How you can secure your small business WiFi network

When it comes to changing your WiFi network at home, it’s all very convenient. With few issues, you can set it up quickly and simply. Often, you’ll spend time shopping around for the best deal and get sent a router by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). But once it’s plugged in and you’ve tweaked the settings it should be up and running in no time.

But what about business WiFi networks? As experts in IT security, we can advise appropriate action for setting up your business network, so if you have any immediate queries please get in touch today!

Two ways you can get your business WiFi wrong

When you’re considering how to secure your network and mitigate cyberattacks, please avoid making these two common mistakes:

  1. Business WiFi is not a DIY job

The first thing you should understand is that designing, planning, and implementing a WiFi network for your business is NOT a DIY job. Your organisation’s network is not the same as your home set-up.

Unfortunately, installing a suitable, robust, and secure connection requires more experience and knowledge than a well-meaning amateur can provide. What’s more, doing it yourself comes with considerable risk to your business. Instead, talk to a managed IT service provider in London about getting your WiFi network professionally installed.

  1. Hackers can target any business network

The second is that even if your business is small or a start-up enterprise, you should NEVER believe that you don’t have any information worth stealing. Hackers can try to gain access to your network, and if successful will take whatever they can find. So, regardless of the size of your company you must first be aware of the dangers of an unsecured network before seeking appropriate setup.

In fact, the research makes for scary reading. According to Accenture’s study in 2023, almost 43% of cyberattacks target SMBs. And overall last year, over 89 million data leaks were caused by hackers in UK businesses alone.

So, to help your business strengthen its WiFi network, we’ve put together this guide on network security. In it you’ll discover a range of key things you can do to keep your network safe, including:

Make sure your technology is physically secure

Many London businesses, especially those without the budget for specialist technology, space or staff have a careless attitude to physical IT security. Ensuring your routers and servers are physically secure is then vastly overlooked as an important aspect of security.

But when thinking about boosting your business’ security defences, start with this question: ‘Where are our routers 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 safeguarding tool, such as firewalls. Digital hacking countermeasures are of course vital to your overall cybersecurity protection. But there’s no point in upgrading them if someone can bypass them with easy, walk-in access to your kit.

The first step in physical security is then to secure your router and other technology behind locked doors. Access should only be permitted to those members of your team or external IT specialists who really need it. Put safeguards in place to let you monitor the physical access points 24/7. This may include video surveillance, especially if your storage spaces are isolated or located far away from your workspace.

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. This is because your router’s default username and password are often easier for a hacker to crack, if given the chance.

In fact, with the right information an attacker can get access to all the login details for your network. Not only can they then steal your data but potentially lock you out too.

So, one of our first recommendations to secure your network and protect against hackers is to ensure that your people follow password best practices. This includes changing equipment settings from default and updating passwords on a regular basis. You must also ensure passwords are not shared around the team or beyond it, especially when you have staff changeovers and new onboarding.

Update your firmware and software when required

Every small business in London knows how busy their working day will be. So, when you’ve a full inbox and lots of people to manage, it’s not always easy to find time to update your software.

But it’s important to note that most updates are specifically developed and designed to address publicly announced vulnerabilities. This means that ignoring the update notifications time and time again could have dire consequences for your business. Therefore, ensure you have automated updates switched on for all software and firmware or your network security will suffer.

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

How firewalls can prevent attacks to your WiFi network

Most devices, like routers, generally have a hardware firewall built-in to protect your internal business network from external attacks.

You should note that this feature isn’t always automatically activated. So, first check if your router has something called SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) or NAT (Network Address Translation). From here you can enable the hardware firewall 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 from potential hackers. Essentially, you want to be sure that nothing is being sent to or from your network without your permission. And, as we’ve recommended, 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 wherever WiFi is accessable.

So, for many businesses offering free WiFi is a key part of the customer service 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:

  • Exposed business network – sharing a WiFi network will leave you open to the public and therefore vulnerable to an attack.
  • Slowed network – your network can be slowed down by customers streaming content from their devices.

The simple solution to the shared WiFi problem is to use a Service Set Identifier (SSID). This will create two separate access points for your WiFi network: one for your staff, the other for the public. By isolating your computers from the public’s, your devices get an extra layer of protection.

Be wary of Rogue Access Points in your WiFi network

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

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

So, it is important to take the time to do access point scanning of your business Wifi network. This will ensure no one has inadvertently left a backdoor open to your network.

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

Even if you still think you’ve not got any information worth stealing just remember that the average time for a UK business to detect a security breach can be up to 206 days. So simply imagine what information a hacker could be gleaning from your business in that time. And all without you ever knowing they were there.

To put in place robust and cost-effective WiFi network security, all you have to do is contact an experienced managed IT service provider. So, before you find your business facing a network breach, have a confidential, no obligation chat through your requirements with the go to IT support team for London.

And, when it comes to customer service, here at totality services we’ve earned the highest rating in the London IT support sector, so you can have total peace of mind. For more information check out our Feefo reviews and for any queries please feel free to reach out to us today!