it is imperative to decide if a wireless network is in fact the best solution for your organization, and security should be at the forefront of this discussion. Wireless networking presents some unique security challenges for organizations that you should now be fully aware of. Oftentimes, decision makers will just assume that they “need” a wireless network, if for no other reason than the fact that they’re ubiquitous.
I’ve had discussions with clients who wanted to deploy guest wireless services simply because “everyone else” offered them, which leads me to my first point on the best way to secure your wireless networks. To not use them! I know what you’re thinking—that’s kind of an odd recommendation for a book that should be teaching you how to secure your wireless networks, right? We’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of securing your wireless networks soon, but first I want you to ponder whether or not you really need wireless networking capabilities in your organization and whether that need outweighs the risks. Even if you do decide wireless networking is the right option, make sure you’re not using it gratuitously. Keep it confined to only the business needs that are necessary.
Phases Of Wireless Deployment

Existing Wireless Networks

Many existing wireless networks out there need to be secured. Maybe you’ve just joined a new organization and have been handed the joyful task of assessing the current wireless network and providing recommendations for securing it. Or maybe you’ve managed the wireless network since its inception and are now aware of security vulnerabilities that need to be mitigated.
One of the biggest headaches you might face will be in convincing the people who hold the checkbook to create a new budget for something that has operated without issue. Many people have the mentality “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and consider security expenditures akin to throwing dollars into a black hole. Therefore, it is your job to show them the severity of not securing their wireless network.
So how do you go about convincing people to spend money on securing a wireless network if they’re opposed to it? One way that works very well is to have a wireless penetration test performed by an external company. There are many nuances in both
performing a penetration test and hiring a company to perform a penetration test for you, but it can prove to be an invaluable tool for demonstrating real, tangible risk and thus obtaining buy-in from executives to fund your security initiatives.
Phases Of Wireless Deployment
From the budget maker’s perspective, it can be a bit more moving to see a report from an external company detailing how they were able to access confidential data via the company’s wireless network in a short period of time than it is to hear the security
administrator “cry wolf” over potential risks.
If the goal of having a penetration test performed is to acquire ammunition for obtaining a budget, make this absolutely clear to the company you hire. Depending on your ultimate goals, a penetration test can be catered to deliver exactly what you need and
can be surprisingly affordable and cost effective.
Phases Of Wireless Deployment
Keep in mind that a key reason for having a penetration test might not be to show your technical team what vulnerabilities exist, but to display to your executives the real-world, tangible security issues that exist in your systems. It definitely grabs people’s attention when you say, “We successfully penetrated the network and could view all the company’s e-mails,” much more so than saying someone could potentially penetrate the network.
The three basic flavors of penetration tests are black box, white box, and grey box. Sometimes they go by slightly different names, but the concept is the same. In a black box, the attacker has no insider knowledge of the company or technology in use. In a white box, the attacker might be given confidential information or some level of access to the wireless network. A grey box penetration test is somewhere in between the two. The situations where you would prefer one to the other depend on your ultimate goals. You’ll want to discuss your end goal with the team you hire, but ultimately you can consider a black box to show what an outsider might be able to accomplish, whereas a white box might show what an employee or ex-employee could accomplish.
Some of the important points to consider when securing an existing wireless network include how you will handle downtime, whether you will deploy a new network or a network in tandem with your current wireless network, and the impact on wireless clients.

Wireless Refresh

A project to refresh your existing wireless network or a gut-and-replace project to upgrade your wireless infrastructure, or even just upgrading select components of your wireless infrastructure, is a perfect opportunity to include security measures where they didn’t exist before. You should treat any of these opportunities the same as a predeployment project and integrate security from the beginning. In addition to integrating security from the start, you should look for opportunities to reuse existing infrastructure.
Be sure to account for the following issues:
● ● Who will manage the overall security of the wireless network?
● ● Who will monitor security events?
● ● Who will respond to intrusion events and deal with rogue access points?
● ● Who will manage the security configuration of client devices?
● ● Apply Least Privilege to whoever gets access to the wireless network.
Above all else, make sure you fully understand the true catalyst behind management’s decision to deploy a wireless network. For example, if management is looking to improve business efficiency by making a small group of the company mobile around the
office, can you identify all these users and build a more secure environment around that understanding? Can you deploy fewer access points with more restrictive settings? Can you quarantine off the wireless network from the internal network and give users access to only the few servers they need access to? Can you train all the people who will be using the wireless network on how to keep it as secure as possible? Keep in mind that business needs should always drive technology deployments; you should never be implementing technology just for technology’s sake.
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