More and more organizations are implementing wireless networks in the workplace to take advantage of the benefits they offer. Such is their popularity that it is projected wireless connectivity will supersede wired connectivity within the next five years.
The ability to facilitate BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), improve scalability, offer guest access and increase overall workforce mobility within the corporate environment is an attractive proposition for many employers.
However, with these benefits also comes risk. The threat of malware getting onto the corporate network via a compromised device is very real, as is the danger of malicious activity by unauthorized individuals and misuse by the employees themselves. How does the business make sure every mobile device is protected? Finding a good balance between productivity and security is a fine art.
Here’s why you need take wireless security seriously:
- To prevent malicious threats infecting your network
- To stop people stealing or hogging Internet bandwidth
- To protect confidential information (customer data, employee data, PII, etc.)
- To alleviate the legal implications brought about by malevolent use of your network
- To protect your organization’s reputation (and potentially your own as the person who set it up!)
Now let’s take a look at some things you can do to ensure your Wi-Fi remains secure:
- Separate your corporate network from the guest access network. Create VLANs to prevent people who connect to your guest access network from intentionally or unintentionally accessing or infecting your corporate network.
- Use WPA2-Enterprise encryption. WPA2-Enterprise encryption is a no-brainer for corporate Wi-Fi because it offers the best level of security and manageability.
- Filter Web traffic and block malicious sites or downloads. Have an application at the proxy level filter web traffic and block access to malicious sites or file types based on pre-defined categories and up-to-date virus definitions.
- Lock down your Wi-Fi router and Ethernet ports. Make sure your wireless router is both physically secure (cannot be physically accessed by unauthorized individuals) and has the most secure configuration settings in place (SSID name, broadcast, admin password, etc.). Additionally, secure your Ethernet ports to stop people from gaining access by plugging into the wired network or creating a rogue access point.
- Keep hardware and software up-to-date. Reduce the risk of vulnerabilities in hardware and software being exploited by regularly installing the latest updates and fixes.
- Limit signal distribution. Try and keep the wireless signal strictly within the office walls by properly assessing the location of the wireless Access Points and tuning the signal accordingly.
To help achieve automated wireless threat protection, organizations need to implement a flexible web filtering security solution that stops online threats before they reach end users.
A solution like GFI WebMonitor provides transparent proxy mode functionality for both wired and wireless networks, alleviating the need to configure client proxy settings and ensuring all connected devices stay secure.
Melanie Hart is Digital Content Specialist/Editor at GFI Software. An eager blogger, fiery tweeter and avid reader, Melanie is a self-confessed geek who finds solace in online FPS games.