Building a wireless safety net

As technology and data management play a larger role in day-to-day business, the need for – and definition of – security continues to evolve in the 21st century marketplace.

Security concerns have moved beyond the physical terrain of building managers and owners to the virtual domain of Information Technology and network managers. Even medium-sized businesses owning their own data networks increasingly need to secure data transfers to maximize reliability.

Organizations of all sizes should consider wireless protection.

Even as rapid technological advancements have introduced new, beefed-up security systems, they have also introduced new threats. For larger, campus-oriented organizations, utility companies or transportation centers, a strategic combination of physical and network security is an important cost of doing business.

Elements such as wireless network security should be given as much consideration as locks, keycards, cameras and alarm systems.

Unlike physical security intrusions, breaches in network security may go unnoticed for long periods of time – yet they can be just as detrimental to business operations. Potential threats may gain access remotely through viruses, worms and other online disturbances from outside the organization – but the threat doesn't end there. Attacks may also come from inside the company, such as through disgruntled employees or guests logging onto a wireless network.

By investing in a personalized, symmetrical and dedicated network rather than leasing from another provider, businesses can control how and when their network is accessed. In turn, businesses reduce exposure to security risks, heighten network reliability and cut costs in the long term. New technologies go beyond firewalls and virus protection to provide constant monitoring of network access and data transfer points. They also allow businesses to segment their network, permitting access on a limited basis or to specified sections. This can be particularly important in today's economic environment as companies face staffing changes.

Network downtime can also be a source of concern, not only from a lost productivity standpoint, but also in terms of security. Modern surveillance capabilities include transferring video wirelessly to remote monitoring centers. These technologies allow cameras to be placed more easily and in more challenging observation points – all while providing constant surveillance.

With a wireless security network, security personnel can travel throughout a campus while maintaining access to surveillance equipment and reports. Data can be transmitted to a laptop or an offsite monitoring location to be reviewed and acted upon.

While purchasing a private network may or may not be right for every business, the investments made to protect the physical, IT and intellectual assets of your business today will pay off. To identify the best solution for your business, choose a security provider who is well versed and equipped to manage all of your security needs. Then, work with them to audit the security of your business. Analyze your most important assets: are they intellectual or physical? Identify your challenge areas: do you operate multiple locations such as a campus or business park or one confined space? And don't forget the wireless risks: is your network leaving you vulnerable?

From camera systems and private networks, to gates, locks and keycards, innovative uses of wireless technology allow businesses of all types to safely and securely focus on what's really important – their business.

David Pelkey is President of Entrance Controls, a security solutions company founded in 1968 with offices in Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles.