Taking your work on the road today is sometimes risky business. Public Wi-Fi is part blessing, part curse for small businesses today – especially if employees fail to exercise a little caution when selecting Wi-Fi connectivity locations. Now is the time for business of all sizes to create company policies that protect important company secrets as well as the equipment that holds these secrets. These simple tips to keep your small business safe when using public wi-fi will help you avoid some of the not-so-hot spots that could put your business secrets at risk.
Don’t Leave Devices Unattended
Yes, the first tip is one that doesn’t really involve the Wi-Fi at all. Unfortunately, it’s a tip that’s so practical it people fail to take it seriously. Employees walk off and leave laptops, tablets, and mobile phones on tables for refills, to place orders, or simply to have conversations with other people in the hot spot location. Unattended hardware is an easy target for thieves and hackers alike.
Install VPS Software on Devices
Virtual Private Network software encrypts your activity while online. If your business has a lot of people who work out outside the office and are constantly connecting via Wi-Fi networks, this isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. Not all companies have the technology in place to create their own VPNs but there are options available for purchase that are well worth investment in peace of mind alone.
Get the Correct Name of the Wi-Fi Network
This is another simple tip that many employees overlook. However, it’s important. If you don’t know the proper name of the network for the Wi-Fi location, ask the manager. He or she will be happy to provide it and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re not playing with potentially malicious strangers when you connect. Hackers often use fake networks and grab all the information that steams across their networks. This includes user IDs and passwords. It’s a huge risk that is not worth taking.
Avoid Conducting Financial Transactions over Wi-Fi Networks
When out on the road, it’s difficult to avoid checking your financial records to make sure you’re not overspending or that a recent paycheck was, in fact, deposited. However, avoid these temptations at all costs. They may prove far more costly than you ever anticipated. If you must connect, only use secure connections and URLs that begin with “https.” This ensures security and encryption for your data.
Practicing a proper amount of paranoia can save your business time, money, and massive security breaches that can be even costlier than you may have imagined. If something doesn’t look right, disengage and wait for another time and location to connect. Additionally, you may consider investing in mobile broadband services that provide a password connected network you can take wherever you go. It’s much better to be safe, in this instant, then terribly sorry later on if you plunge ahead and vital information gets hacked. Lastly, cyber liability insurance and tech insurance is an absolute must if you or your employees use electronics to conduct business in cyberspace.