Although wireless solutions offer many advantages, some industry experts believe there are barriers to adoption, including a perceived security risk that a local area network (LAN) or wide-area network (WAN) can be exposed to flaws, enabling a perpetrator to access confidential information."Whenever a wireless-enabled computer is plugged into a corporate network, and certain wireless capabilities are left on, network security is potentially compromised," notes Nicholas Miller, CEO for Cirond Corp., a San Jose, Calif.-based wireless security provider. (See "A Wireless Nightmare Waiting To Happen," page 23).

Mark Lund, national sales manager, insurance & financial services, for Plano, Texas-based Panasonic Computer Solutions Co., does not believe that security for WANs is a problem. As proof, he points to the growing number of local and state police departments that communicate using WAN capabilities.

If law enforcement authorities feel confident that these networks are secure, others can feel confident as well, says Lund.

On the whole, the implementation of wireless tools has become an emerging trend. In a report released by Boston-based Celent Communications Inc., "Wireless Technologies in Property/Casualty," research analyst Chad Hersh found that wireless technologies have many benefits. They can be used in a carrier's home office and in the field. Home office uses include wireless local area network (LAN) access and remote e-mail access for employees. Both can help to promote the use of wireless technologies in the field, where a more compelling return on investment can be achieved, Hersh says.

But connectivity is not always guaranteed. The role of WAN bandwidth is a key to driving a successful wireless program. The technology has to provide a connection to users regardless of where they are working, Hersh adds.

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