Here are some of the reasons why a public Wi-Fi connection isn?t as secure as you might hope it will be, and what can be done to limit the risk factor.
The Real Dangers of Public Wi-Fi
If you stop into a location just to use their Wi-Fi connection with your smartphone, you?re doing so because you would rather use their connection than your own mobile data plan. You might choose to stop into the local coffee shop with hopes that you can find a connection. There is one, but it’s not protected by a password. This might come off as convenient, but it should also create a red flag in your mind. There is always the chance that your activity is being monitored by nosy onlookers.
Hackers tend to gravitate toward busy public wireless connections for the express purpose of stealing information and looking for sensitive data. There’s nothing keeping a hacker from accessing these networks, as they are practically devoid of any security features. Your business needs to have measures put into place to ensure that this doesn’t become a detriment to your organization.
Password Protection is Important
Your in-house network is secure because you require credentials to access it. These passwords should always be implemented. If you don?t, it could mean that your organization’s network is wide open to anyone who wants to use it. We actually recommend setting up multiple wireless networks; one for your in-house employees, and one for your office’s visitors. You can even partition off your network so that specific resources are delegated to both your in-house workers and your visitors.
If you?re accessing a public wireless connection, it’s important that your business has an encryption solution put into place to make sure that any data sent to, and received by, your devices is protected. If there is a wireless access point available, make sure that you don?t connect to it unless it requires a password. Just ask around the establishment if you need one.
Implement a Virtual Private Network
A VPN is the best way to make sure that your company’s data is secure while out of the office and on unprotected networks. VPNs take advantage of encryption by scrambling your data while it’s in transit. Anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of your data will only see a jumbled mess, making a VPN an incredibly valuable solution.
Does your company need a VPN? White Mountain IT Services can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (603) 889-0800.