If you are going to open up your network to guests, security cannot be an afterthought. Secure guest WiFi for business is a must. Before providing WiFi access, be sure to consider the points below:
Segmenting your network is important for two reasons. Secure guest WiFi for business means visitors should not be able to gain access to parts of the network used by your employees. Your business guest wireless network should be kept totally separate from the internal network used by your employees. Guest users should not be able to logon and see your network assets and confidential files and resources. Use a network firewall or create a separate VLAN for guest use and use a software firewall to protect servers and workstations from traffic from the guest network. Secondly, in the event of a malware or ransomware infection, if you segregate your network, it will greatly limit the harm caused.
Always Change Default Passwords and SSIDs
This is one of the most basic security practices, yet because of that it is easy to forget. The Internet is littered with reports of data breaches that have occurred as a result of the failure to change default passwords. All network peripherals should have strong, unique passwords set.
It is also important to change your SSID for your WiFi network. The SSID should reflect the name of your business and it should be quite clear to your customers which is your network. Fail to do this and you make it too easy for malicious individuals to set up rogue access points to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks. You can then post the SSID and password internally to make it easy for legitimate users to gain access to your network. Be sure to change your password regularly.
Keep your Firmware Updated!
Firmware updates are issued for a reason. They correct vulnerabilities that could easily be exploited by cybercriminals to gain access to your devices and network. If those vulnerabilities are exploited, configurations can be changed for a variety of nefarious purposes. You should have policies in place that require firmware updates to be installed promptly, with checks performed monthly to ensure that all devices have been updated and no firmware updates have been missed.
Encrypt Your Wireless Signals
You want to make it as easy as possible for your guest WiFi network to be accessed by your customers and visitors, but don’t make it too easy for hackers to spy on individuals connected to the network. Make sure you encrypt your wireless network with WPA2/WPA3 encryption.
If your router does not support WPA2 as a minimum it is time to upgrade your router’s firmware or if that is not possible, you should buy a modern router that supports WPA3 encryption. If you fail to encrypt your WiFi, it is too easy for your bandwidth to be stolen.
Secure Guest WiFi for Business Means Content Filtering
Secure guest WiFi for business means adding controls to limit the content that can be accessed on your WiFi network.
You should block access to adult content – which includes pornography, gambling sites, and dating sites, and also web content that is ethically or morally questionable or illegal.
A web filtering solution will also protect your customers from accidental malware and ransomware downloads and is an important anti-phishing control.
Consider using a cloud-based web filter as these require no additional hardware to be purchased. They can also be configured and maintained remotely and will not require software or firmware upgrades. In contrast to appliance-based web filters, cloud-based filters are more scalable and are more adaptable to the changing needs of your business.
Wireless Guest Network Best Practices
There are many benefits to be gained from setting up a wireless guest network but doing so introduces risks. If those risks are not managed, guest users could gain access to network resources and view or steal sensitive information. Malware may be accidentally or deliberately installed, and vulnerabilities could be introduced that could expose the network to hackers. Fortunately, following some simple wireless guest network best practices will ensure risks are mitigated and your wireless network is made as – or more – secure that your wired network.
Separate your wireless guest network from the business network
– Set up a second SSID specifically for guests to use. It should not be possible for guest users to access your internal WiFi network.Choose the SSID wisely
– Choose a name that does not advertise the fact that the network belongs to your business. This will make it harder for hackers to attack your WiFi network.Set a secure password for guests to use
– Make sure the default password is changed to ensure only authorized guests can access the network.If possible, ensure each guest user can be identified on the network. Use a management solution that collects guest credentials as this will allow you to monitor guest behavior and gain valuable insights into how your customers are using the network.Communicate your Internet usage policies to guests so they know what is allowed and prohibited while connected to your WiFi network Use the most advanced encryption available
– All modern routers and access points support WPA2 encryption. Make sure this is enabled
– or WPA3 if it is supported. Avoid using WPS as it is vulnerable to brute force attempts to guess the password.Disable admin access on wireless networks
– if a hacker succeeds in gaining access to your WiFi network, this will limit the harm that can be caused.Implement a web filtering solution
– A web filter should be configured to prevent users from accessing inappropriate and malicious websites while connected to the WiFi network
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