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Will wireless carriers adopt a device security philosophy?

With the proliferation of wireless devices, some security pros wonder if wireless carriers will provide device security solutions. SearchSecurity's network security expert Mike Chapples tackles this question in this Ask the Expert Q&A.

What role do you see wireless carriers playing in providing device security solutions, i.e. hosted device management?
Because the stakes are so high, I don't think we'll see wireless carriers taking on much of a role in security. Historically, telephone service providers have taken a hands-off approach to the use of their service. They typically believe their responsibility is to deliver a dial tone to the end of every twisted pair (or the wireless equivalent) and once the call is connected, their job is done.

I think we can expect to see wireless carriers adopt a similar approach. While they're responsible for providing overall security for the network, they'll likely take a hands-off approach to device security. The diversity of devices (laptops, PDAs, smartphones, etc.) that may be connected to wireless networks makes it too challenging to provide managed security at the carrier level. Furthermore, the different regulatory requirements facing various user sets make it a risky proposition for the carriers to assume any liability. I expect that the burden of providing security for wireless devices will remain on the end user for the foreseeable future.

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This was last published in June 2006

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