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9 ways to secure your business wi-fi network

9 Ways to Secure Your Business Wi-Fi Network

Business Wi-Fi Network
via Pixabay

Businesses rely heavily on the internet. It is the best technology invented, as it paved the way not only to access sources at your fingertips. The internet created job opportunities, made communication convenient, and helped businesses expand.

Wi-Fi networks made it possible for businesses to connect multiple devices to access files and allow employees to do their tasks. It’s a superb creation. In fact, most organizations set up their own Wi-Fi network without even considering some precautions.

As we started to manage and keep almost everything online, cyber threats began to emerge too. The number increases every day, and without the proper protection, businesses place themselves at risk.

Enterprises have hired professionals to maintain their business Wi-Fi network. They have also kept their security measures in check all the time. But small to mid-sized businesses are much more in danger.

The lack of Wi-Fi network security, coupled with other cybersecurity measures, places small businesses at risk. Furthermore, the introduction of mobile devices and IoT into the workplace becomes another concern for organizations to protect.

Some small businesses hire experts to maintain the security of their network. Meanwhile, others do it themselves. Although hiring a professional is the best option, you can still keep your business Wi-Fi network safe. However, make sure to only invest in the best tools and practices.

What Happens if a Wi-Fi Network is Unsecured?

Before you learn about ways to keep your business network safe, let’s get to know what happens if you leave your Wi-Fi network open and vulnerable.

An unsecured Wi-Fi connection means there is no security measure to prevent anyone from using it. These are often associated with public Wi-Fis you use in coffee shops or libraries.

Home network connection differs from public Wi-Fi as they use a password to protect the network. It’s a good practice, but for businesses, password protection alone is not enough.

When organizations leave the Wi-Fi network unsecured, it gives hackers the possibility to do whatever they want.

  • Access to login credentials

Having an unencrypted network leaves businesses open to cybercriminals. They can see anything you do. They can have a look at your login credentials and use them to access your accounts. This is where data breaches may occur.

  • Data Exposure

Whether it’s valuable files, personal information, media, and so on, an unencrypted Wi-Fi network can give hackers access to all of your data. They can steal, share, or change the information they see on your data.

  • Steal Corporate Bandwidth

Some hackers steal access to a business network for personal purposes. However, there are more sinister ways why cybercriminals try to access corporate Wi-Fi.

The Denial-of-Service or DoS attack is a form of online threat that shuts down the operation of a business temporarily. What happens in a DoS attack is that multiple unauthorized users will sign in to the network, causing it to exceed its bandwidth. Hence, the system crashes.

  • Use for Illegal Purposes

Unsecured Wi-Fi networks can be used by hackers for their illegal activities. They can transfer, download or share illegal files and materials. Therefore, any investigation will lead back to your network. So, whether you commit the crime or not, your business will be liable for it.

  • Spread Malicious Software

An unprotected network permits cybercriminals to distribute malware and viruses. As they have access to a network, they can easily insert a code into the system that can affect multiple devices at once.

The only way to combat these threats is to secure your business’s Wi-Fi network. There are multiple ways you can keep your network safe.

How to Keep Your Business Wi-Fi Network Safe?

Place Your Router on a Physically Secure Location

As much as we like to think protecting your business network is only happening online, it’s not. You need to move your router and access points (APs) to a secure location. Anyone who has access to your router can reset it to its factory default settings. Hence, you lose all the security protocols in your network.

You can move your router to a secure room with locks and add a surveillance camera to monitor it 24/7.

Change Default SSID Name and Password

Before you start using your Wi-Fi network, make sure that you change every default setting. Often, businesses that don’t change their SSID and password can be easily accessed. It’s because default SSID is common, and hackers know that.

Make sure to change them with a unique name and password. Use passwords with more than 15 characters, combine numbers, letters, and special characters. Never create passwords that are from personal information and can be found in the dictionary.

To keep the SSID and passwords safe, share them with employees who need access. Also, change your Wi-Fi network’s password quarterly or when needed (when an employee leaves).

Enable WPA2 or Wi-Fi Protected Access

WPA2 is a security protocol that’s available on updated Wi-Fi hardware. When it’s activated, it encrypts the data that’s being shared on the internet or between networks. Those who have the encryption key and Wi-Fi login credentials are the only ones who can access and read the data.

If you are still using routers with Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), consider upgrading as this is easier for hackers to access.

Turn Off WPS or Wi-Fi Protected Setup

WPS allows a device to pair with a protected or encrypted network. With a single push of a button, it can give anyone access to your network. Therefore, make sure to disable this feature so you won’t accidentally put your business’s network at stake.

Add a Firewall

Most routers come with a firewall to protect the internal network from attacks. However, you need to make sure that it is activated.

You can also add firewall software to your device to keep it from sending information on the network. You can use antivirus software with advanced features like Trend Micro Security, Bitdefender Total Security, or Webroot antivirus.

Separate Guest Network from Business Network

To avoid network infiltration and disaster, separate the network connection between your business and guest. Using one for both employees and customers screams trouble.

You can separate the two by using a Service Set Identifier (SSID) to separate the connection. Separating the Wi-Fi connection will prevent potential hackers from gaining access to your business’s data.

TLS, MDM, and WPS2 to increase the security of your devices too.

Consider Manipulating DHCP

DHCP or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server can automatically assign IP addresses to each device that connects to the network. With that, it means you have no control over which devices can get an IP address and then connect to your network freely.

But, you can take control by limiting or disabling the DHCP.  You can limit the DHCP by reducing the number of devices on your network. If you completely disable it, you have to manually provide the IP address to each device.

Although it’s better to provide IP addresses manually to control who can connect to your network, it is a labor-intensive practice. It will take time, particularly if you have plenty of devices in your business using your network.

Get Rid of Rogue Access Points

When someone in your office can’t connect well to your network, they create an unofficial access point. So they can easily connect to the office’s network. However, this connection is unsecured. Hence, it can be a gateway for hackers to gain access to your network and business data.

Scan your APs to make sure that there are no unsafe APs on your network. Furthermore, inform your employees not to create any APs at all.

Invest in a VPN

VPN or Virtual Private Network is a tool used to encrypt your IP address and all the data passing through your network. The only ones who can access the content are those who have the keycode.

There are business VPNs and consumer VPNs available. Make sure you choose a VPN that can cover the number of employees who need it.

Furthermore, using a VPN for your business can keep your files protected when someone tries to hack into your Wi-Fi network. Your employees can also use the VPN whenever they have to work outside of the office.

Here are some samples of business VPNs:

  • Perimeter 81
  • ExpressVPN
  • Encrypt.me
  • CyberGhost VPN
  • Surfshark

If you need to know more about VPN, here’s an article we have written all about it. Also, if you are looking for an article on how to protect your small business, here’s a cybersecurity checklist you can go through.

Conclusion

Cybercriminals recognize the importance of the internet for businesses. That’s why they are eager to find ways to manipulate through the network. Small and mid-sized businesses should be careful about how they handle their Wi-Fi network. Like enterprises, they need to focus on protecting their network to avoid a data breach.

Keeping your business Wi-Fi network secured is not necessarily expensive. There are affordable tools and practices you can implement to keep your network safe from hackers.

Need to learn more about managing your small business’s safety? Here are some blog posts dedicated to the best cybersecurity practices.

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