5 Ways to Ensure the Safety of Your Wireless Network
By Kylie Ora Lobell
Wi-Fi is critical to your business. It allows your employees to move around the office or store, working from anywhere to complete their tasks of the day. While there are numerous upsides to having Wi-Fi, you do have to watch out for security concerns.
For example, public Wi-Fi networks, which users can connect to without a password, are susceptible to hacking. If hackers want to, they can see every bit of data that’s being sent over the network. That means if you’re sending emails with your social security number in them or accessing your business’ online banking, the hackers can collect all that information. They can also give computers over the network malware, which can do a great deal of damage and set your business back.
According to Norton, in 2015 almost 600 million people around the globe were victims of cybercrime. Twenty-one percent of Americans had their email hacked, and 12 percent had their data stolen after shopping online. To avoid becoming one of the statistics, take the following steps to secure your Wi-Fi.
Password Protect It
Your business’s Wi-Fi needs a password, first and foremost. This password should not be easy to guess, so make sure it includes a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and even special characters. This will stop hackers from being able to guess the password, log in and steal your information. For extra protection, change your password every few months.
Be Discreet with the Password
You trust people, and you have confidence in your employees. However, you should only share your Wi-Fi network password with employees that have proven themselves to be reliable. A new employee may give out the password to friends who are in the store or office, and you don’t want it getting into the wrong hands. You may only want to share the password with management and your IT team.
Use a Firewall
A router acts as a hardware firewall. It protects your computer from malicious attacks on your network coming from the internet. A software firewall, which you can enable on your computer, also protects you from the internet and acts as a shield from other computers on your network. For example, if one of your employees’ computers gets infected with malware, it won’t spread to you if you have your software firewall on. Typically, you can turn it on through your computer’s control panel or settings.
Connect with WPA2
There are a few encryption standards when it comes to Wi-Fi: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and WPA2. The safest bet is WPA2, which has the strongest encryption capabilities. It can be used at a personal or enterprise level, and the encryption won’t have any impact on the performance of the Wi-Fi network.
Create a Separate Guest Wi-Fi
If you have visitors coming into your office or customers frequenting your business, set up a separate guest Wi-Fi for them that’s also password protected. You might want to consider giving out the password only to customers who purchase from you. You could also keep the password on a slip of paper at the register and only give it to customers who ask for it. Small steps like this can discourage hackers from taking hold of your network.
Kylie Ora Lobell is a business and legal writer who provides all types of useful tips for small businesses, including how to set up your wireless router with a guest password. Click here to see a wide selection of wireless router options.