Online Security 101: Securing Wireless Networks for Businesses

Online SecuritySome companies prefer connecting to the internet using wireless networks. It eliminates the need for long cables, provides greater convenience and allows employees to maintain productivity as they move around the office. However, to fully benefit from wireless networking, suggests setting up security measures to adequately protect the network and keep hackers and unauthorised users out.

Establish a Wireless Security Policy

Most companies have a written security policy to secure their wired network. The same approach should apply to wireless networks. A wireless security policy typically includes computer policies such as antivirus policy, acceptable use policy, password policy, encryption policy, remote access policy and email communications policy. It should also specify the employees authorised to use the network and their level of permissions.

 Use a Complex Passphrase

An easily guessed passphrase, such as password123 or connect2wifi, are susceptible to brute force attacks. Therefore, it is critical to come up with a passphrase that will be difficult to crack even by the most experienced hacker. The passphrase length should be at least 25 characters and contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

Disable Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)

Some Wi-Fi routers have WPS that allows users to add new devices to the wireless network by using an 8-digit number printed on the device. By disabling WPS, businesses can prevent hackers from cracking the highly simple WPS PIN code.

Use Only Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) Encryption

There are currently three ways to encrypt Wi-Fi passwords: WEP, WPA and WPA2. Businesses should stick with WPA2 as it has an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) technology that makes passwords difficult to crack. There is no need to worry about compatibility as all Wi-Fi routers bearing the Wi-Fi trademark support WPA2.

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Provide Separate Wi-Fi Credentials for Guests

From time to time, businesses will have customers or partners who will connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. In this case, it is okay to let visitors connect to a guest network under a different Service Set Identification (SSID). This prevents guests from accessing the company’s main network.

These suggestions can help secure a wireless network from opportunistic hackers and unauthorised users. Employees who wish to keep their company’s wireless networks secure can do their part by changing their passwords regularly and staying on top of on any network security policy changes.