No Such Thing as Free Wi-Fi

July 12, 2019 | The joys of Iowa summers Sean Johnson, VP of Operations, ACS,

Public Wi-Fi may seem like a low-cost opportunity to add value to your clients, but it could cost your business everything. Public Wi-Fi is a favorite “hot-spot” for malicious behavior. Open networks provide an easy gateway to your organization’s valuable information. Follow these tips below to safely implement a guest network.

Create Segmented Networks: Provide a separate network for guest access that is disconnected from the rest of your business operations. Segmenting the networks by use (internal vs. external) makes it more difficult for a hacker to gain access to business-critical information.

Control Access: Require the user to obtain credentials before connecting to the network. Providing each person with a username and password or requiring them to register on the network before gaining access allows you to control who’s tapping into the network, therefore removing their anonymity and discouraging bad behavior. Identifying network users also lends credibility to the network so that others feel more comfortable using the free internet.

Enhance Network Visibility: Implement a solution that provides visibility into the network and tracks user behavior. An identity management solution allows you to see who is on your network and monitor their activities. You can also implement rules and alerts to block and notify the appropriate people of questionable behavior.

Providing access to free Wi-Fi can be a valuable asset to your business if implemented properly. The tips above also apply for providing network access to employees who connect their personal devices for work (Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)) or entertainment purposes.

Bonus Tip: Hackers have been known to “hunt” Public Wi-Fi networks by sitting outside office buildings or squatting on coffee shop, hotel or other open networks looking to steal personal information or launch zero-day programs. Always be vigilant and avoid connecting to open networks.