Free public Wi-Fi hot spots are virtually everywhere you go: at the local coffee house, at the airport and on local transport, in hotels, public libraries and at the shopping mall. You can even connect to public Wi-Fi at some parks and pedestrian areas, as well as in some hospitals. It’s great for your budget and convenient for you and your employees. Everyone loves a freebie — but public Wi-Fi security doesn’t meet high-security standards.
Just as you can easily connect to a public network when out and about, so can everyone else -including hackers. When on the public network, your device is easily discovered by others. What’s more, these networks do not encrypt data and who knows what, if any, network security measures are in place?
Since you can’t rely on the rest of the world to secure their networks to your standards, you’ll need to take measures into your own hands to properly secure the mobile devices that your business uses. Internet access can be vital when you or your employees are on the move, but security should always be a priority.
With a few simple steps, you can make sure your devices are secure when you use public Wi-Fi. Businesses have a responsibility to protect clients’ data, as well as their own, and staff need to be aware of the problems that can arise when working off-site.
1. Turn off automatic connections. Some mobile devices, especially smartphones, have a setting so that they automatically connect to any available wireless network and auto-switch if necessary (for example, to a network with a stronger signal). This could put your devices and data at risk. Imagine how many unsecured networks a single device could connect to on a daily basis as the user moves from one location to the next. Combat this problem by disabling automatic network connection on all of your business devices.
2. Prioritize secure connections and known networks. Sometimes free Wi-Fi access isn’t worth it, even if it’s convenient. Be risk averse whenever possible. That might involve drawing up some company guidelines about what kinds of data should not be accessed or transmitted using public Wi-Fi.
3. Use security software designed for mobile devices. Laptops, tablets and smartphones all need it, especially when using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Security software for Android devices wasn’t a top priority back in the day, but cybercriminals soon saw that gap. Your security software should cover all devices, not just PCs and their operating systems. Our Unified Threat Management solution is the perfect choice for securing all your devices, both on your own network and off it.
4. Set up and use a virtual private network (VPN). Virtual private networks are built with security in mind. These secured networks are accessed over the Internet and available only to authorized users. Combine VPN access with security awareness training and computer security software and you’ll stay ahead of any hacker trawling for easy Wi-Fi prey.
Quikteks offers a number of managed IT services and network security solutions designed to keep your business data safe and secure. To learn more about our managed maintenance services, VPN solution, or our Unified Threat Management platform, give us a call at (973) 882-4644.