Most employers today see the benefits of offering WiFi to employees, but that doesn’t come without risks. A WiFi network can make a business more vulnerable to data breaches and other cyber threats.
“As with any network, your WiFi network is a potential point of access for third parties looking to gain access to your network, systems and data,” says Trent Pham, senior director of product management, security, for Spectrum. “It’s in a company’s best interest to ensure its WiFi network is as secure as it can be.”
An unsecure WiFi network can allow unauthorized third parties to access a company’s internet and potentially expose the organization to liability if it’s used for illegal activities, Pham adds.
Allowing guests to use the same WiFi connection as your employees opens yourself up to major business security risks.
Businesses can greatly strengthen the security of their business WiFi network by taking these six steps:
1. Update the WiFi router’s administrative password—and change it regularly
It unfortunately still happens: A business installs a new WiFi router but doesn’t change the manufacturer’s default password. It’s important to update the WiFi network’s administrative password when you first set up a business WiFi router and change it regularly—such as monthly or quarterly.
2. Change your network name
Likewise, routers typically come with a default network name (also known as service set identifier, SSID) that shows up when someone is searching for WiFi networks in their area. The default name is often the model name of your router—which you don’t want to advertise, Pham adds.
3. Disable SSID broadcasting
You generally don’t want unauthorized people finding your network, so it makes sense to disable SSID broadcasting so that “someone must know the name of the network in order to join it,” says Dave Hatter, a cybersecurity consultant with Intrust IT in Cincinnati.
4. Use at least WPA2 encryption
Many new routers come with WPA2, a strong form of wireless security that provides unique encryption for each device that connects to the network. Make sure your router provides at least WPA2 security and that it is activated.
5. Enable your router’s firewall
Some wireless routers have a built-in firewall, which is an effective tool for preventing unauthorized access to your network. Your router’s firewall should be activated, Pham says, and set it to only allow for traffic initiated from your network.
6. Set up guest WiFi for non-employees
Employee WiFi is on the same network as your internal systems and applications and so should not be exposed to non-employees. Implement guest WiFi access by using a separate wireless channel or device to segregate it from the internal network. Also require employees to use the guest network to connect a personal device to the internet. This reduces the risk of a compromised device potentially infecting your internal systems.
While business WiFi is essential for pretty much every workplace today, it’s important to make sure it’s not a weak spot in your security efforts.
Spectrum Business Internet customers can add Spectrum Business WiFi—a private, employee-only WiFi service—for just $7.99 a month. That includes a new router equipped with modern security features along with 24/7 dedicated WiFi support. To learn more, contact us at 855-299-9353.Print this article