If you run a business, you probably already have a wireless Internet network or you are considering one. They are no doubt practical, convenient, and very easy to use. On the downside, though, they can be a risk to your company’s private and confidential information. Before you rush into getting one, it is important to be aware of not just the benefits, but the drawbacks as well. Here are the benefits and risks of wireless Internet networks and how you can better secure your network to reduce your risks.
There are many reasons to start using a wireless Internet network in your business. The first is convenience; you can use Internet anywhere on the premises without having be connected directly to the modem with a cable. This lets you and your employees access their email, the web browser, and certain programs that require Internet access. It is also convenient for your customers and clients who might want to use Internet while in the waiting room or on your premises.
You also get very high speed with wireless Internet access. These Internet networks use advanced technology, giving you the same high speeds as regular Internet access. They are also cost effective, saving you money by not having multiple modems in your office, but letting everyone use the same wireless connection with their own computer.
In addition, it makes it easy to move data and send information remotely to different computers or devices within the coverage area, as opposed to having to work with tricky physical Internet connections. Also consider how much neater it is not having cables and modems scattered around your office.
While you have many benefits to using a wireless Internet network, there are also some risks to be aware of. The biggest risk is a safety concern, because wireless networks are easier to hack into than physical connections. Even if you have your network password-protected, someone might be able to figure out the password.
The other risk concerning safety is that an employee accesses the network when they are not performing business duties. If an employee uses a website that is not secured, they are opening up your business to security risks.
There is an even bigger risk when employees are using their own devices (BYOD) with the wireless Internet connection. You are not able to control what virus protection they have or where they browse the Internet using their device with your Internet connection. This is another big safety risk.
How to Secure the Network
Even with these risks, you can reduce them by securing your wireless network. Here are some tips for reducing your risk and securing the network:
- Turn on encryption. Your wireless router should have a setting that asks you to turn on the encryption. This makes it to where a password is required to use your Internet, and certain websites that are not safe will not be accessible through your network. Choose a password that is difficult to guess and includes numbers, letters with lower and uppercase letters, and symbols.
- Activate the firewall. If your computers do not have the firewall activated, do so before using wireless Internet. The firewall is going to protect from many intrusions, and may be from software or hardware on your computer. They are easy to activate and provide a good level of security.
- Change the default name. Your default name probably gives away personal information, such as your business name. Change this to something that will not identify the Internet connection as belonging to your business.