Most businesses have one WiFi network. It's the WiFi network used by employees in the office and it supplies every phone, tablet, and laptop in the building. This WiFi network is the wireless half of your singular internal business network, the network where you handle all of your client, industry, and project information moving from workstation computer to workstation computer. Your central business network holds terabytes of sensitive data, active projects, and private personal information about employees and clients. And it's what you work so hard to protect with cybersecurity.
However, using the WiFi access to your internal network for non-internal purposes is a risky decision. The best way to get malware infecting your entire business network is to leave that gateway open to guests and hackers. Often one in the same, as far as risk goes. In fact most businesses need to form at least one or more completely separate WiFi networks that can provide wireless internet access without ever providing access to your secure internal business network.
There are four different types of separate WiFi network that every business should consider. Chances are, you'll need at least one, and possibly all four, to provide great wireless access and keep your business network safe at the same time.
IoT WiFi Network
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a hot trend in modern offices and non-office businesses. Once thought of just as 'smart home stuff', the IoT trend is bringing smart wireless devices and incredible conveniences to high-tech office life. Everything from smart security cameras to smart coffee pots can make an incredible difference in the workplace as IoT takes its place in our wireless workflow.
However, IoT is also notoriously unsecured and a glowing target for hackers. IoT companies are not always careful about internal device security and the security weaknesses created by manufacturers can put your business network at risk of hacker invasion. But only if your IoT devices are actually connected to the internal network.
Instead, make a completely separate WiFi network for all your IoT so you can enjoy all of the convenience, and none of the ransomware risk.
Customer Guest WiFi
Guest WiFi is an incredibly powerful amenity for any business with on-site customers. From restaurants and hotels of the hospitality industry to hardware stores where customers are looking up the exact part number they need, guest WiFi is fantastic. In fact, some businesses have completely revived their customer base by offering a wireless internet experience in addition to the physical brick-and-mortar experience and products available.
But guest WiFi is just asking for hacker attention as well. A hacker who logs into your guest WiFi, depending on their skills, may be able to access the core network and even influence others on the same network. This can be highly dangerous if you're inviting guests into your internal business network. But creating a separate WiFi network just for guests creates a buffer. Not only that, it's also easy to fully reset the network if you suspect any hacker tampering.
Business Guest WiFi
On the other side of the same coin is business guest WiFi. For many businesses, business partners and potential serious clients may visit your office quite often and need to be treated as honored guests when they do. Part of this is providing complimentary and accessible WiFi so that your business guests can check their emails, access their cloud presentations, and otherwise enjoy wireless internet access.
But you don't want to give any ol' business visitor direct access to your internal network, just in case they're a plant, a corporate spy, or have tons of malware on their phone already. So, the correct answer is to create a separate WiFi network with special security and access procedures so that your business guests can connect while your internal network remains secure.
Finally, let's not forget mobile hotspots. Hotspots create a unique wireless network of their own, allowing devices to connect directly to that mini-WiFi-network as needed either in the office or on the go. Mobile hotspots are the most important for employees that work out of the office or who take business trips.
By equipping your out-of-office employees with mobile hotspots, you provide them with a safe, separate WiFi network that they can know for sure is not a hacker honey pot (a free network hacker trap posing as guest WiFi). Therefore, employees will be safe to connect to the internal network or secure business-cloud applications without fear of revealing company data.
Separate WiFi networks are now a standard way to deal with wireless network security. You don't have to open up your internal business network to provide WiFi access to guests, visiting clients, or your IoT devices. Just spin up a separate WiFi network instead. For more help with these WiFi networks, network security insights, or advice on securing your company networks, contact us today!