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Wi-Fi Network Security: Take Another Look

Is having a simple password for your guest Wi-Fi network enough to keep company data safe?

We’re all accustomed to hopping on wireless networks whenever we can—saving data use on our mobile devices. And we appreciate when the office or coffee shop or school makes it easy for us to connect any time we visit. For most organizations, offering guest Wi-Fi access is a must. But is having a simple password enough to keep company data safe?

It depends. We have conversations about wireless network security with our clients a lot, and many have to make a difficult decision between protection and budget. Sometimes that means wireless security is set aside.

With more wireless network vulnerabilities in the news lately, we’re asking everyone to take another look at their organization’s Wi-Fi security. Four important points to consider:

1. Your guest wireless should be separate from your internal network.

Wireless networks can be separated through Access Control Lists (ACLs) or physical or virtual (vLAN) network segmentation. If your organization follows compliance standards, you’ll want your guest Wi-Fi on a separate internet connection.

2. Change the guest wireless network password regularly. Set the cadence that makes most sense for your organization.

3. Highly confidential data, like bank information, should only be accessible through a direct connection (not through wireless).

4. Employees should access their work Wi-Fi through their domain account, not through a common password. That way, if an employee leaves the organization his or her access to Wi-Fi is immediately revoked without the need to give everyone a new wireless password. And employees don’t have a password to share with guests, compromising organization’s network.

We can set up strong defenses to keep hackers out of your network, but you’ll still need a door that you can open to access the Internet. We have to reduce the risk of someone coming in through that door while you’re not looking. By taking a layered approach to security, including protecting your internal network from external connections through Wi-Fi, we’ll help strengthen the defenses that protect your organization.

If you have any questions about your current setup, let us know. We want your organization to have the right protections against the threats most likely to affect your business.