Nowadays, many offices of any size typically have a wireless network they have available for employees and for guests to the office.  A wireless network can come in handy for employees using their smart phones and/or accessing internet resources in different rooms with laptops. It’s also a nice luxury to provide for guests visiting the office, however, it’s important to maintain proper security on your network to keep your employees and your guests protected.   We’ll go over the best methods you can use for keeping your network secure.

Using Strong Passwords and Encryption

It’s important to ensure that your wireless network is secured with a strong password that’s easy for you and your team to remember, but, at the same time, difficult to guess for would-be snoopers or hackers. To come up with a strong password that you and your team can use, try some of the following tips:

  • Make it a short phrase that’s known around the office
  • Make it relatable to your team
  • Make sure it’s not less than 6 characters

It’s important to always use a long unique password, which makes it difficult to crack, but is still easy for your team to remember.  Keeping a strong password is only half of what’s necessary when it comes to keeping your wireless network secure.  Making sure your WiFi is using the necessary encryption is the other key to maintain a strong and secure wireless solution.

As a Managed IT provider, Natural Networks has set up and managed every type of wireless network solution you can think of.  We can help you in determining the best type of encryption for your home or office.

Many wireless solutions still come with the older WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) protection standard.  This was common when wireless networks were a newer technology, but it’s old and offers completely inadequate security by today’s standards.  Hackers can easily break into a WEP based network using easily available hacking tools in a matter of minutes.

When setting up your wireless network, ensure that the encryption used is the more secure WPA2 (Wi-Fi protected Access) protocol.  Some wireless equipment offers a WPS (wireless protected setup) method of protection, which provides an easy way for devices to connect to WPA protected wireless networks. Unfortunately, this is also an inadequate method of security as it is easily exploited by hackers to get your WPA network password.  Thus, it is essential to make sure that WPS is disabled in the router’s settings.

Creating a Guest Network

Many offices have visitors coming and going.  Potential new clients or customers feel more at home when they can use a wireless network to browse the web from their phone or laptop.  Setting up a guest network means that you can allow your visitors to use the internet at your office while maintaining security for internal network resources.

This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.  Most wireless equipment today offers an easy-to-create guest network automatically upon setup.  The guest wireless connection is a completely separate network segmented from your main network, thus, protecting your internal network from potential infections and preventing internal resources from being found accidentally or otherwise.

It would also make sense to enable WPA protection on your guest network, allowing you to provide a password for guests when necessary.  You can also set the number of allowed connections on the guest network so that it doesn’t become flooded with users.  Providing a password on your guest network can also help to protect them from other users who may be on the guest network as well.

Hiding Your Network Name

In some situations, you may not want to even display your network.  Perhaps you are in an office that doesn’t have frequent guests, or it’s an office that doesn’t have users working out of it every day.  Hiding your wireless network can have many uses and can help prevent hackers from even knowing there is a network available for them to try to break into.

Many routers and firewalls offer the ability to hide the network SSID from being broadcasted publicly, therefore, hiding it from user’s wireless network lists. If you do choose to hide your network, it’s a good idea to make a note of it in a secure way so that those who you do want to have connect to it will be able to do so manually.

Maintaining a Firewall

A hardware-based firewall is, above all, your first line of defense when maintain a secure connection to the internet.  Many firewalls offer a wide array of setting up and protecting your connectivity to the internet.

Firewalls allow for a much more integral security setup, allowing their administrators to really fine-tune the security they provide.  Most firewalls use packet filtering, which looks at the header of a packet to find its source and destination.  This is compared to a set of predefined rules that determine if the packet is legitimate or comes from a less than reputable source.  This is more powerful than firewalls that run on a desktop provided by an anti-virus or are built-in with the user’s operating system (such as Windows or MacOS).  A hardware firewall can also provide many other security factors, like preventing access to certain websites, limiting the amount of IP addresses that are leased, detecting unauthorized connections, and much more.

Setting up a firewall can be challenging for the average user and require advanced knowledge, however.  Going this route is by far the best way to maintain a secure connection for your employee’s and guests though.  So to make use of all the features that a firewall can provide, it’s best to work with a professional team who has experience with setting up and maintain these types of devices.

Natural Networks is a Managed IT solutions provider in the San Diego area.  We have plenty of experience with working with setting up and maintain the types of devices and networks mentioned above.  If you’re interested in learning more about how to set up or configure your network, give us a call today!