You may not even think of Wi-Fi security as part of your overall It security strategy, but in the United States cybercrime losses have reached epic proportions. It’s estimated that these losses added up a billion dollars nationwide, with global damages estimated at $6 trillion. Securing every aspect of your network is more crucial than ever before, and that includes making special considerations for your Wi-Fi security.
Small businesses are the surprising target of up to 28% of cyberattacks. The reasons are simple: small businesses often do not have the appropriate safeguards in place to prevent them. This could be because of limited funds set aside for IT needs, the use of outdated or “out of the box” security solutions, or the belief that small businesses are not at risk for cybercrime.
Hackers are aware of small to medium sized businesses’ vulnerability, and they use it frequently. You owe it to your business, your employees, and your clients to make sure your network is protected, and that includes looking at your Wi-Fi security strategy.
Why Wi-Fi Security Matters for Small Businesses
Wi-Fi is great. It allows people to go online any time, anywhere they are.
What happens when your customers or employees are using a network that doesn’t protect their Wi-Fi connection?
Unsecured Wi-Fi connections allow hackers to spy on anyone connected to the network. Stolen identities, passwords, intellectual property and other sensitive data can be siphoned off these connections, usually without the user being aware that it’s happening in real-time while they are logged in to their bank accounts or shopping sites.
Any data that is used and sent via internet connections is easily accessible to a dedicated hacker. Unencrypted data gained through an unsecured Wi-Fi network is like Christmas every day for cybercriminals, who will often target businesses with weak Wi-Fi security for extended periods of time. Social media, emails, passwords: these are the gifts that keep on giving for these hackers.
Unsecured Wi-Fi networks also provide an easy way into your network, making it easy for hackers to install malware on any device, software or hardware connected to it. This malware can result in any number of common cyberattacks, such as ransomware, phishing, DDoS, and more.
Consumers do not care whose “fault” it is when breaches happen. Data breaches result in lost business, lost reputation, lost productivity, and, of course, lost money. In 2018, New York amassed $200 million in losses due to cybercrime, according to a report released by Statista.
Wi-Fi security is not only recommended for all businesses; it’s vital for your overall IT strategy.
Improve Wi-Fi Security for your Small Business
Now that you understand that your Wi-Fi is an extension of your network, you may need to make a few changes in your Wi-Fi security. Read on for a few of the questions Integris will ask you about your Wi-Fi connections, and the best practices we recommend when securing your Wi-Fi.
1. Is your Wi-Fi Router’s Firmware Updated?
You may not think about updating your Wi-Fi software, but it needs security patches and upgrades just like any device in your network. Many times, the router will remind your users that an update is needed, and sometimes they may even automatically update. Play it safe, though, and periodically check the manufacturer’s website for any available upgrades or updates they may recommend.
You may find your Wi-Fi network runs faster and smoother once these updates and patches are completed.
2. Is Your Router Adequately Secured?
The router itself should be out of reach from the public, eliminating the possibility that someone can press the “reset button” and bypass security protocols. A router within easy reach also allows bad actors to plug directly into a network port of the device, allowing them free and easy access to your Wi-Fi connection. Make sure the router is physically on a shelf, behind a door, or hidden where no one can access it without permission.
You can also secure router ports by defining the IP address scope.
3. Are You Using Encryption and Firewall Strategies?
Firewalls must be set up on Wi-Fi connections to keep your company’s networks separated from the Wi-Fi. This stops would-be hackers from being able to advance from the Wi-Fi connection into your servers and company networks if they breach the Wi-Fi. Another way to contain the breach is by providing your clients and customers a separate guest Wi-Fi network that isn’t connected to your servers.
Data encryption enabled Wi-Fi networks is another great idea. Even if hackers breach the Wi-Fi connection, any information they get is scrambled and useless. WPA2 encryption is the best strategy. Networks using WPA2 give their connected customers and clients access to the encryption key to decrypt data, while hackers move on to easier hunting grounds.
4. Did you Change your Default Wi-Fi Router Credentials?
It’s a surprising fact that new routers aren’t always secure when you set them up. Always change the login credentials, preferably to something complex and random. Change the password to something equally unique and complex, too.
There are websites that provide default passwords for router models, and software that exists solely to help hackers crack passwords. Changing login credentials is a crucial step in Wi-Fi security.
5. Are You Using a VPN?
Adding a VPN to your Wi-Fi security solution can be a great final step to strengthening your overall strategy. Virtual Private Networks hide users’ identities by cloaking IP addresses and sending data through a proxy IP address.
Hackers who gain access to data transmitted through a VPN cannot use it, as it is encrypted on its journey from sender to receiver. Your clients and your employees can safely use the Wi-Fi network whenever they enable the VPN.
Integris Can Help Secure Your Wi-Fi Connection
At Integris, we know Wi-Fi security. We can asses your current network and make sure it is secure; if it isn’t, we have the right solutions to protect not just your Wi-Fi connections, but all of your endpoints, devices and software to make sure you are safe in the face of ever-evolving cybercrime.
Contact us today for our free, on obligation consultation and make sure your Wi-Fi connection is secure and ready to use for yourself, your business, and your customers.