How you can secure your small business WiFi network

When it comes to setting up or changing your WiFi network at home, it’s all become fast, simple and convenient, hasn’t it?

You shop around online for the best deal, you’re sent a router by your Internet Services Provider (ISP), you plug it in and play around a little and you’re up and running.

Two ways you can get your business WiFi wrong

When you’re considering how to protect your company from cyber attacks, please avoid making these two common mistakes.

The first is that designing, planning and implementing a WiFi network for your business is NOT a DIY job. This is not your home set-up. Installing the appropriate, robust and secure connectivity your enterprise needs requires more experience and knowledge than a well-meaning amateur can provide. What’s more, doing it yourself comes with considerable risk. Instead, talk to your managed IT services provider in London about getting your WiFi network professionally installed.

The second is that even if yours is a small or start up enterprise, you should NEVER kid yourself you don’t have any information worth stealing. That won’t stop hackers from trying, gaining access to your network and taking whatever they can find or locking you out of it.

In fact, the research makes for scary reading. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey of 2018 reported that 15% of UK businesses lost control over their network to a hacker that year, while 43% of UK businesses – including many in London – have reported breaches or attacks in the last 12 months.

So we’ve put together this blog post on WiFi network security. In it you’ll discover a range key things you can do to keep your network safe, including:

Make sure your technology is physically secure

Many businesses in London, especially those without the budget for specialist technology, staff or space, have a cavalier attitude to the physical security surrounding their technology, such as their router and servers.

But to discover how to protect your business from cyber attacks, start with these questions: ‘Where are our router and servers and who has access to them?’

Controlling physical access to your router and other key equipment is just as important as any other safeguard, like firewalls. Digital hacking countermeasures are vital, of course, but there’s little point if someone can bypass all of them with easy, walk-in access to your kit.

Secure your router and other technology behind locked doors with access only allowed to those members of your team (or visitors) who really need it. Put safeguards in place that let you monitor the physical access points 24/7, including video surveillance.

Do not leave your routers on default security settings

Double check your network configuration to ensure you’ve not left your WiFi router on factory default settings, as this means your router’s default username and password can be easier for a hacker to try and crack, if given the chance.

In fact, with the right information an attacker can get access to your data and the login details for your network, potentially locking you out.

When we’re asked ‘How can companies protect against hackers’ one of our first recommendations is to ensure that your people follow password best practices. This includes NOT relying on equipment default settings, updating passwords on a regular basis (especially any time you have staff changes) and not sharing passwords around the team or beyond it.

Update your firmware and software when required

Every small business owner in London knows how busy their working day is. So when you’ve a full inbox and lots of plates to keeps spinning, it’s not easy to find time to update your software when you should.

But it’s important to note that both software and firmware updates are developed, designed and sent by the manufacturers specifically to patch key, publicly announced vulnerabilities. Don’t fall behind when it comes to patching up these holes or your protection of your network will suffer.

Firmware updates for your router are particularly important because all your essential business data flows through it. So regularly check for updates and implement them when required. In fact, make software and firmware updating a regular part of your team’s operations.

How firewalls can stop you getting burned

Most devices, like routers, generally have what’s known as a hardware firewall built-in that will protect your internal network from external attacks.

Note though that this isn’t always automatically activated, so check if your router has something called SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) or NAT (Network Address Translation) and enable that feature in your router settings to ensure yours is protected.

In addition, it makes sense to invest in what’s known as a software firewall. As the name suggests, this will protect your software, too. Essentially, you want to be sure that nothing’s being sent to or from your network without your permission and installing firewall software on your operating system is the ideal place to start.

Double the WiFi, half the problems with Split Access Points

These days people expect to find WiFi available wherever they are. Indeed, many of us can and will work pretty much wherever WiFi is.

So, for many businesses – maybe yours? – offering free WiFi is a key part of the customer service offering and experience. But having both your team and your customers on the same network is a recipe for disaster.

There are two issues at ‘play’ here. The first is that a shared WiFi network leaves you open to the danger of attack. The second is that your network can be slowed down by a customer indulging in a Netflix binge as they catch up with the latest box set.

The simple solution to the shared WiFi problem is to use a Service Set Identifier (SSID) to create two separate access points for your network. One for your staff, the other for the public. Isolating your computers from the public’s devices gives you an extra layer of protection.

Be wary of Rogue Access Points

A Rogue Access Point (Rogue AP) is usually where one of your team has ‘unofficially’ found a ‘workaround’ to connect to your network when they might otherwise have trouble doing so – such as when they have poor connectivity working from home, for example.

These workarounds are rarely undertaken maliciously but if you didn’t set it up, you don’t know what security standards (if any) are in place.

So take the time to do access point scanning and make sure someone has not inadvertently left a backdoor open to your network.

Why you should get started on the security of your WiFi network right now

Here’s the kicker. Even if you still think you’ve not got any information worth stealing, the average time for a UK business to detect a security breach can be up to 206 days. Just imagine what information a hacker could be gleaning from your business in that time without you ever knowing they were there?

An expert and experienced managed IT services provider in London could help you put in place robust and cost effective WiFi network security.

So before you find yourself staring down the barrel of a network breach, have a confidential, no obligation chat through your requirements with the go to IT support team for London.

Because when it comes to IT support, cyber security technology and consultancy, here at Totality Services we’ve already earned Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award and have Five Star ratings from both Trustpilot and Google. And that means five star peace of mind for you.