The worldwide wireless LAN (WLAN) intrusion prevention system (IPS) market is on pace to reach $168 million in 2008, a 41 per cent increase from 2007 revenue of $119-million, according to Gartner.
Wireless networks remain a potentially significant vulnerability for organisations as a continuing stream of WLAN-based security incidents has demonstrated. Gartner said that because most organisations support WLANs, they must ensure that vulnerability management and intrusion prevention processes are extended to cover wireless and wired networks.
"We believe that the initial sales of WLAN IPS products have penetrated the Global 5000 companies and government agencies who are early adopters of wireless technologies," says John Pescatore, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "As the business-crucial use of WLANs and other wireless technologies continues to increase, the need for wireless security monitoring will grow as well."
Vendors in the market are made up of WLAN infrastructure vendors that sell distinct wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) solutions, as well as smaller vendors that sell dedicated WLAN monitoring capabilities. Businesses¹ need for particular wireless security monitoring capabilities are driven by regulatory demands, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, and vertical industry demands such as retail point of sale security and headquarters protection of sensitive business and customer data.
According to John Girard, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, most companies have moved rapidly from trying to keep WLANs out of their organisations to fully embracing them widely across all corporate facilities. For many security organisations, this shift has meant that the focus on WLAN security has moved from finding and disabling rogue access points (APs) to detecting and remediating mis-configured APs.
In today¹s environment, wireless security-monitoring products are used mostly as vulnerability assessment and management products, and only secondarily as intrusion prevention products. However, new wireless technologies, such as 802.11n, have broadened the types of WLAN modulations that need to be detected, and emerging forms of wireless communications (such as WiMAX and third generation) will continue this trend.
As the use of WLANs becomes more commonplace, vulnerability-seeking attacks will increase, and intrusion-prevention capabilities will be used more often. Therefore, although the WIPS market has reached the early mainstream phase, it will continue to be a dynamic market where new features will be required with each product release.