U.S. Startup Network Chemistry has announced RFprotect Endpoint, which allows sysadmins to enforce policies on mobile users.

The software allowed IT managers to enforce wireless connection policies to high-speed networks such as Wi-Fi, EV-DO (Evolution - Data Only) and HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access), said Network Chemistry’s Brian de Haaff.

Notebook PCs are the fastest growing segment of the PC market, as workers increasingly untie themselves from desktop LAN connections and work remotely from office conference rooms, neighbourhood coffee shops or airport waiting lounges.

But that freedom comes at a price, as many notebook users fail to properly configure their PCs to protect against wireless threats. The prospect of secure company financial information falling prey to wireless "sniffing" attacks is attracting interest in products such as RFprotect Endpoint, de Haaff said.

The software resided on a company's servers with individual notebooks using an agent running in the background that was transparent to the user, de Haaff said.

IT managers could set policies restricting users to pre-approved connection points, enforcing the use of VPN (virtual private network) software or denying connections to users who have failed to turn off ad-hoc networking to other wireless devices, he said.

RFprotect Endpoint enforced these policies without asking the user to approve the security settings, a feature requested by Network Chemistry's customers, de Haaff said. "Users always want connectivity over security," and RFprotect Endpoint takes that decision out of their hands, he said.

The software will be available in the first quarter of 2006. Pricing starts at US$29 per user, and scales downward based on the size of the deployment.

Network Chemistry, based in Redwood City, California, also sells sensor networks that monitor a company's facilities for wireless threats. The company has received funding from Incutel, the venture capital arm of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.