8 Steps to Securing Your Business Wi-Fi Network
Access to a Wi-Fi network is essential to running a business, but are often security risks vulnerable to hackers looking to steal your data and customer information.
Your company might not have the resources or budget to strengthen your IT defences to ward off these cyber-attacks. However, it’s critical that you secure any entry points to your network to not become an easy target from online threats. Here are eight steps to securing your Wi-Fi network and protecting your business.
1. Physically secure your network devices
The easiest step to securing your IT network is by locking away your router, firewalls and access points so that no one can access them. All someone needs to do is simply reset or plug in to your devices to make them vulnerable.
The devices should be kept under lock and key, preferably in a tucked-away cabinet or your locked office. It would be best if you also considered installing surveillance cameras to monitor it. This is the most basic form of defence for your Wi-Fi but should be taken seriously.
2. Continuously change the network device passwords
You should never leave your log-in information as the default one–it’s critical that you alter your passwords and make them difficult to crack. Remember not to use actual words or phrases, as hackers can simply use software to run it through a dictionary until they find the word. A strong password needs to be at least 12 characters in length and utilize a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and unique symbols. It should be in completely random order and impossible to guess. Ensure that the username is unique as well, not just “admin” or your company name.
Keep your username and password details private, sharing with no one but the essential employees. More importantly, it would be best if you were changing your passwords every month or on a quarterly basis. You should also update the log-in details whenever an employee leaves or is fired. No matter how strong you think your password is, make it more complex and frequently change it.
3. Use a different network name (SSID)
Just as you shouldn’t use the default log-in information for your router, you should also change its network name, which is the name users look for when trying to enter your public network. You can include the name of your company, but never the router’s brand.
The network name should not contain any specific information about the router’s make or model because it makes it even easier for hackers to find the documentation to break in. When you disclose the brand, it narrows down their search and limits the possible codes to access that specific network.
4. Regularly update your software
You can strengthen your cybersecurity by regularly running updates on your software. Most people tend to forget or ignore this task for months before finally getting around to it. During those months, though, they put their information at risk to weak defenses and entry-points. Updates are crucial to improve any vulnerabilities or bugs the software company found within their product. There are many self-updating systems on the market now if you know you’ll struggle with remembering to complete this step.
5. Use the best encryption protocol
When you’re installing your router and setting up your passwords, double-check that you utilize the WiFi Protected Access (WPA). It is the default encryption protocol and is currently the best protection for network settings. You should always use the most up-to-date settings and protocols. If your router uses a Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or WPA-incompatible encryption protocol, you should consider purchasing a new one. These are old protocols and provide a weak defence against hackers.
6. Strengthen your firewalls
Check to see that the firewall built into your router is activated and protecting your Wi-Fi network from external cyber threats. You might find it listed as Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) or Network Address Translation (NAT) within your settings. Ensure that it is turned on and operating correctly. In addition to the router’s own firewalls, you should also install protection on your physical computers. There is usually a default firewall with the Windows 10 Operating System, but an extra defense layer is always beneficial. This way, the firewall software can prevent you and your employees from accidentally sending or receiving harmful content.
7. Use separate access points
Your employees and customers shouldn’t be able to access your WiFi network from the same entry route. It weakens your IT defenses because hackers can more readily connect to your devices when logging into the same system. Separate an employee’s private access and a public access point by using a Service Set Identifier (SSI). Your computers and business data are hidden from view as guest users use different points of your WiFi network.
8. Limit access to your account
There are many features configured in your router that weaken your network’s access points, making it easier for hackers to enter your systems. Eliminate unofficial access points, called rogue APs, and periodically do an access point scanning of your network. Consider limiting or disabling the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) as well. This server assigns IP addresses to every device that utilizes your network. Turn off the WiFi Protected Setup (WPS), too, in order to prevent an external device pairing to your network.
Even if you don’t have a strong IT department or are a large enough business to warrant data hacking, you should still go through these eight steps to ensure that you fulfilled the basic Wi-Fi network protections. Hackers will go after easy targets to steal anything they can and hold it for ransom, so you should do everything you can to make it more challenging for them. These simple steps can assist you in securing your business network and preventing any potential cyber-attacks.
If you require help securing your Wi-Fi or want to look at IT Managed Services, we would be more than happy to have a no-obligation chat about how we can help
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