WiFi Security For Small Businesses

internet, broadband, data, computer, wifiIf you’re running a small hospitality business, a cafe, bar, bistro, hotel or guesthouse, even a salon or spa, many of your customers will be expecting you to supply free WiFi.

If you have contactless card machines then you probably need to use WiFi to make them work, and it’s no additional cost to open up the network and let your customers use it since it’s accepted, and expected by many that this service will be available to them. The problem is that in making your WiFi available to everyone, everyone, including you, is vulnerable to hacking.

It’s nice to think that ‘hacking’ is something that happens far away to other people, that it’s only worth hacker’s time to attack huge corporations and steal billions of pounds at a time. The reality is that with the availability of code on the Dark Web and the massive proliferation of laptops, internet enabled phones, and smart devices, it’s easy and cheap for anyone with a will to to find a way to hack into your business’s WiFi and use it to harm you or your customers.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself, your reputation, and your customers from attacks which don’t take a great deal of tech savvy or programming skill.

Find a Secure Location For Your Router

Keeping your router out of reach of fingers is just as important as digital security. If someone can simply press the reset button they could undo many of the security measures that you’ve put in place. If they can can see it, and they can touch it, they can also read the sticker which has the serial number, device code and default password printed on it.

While it is necessary to have the router in such a position that it can transmit a decent signal throughout your business premises, it’s also important to keep it out of reach of anyone who doesn’t work for you.

Rename Your WiFi Router

Changing the name as it appears on the list of available WiFi networks is not only good business sense, it’s good security sense too. Ideally customers should be able to access a guest network which is separate from the one you use for your card machines, computers smart CCTV or security. When your router first arrives it will have the default name of the manufacturer or the device’s product code. The default password may be as simple as ‘Admin’ or even ‘password’ but even if it is more complex, many of the default passwords for most brands of router are available online, meaning that until you change the name and password, your network is vulnerable. If that’s vulnerable, your finances are too as they could introduce malware or Trojan horses which they can use at a later date to do what they want.

Protect Yourself With A Strong Password

Long, complex, unique passwords should be used for EVERYTHING! It’s a hassle to keep track of a lot of passwords, we know. Especially if they are deliberately difficult to memorise, so you might be tempted to use the same one for everything so that everyone who needs to can have access whenever they want. DON’T DO IT!

If you fail at any step of making all passwords long, complex and unique, you’re introducing vulnerabilities into your security. If you’re the boss you will probably need to know them all, but someone working part time over the summer shouldn’t have passwords which not only get them into the guest WiFi but also the secure WiFi network, POS machines, card machines, accountancy software or anything else.

If you can, use a password manager. If that’s not practical make your own passwords using random capitalisation, special characters, numbers, and try to make it as long as possible, at least 11 characters, and as few recognisable words as you can. Change the passwords regularly too. Especially of you have a high staff turn-over.

Setting Up That WiFi Guest Network

Since your business is getting a lot of customers using your WiFi all the time you need to keep them separated from your work network. If they could get access to it they could see which other devices are connected to it, giving them vital clues about how to crack your security. This is easily avoided by creating a guest network on your router by using the Service Set ID (SSID). It’s very simple to do if you just follow the instructions, and doesn’t take any special technical knowledge, and it only takes a few moments to keep all your guests off of the network where you have your own computers with all your files and programmes.

Find Out What Other Options You Have

The suggestions above are all very quick, simple, yet very effective steps to take against anyone who might want to access your data, finances, or connected devices for whatever reason. However, if you feel that they’re not enough because of the type of data you keep, or you’ve been the victim of hacking in the past and you don’t want to go through that again, then you might want to look into increasing your security further.

Antivirus and anti-malware software can protect you from software which could corrupt your files or allow them to be accessed, shared, or destroyed by outsiders.

Two factor authentication can prevent people from accessing websites, emails and many other platforms. Use log-in details to get through to the second factor of security, a unique code which will only be usable for a limited time, usually between 30 seconds and 15 minutes.

When you’re backing up or storing data, ensure that you’re doing it in at least 3 places. If you’re saving it to disc on your computer think about saving it to a service such as Dropbox or Cloud storage, so long as you keep them securely protected as well (don’t save passwords, always log out when you’re done, and don’t keep them bookmarked).

Use a VPN for your own computers and devices. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) disguises your real world location and all of your computer’s details. This means that you can’t be tracked when you’re online and nobody can see the services you’re using, such as bank, accountancy, payment or money transfer platforms.

Briant Broadband provides Superfast and Ultrafast broadband to domestic and business users via routers which are easily secured using the SSID process. Our servers conform to the highest industry standards, meaning that all of our customers are well protected against hackers, viruses, and malware.

If you’d like more information about Briant Broadband for your business, call on 01903 221999, send an email to info@briantbroadband.com or visit briantbroadband.com

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