In today’s world people expect Wi-Fi access almost anywhere they go. Coffee shops, hotels and fast food restaurants have spoiled us to the point that when Wi-Fi is not available, we struggle to operate. However, the hospitality of providing internet access to visitors of your business can pose a risk to network security if a guest Wi-Fi network is not in place.
A guest Wi-Fi network is essentially a second access point on your router. Each of your company’s network devices, like servers and computers, are connected and combined to make a private network. The guest Wi-Fi is segmented off, providing access to the internet, but not any of the resources on your company’s network.
This segmentation removes the risk of unintended access to data, guests downloading malware or viruses and previously infected devices spreading their payload to other assets on your network.
A guest network is not only a resource for guests of your business, it is also where you want to connect any IoT device. IoT, or Internet of Things, devices are smart devices like TVs, thermostats or voice assistants that need an internet connection to operate. These devices are notorious for being shipped with vulnerabilities and are slow to receive security updates. Since these devices are inherently insecure, it is smart to keep them isolated on a guest network, removed from any access to critical business data or systems.
You should also consider having staff members connect any personal device to the guest Wi-Fi instead of the private network. Unless you have a mobile device security solution in place, allowing staff to connect insecure and potentially infected devices to your network opens a significant hole in overall security.
A guest Wi-Fi network also provides the ability to assign different permissions to users and devices. This can give you a better insight into who is using your network and how. Other policies can be assigned to the guest network to limit the bandwidth of each device connected. This will ensure that one user will not bog down the entire network by uploading pictures or watching funny cat videos. Additionally, providing a guest network can minimize liability if a guest or employee accesses questionable content or engages in fraudulent activity while connected to your network.
When implemented properly, a guest Wi-Fi network will secure your business while providing a much-demanded service to guests and staff. If you are interested in setting up secure wireless guest access for your business give us a call or contact us today.