WatchGuard Unveils ‘Wi-Fi Cloud’ – a Wi-Fi management platform for operators

WatchGuard Technologies has unveiled WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud, a secure, scalable and feature-rich Wi-Fi management platform with a new family of cloud-ready access points.

Deployed together, this next-generation secure wireless solution delivers a sophisticated Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS), while turning Wi-Fi hot spots into powerful consumer research, analytics and push marketing tools.

Architected from the ground up to focus on ease of deployment and administration, the WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud simplifies even the most complex aspects of Wi-Fi management, making fast, secure and intelligent Wi-Fi accessible to organisations of all types and sizes.

WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud delivers high-quality wireless performance, while ensuring consistent security policies across all connected devices, even at remote locations. The patented WIPS technology built into WatchGuard’s new cloud-ready AP120 and AP320 access points automatically classifies wireless devices as Authorized, Rogue, or External, resulting in a very low false positive rate. This advanced rogue detection process can safely and automatically shut down unauthorised access points and clients, while nearly eliminating the risk of illegally interfering with neighbouring wireless networks.

“Today’s savvy businesses realise that safe and reliable Wi-Fi is a basic requirement, but many SMBs and distributed enterprise organisations struggle to deliver it. We’ve developed a comprehensive solution that dramatically simplifies how businesses deploy and manage wireless, while at the same time elevating Wi-Fi security standards,” said Ryan Orsi, director of wireless products at WatchGuard. “In addition to security, the WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud makes it easier for organisations to turn Wi-Fi into an extension of their brand, an interactive experience for their customers and a powerful analytics tool.”

WIRELESS SECURITY

Most traditional wireless network management solutions fail to stop rogue devices from connecting to their networks or block threats like wireless denial-of-service attacks. Current WIPS technology delivers a high rate of false positives, incorrectly categorising neighbouring hotspots and innocuously connected devices as malicious, which creates unnecessary frustration and end-user complaints.

In addition to automatically detecting and disabling rogue wireless devices and attacks, WatchGuard’s industry-leading WIPS also provides customers with:

· Secure Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy Enforcement – automatically identifies on-network smart devices and blocks unapproved connections.

· Accurate Location Tracking – pinpoints the location of connected wireless devices or sources of interference, enabling administrators to quickly take action.

· Flexible Deployment – deployable in configurations to meet any security need. It can be installed as an overlay on top of an existing WLAN infrastructure or as a stand-alone enforcement system for Wi-Fi prohibited zones.

Customers can easily and cost effectively run all of their wireless network traffic through one of WatchGuard’s leading network security appliances, thereby providing the same AV, IPS, web filtering, spam blocking, application control, APT blocking, data loss prevention and reputation lookup techniques to wireless traffic. This protects them against malware planting, eavesdropping and data theft and prevents inappropriate or illegal use of their network.

INTERACTIVE ENGAGEMENT AND ANALYTICS

The Wi-Fi Cloud provides visibility into marketing data, including insights into footfall and customer demographics visualised on customisable dashboards. Organisations can easily monetise these insights by tapping into the mobile engagement features, which allow direct and customised communication with individual customers in the form of SMS, MMS and their social network of choice. WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud management features also include:

· Custom Splash Pages and Social Wi-Fi Engagement – captive portals allow businesses to personalise customer Wi-Fi experiences by offering promotional opportunities, surveys and strong authentication through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social applications.

· Mobile Engagement – delivers custom messages to customers via SMS, MMS, and social networks, based on predefined triggers including user interaction and length of time on-network.

· Wi-Fi Analytics – data is collected via passive scans, active scans and user connections in and around your Wi-Fi networks. Analyses and conceptualises this data to provide insight into traffic patterns, behaviour and demographics of your Wi-Fi users, in addition to generating a visual map of foot traffic patterns on a floor plan.

“There is a strong demand among our customers for widely deployable, cloud-enabled solutions and we are excited to add WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud to our portfolio,” said Ian Kilpatrick, director at Wick Hill. “This new Wi-Fi cloud functionality expands our ability to sell more to existing customers and to reach brand new customers. Additionally, Firebox and Wi-Fi Cloud installations will increase partners’ service revenues. This represents a big win for everyone.”