Advances in wireless technology have dramatically changed how we utilize the internet. Now, we can access the internet from nearly anywhere and via a long list of devices, from smartphones and tablets to even automobiles. The caveat that comes with this greater accessibility to the internet is the increased risk of cyber criminals exploiting the network you use.
Many small business owners or entrepreneurs working by themselves feel that cyber criminals will not target them as the gains are too small. However, Symantec says that 43 percent of all cyberattacks actually target small businesses. In fact, every business has the type of sensitive information that cyber criminals want. Just some of this data a criminal would love to have includes company intellectual property, employee information, client information, and bank account access. At the bare minimum, we strongly suggest enacting the following wireless security policies.
Utilize a VPN
Whenever you or an employee works remotely, you should use a VPN (virtual private network) to securely connect to the computer within your office. As many employees either travel for work or work remotely, using a VPN becomes crucial. This is particularly true if you store all your data on a computer or central server within your office. Without utilizing a VPN, any data accessed is essentially out there for anyone to access using basic tools. A VPN, however, will encrypt the data transferred when you or an employee works remotely. This makes it impossible to access or spy on the data without permission.
Use a Separate Guest Network
Nearly every single business will need to provide guests with access to their network at some point. It is possible to create a guest network that lets guests use your wireless services and connect to the network without accessing the main network. Create two separate networks so the guests use a second wireless network that is not connected to sensitive files. This way, information such as data about clients and the company will only be stored on the network that your trusted employees can access. If you were to skip this advice and use a single network for guests and employees, anyone who logs into the guest network could access sensitive data.
Ensure Strong Encryption
Do not rely on the default settings for your wireless devices. They do not deliver sufficient protection, and hackers can easily access information on the devices. Avoid this potential security pitfall by using a high level of encryption.
Place Wireless Devices Carefully
Even something as seemingly simple as the placement of wireless devices can impact your company’s wireless security. Ensure that all wireless devices are in secure locations where visitors cannot reach them. Someone with the proper knowledge can easily disable even the strongest encryption settings if they get access to the device. Remember how cyber hackers utilize social engineering like leaving USB drives in common areas to gain access to the company’s devices and/or network? This is very similar to how those with malicious intent may undo your encryption if given access. Preventing this type of problem is as simple as storing your wireless gear in a secure location that is not easily accessible.