As wireless local area networks (WLANs) become more prolific and security threats on them more complex, the previously niche market for wireless intrusion detection and prevention services (WIDPS) looks set to boom.

Frost & Sullivan says that the need for WIDPS systems is crucial in all vertical markets across the board as a result of compliance regulation and the need to secure corporate wireless networks and estimates that while the market for these systems was estimated at $150-million in 2007, it is expected to more than triple to $572,5-million by 2014.
“While organisations are reaping the cost and productivity benefits associated with wireless networks, it is also crucial for organisations to protect their customer databases and financial assets from the growing number of security threats,” says Frost & Sullivan analyst Martha Vazquez. “As a result of security flaws associated with wireless networks, WIDPS is a key and necessary element in protecting a corporate network.”
Wireless LAN is not as secure as a wired network, she adds. Since there are many intruders that try to hack into networks for financial gain and consumer information, governments are setting down strict legislation for organisations using wireless networks. For this reason, regulation and compliance requirements are the number one driver for the WIPDS market.
However, a lack of knowledge about the products and the attacks being made has led to much confusion in the wireless security market. Vertical markets that implement a wireless network expect security to be included, but this is not the case for all vendors.
The level of security needed also varies at all vertical levels. Customers need to be educated on which level of security is required for their organisation and decide whether an overlay vendor is needed to supply the required security.
“The debate today is between overlay and WLAN integrated vendors which can provide the best security,” says Vazquez. “Overlay vendors will continue to enhance and broaden their portfolio for 2008 to keep up with the integrated infrastructure vendors that inhabit a large part of the WIDPS market share.”
WIPDS vendors need to focus on price relief and broaden their portfolio to continue to maintain product strength. These apart, they need to adequately communicate the ROI benefits and continue key partnerships within the WIDPS industry.