The 7 Things You Need to Do to Make Your Business WiFi Secure
Taking cybersecurity seriously sends a good message to your customers
Setting up a WiFi network is generally a fairly easy task. Plug it in. Copy down some letters and numbers. Let it rip.
The problem is that this process ignores all security considerations. Because WiFi works in the background of most people’s thoughts, it’s easy to forget it’s even there. Unfortunately, there are plenty of malicious folks who haven’t forgotten that your WiFi exists and they are only too happy to let themselves into your network without your knowledge in order to snoop, steal, or possibly damage your data.
If your WiFi security is weak, your business is vulnerable.
What to do?
Easy and effective steps toward WiFi security
WiFi security is easier than you think. Much of it is common sense and using tools that are readily available. Consider the following suggestions.
Create a separate network for guests
There are many reasons why you may want to provide WiFi access to guests. Most business-grade routers include the option of running two separate WiFi networks at the same time—your business network, and one for your guests.
It’s recommended that you use password protection even on your guest WiFi access. This will protect your visitors from becoming vulnerable to anyone sniffing around your networks looking to catch valuable data. Passwords can be provided to guests when they arrive, although it’s a good idea to change this password regularly.
Hide your network name
Many people aren’t aware that you can prevent your WiFi router from displaying your network’s name. Known as a service set identifier (SSID), it can be set to “hidden” so that users (such as authorized employees) have to know the name of the network before being able to connect.
Be warned that this isn’t a foolproof method. Some hackers could still scan your network and find your SSID. Consider this tip more as an additional layer to what should be a multi-layered form of protection.
Use a secure WPA password
Your WiFi access points should employ WiFi Protected Access (WPA) or the improved WPA2 option. And needless to say, secure passwords are important. Many people do not change the default admin names and passwords that come labeled to most new routers. These defaults allow for a quick and easy initial setup, but should be changed immediately upon completion of setup. Ideally, the password should be long and random. Avoid any recognizable pattern of letters or numbers. No words you would find in a dictionary. Certainly no birthdays, anniversaries, or other publicly-accessible likely letter or number sequences.
Use a random password generator, if possible, set to a minimum of 16 numbers and letters (both upper and lower case).
Set up a firewall
Strong passwords are a must, but the first line of defense should be your firewall. Most routers will have one already built in. This will check data coming in and going out for any questionable usage. By checking sources and destinations against preset parameters, your firewall will block any illegitimate activity.
You can also run software firewalls on individual devices which can allow users to confirm whether some traffic should be allowed or not.
Enable MAC authentication for your users
Rather than allowing nearly any wireless device access to your WiFi, you can restrict access to specific devices only. Every device comes with a MAC address and by using MAC authentication, you can limit network access to only those devices on the approved list of devices with approved MAC addresses.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is arguably the best option for many businesses in staying safe and secure online. With encryption utilized throughout and keeping your data concealed, any cyber intruder that makes it past all your other defenses would still find themselves unable to do any damage to your system. VPN use has becoming more popular lately, so it’s worth your time to investigate this option.
Train your employees on safe WiFi use
Much of the above could be rendered absolutely useless if your employees are not made aware of safe network practices. Strong password use, changing of passwords, deactivated firewalls, and more could open your WiFi network to all sorts of bad actors.
Keep your employees and other users informed about best practices when it comes to keeping your network secure, and make sure they’re following all of the proper security protocols.
Common sense solutions prevent complex problems
You wouldn’t leave your house or car unlocked, would you? Doing so makes you vulnerable to theft, vandalism, and other problems. Your WiFi network is no different. Fortunately, securing your WiFi is nearly as simple as turning a key.
Following these common sense solutions will go a long way in keeping your network and your business safe and secure.