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Everyone Uses Wi-Fi, it’s secure, right?

Nearly every business and consumer regularly users wireless (Wi-Fi) networks to enable their laptops and other devices to access the internet.

It’s quick, easy and secure, right? Well maybe.

I remember once reading a poster at my mechanics that read “You can have it done fast, right or cheap, pick two” and there is some truth in that when it comes to wireless security. In order to make our wireless easy and quick to connect to, people will sometimes skimp on security. So ask yourself, when was the last time you changed your SSID or password?

If you are like most clients, probably not since it was installed. And why not? No one would want to target your network right? Maybe you’ve had a recent falling out with an employee. With an unsecured network, they could sit in the parking lot and get back into your network. They may still be able to compromise your network with inside information even if you’ve disabled their user account.

You wouldn’t let them plug their laptop into your network after you’ve let them go, so why would you want an ex-employee to still have access to your wireless?

The good news is there are a few things you can do about it; smaller companies can take advantage of a few features in their router or wireless equipment to help secure the network.

  1. Regularly change your Wi-Fi password. This is easy to do, and for most small businesses it can be completed by logging into your router and simply entering a new one.
  2. Make sure all your network equipment has a password set, and make sure your router doesn’t use the default password. If someone knew it when they were let go, it should be changed.
  3. For larger companies or ones requiring enhanced security, there are some other features that may be enabled in your router. The most common is RADIUS used to secure your internet.

MAC Address Filtering
Every device that connects to a Wi-Fi network has a unique ID called a MAC address. If your router supports MAC address filtering, a list of every device’s MAC address can be entered so that a new device won’t work on Wi-Fi until you’ve added to the list.

RADIUS Authentication
If you have a server and a large number of employees, you should consider having 802.1X/RADIUS implemented on your network. This is the most complex setup but if you have active directory you can reliably ensure your network is more secure.

Wireless technology is a requirement for modern business, it has become so ubiquitous that we barely give it a second thought.

If you are using a public hotspot, never assume it’s a secure network and make sure your system is up-to-date with the latest patches and antivirus software.

If you have any concerns about the security or reliability of your wireless, reach out to your IT partner. Every year there are new solutions and technologies that can help ensure you have a safer and more reliable network.

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