Building Safe and Secure Guest WiFi Networks
Giving guests access to your WiFi network seems like a simple solution, but it can have unintended consequences.
If everyone has access to the main network it can expose confidential material such as financial data, shared storage, security cameras, and printers, and can leave your company's network vulnerable to hacking and data theft.
Setting up a guest WiFi might seem like a good idea, but there are some important things to consider.
Protect Your Network by Providing Separate Access for Guests
The number one thing to avoid is giving out your secure network password. By creating a wireless access point you can create a separate network for your guests while prohibiting access to your company server.
Your guest WiFi network should be segmented from the office network. This way the company's network is not visible or accessible to your guests. This will help keep your office network safe while giving your guests access to the internet.
Configuring a guest WiFi can be confusing. You need switches, access points, and firewalls that are capable of drawing secure lines. If you don’t have that equipment and a skilled IT technician, it can be very difficult to set up the network correctly. Trying to piece things together or finding an alternative method will only leave you vulnerable.
If you are going to offer your guests WiFi, it’s vital that it be on a different network than anything internal. In most cases, a guest network can be created without any new hardware but not always.
In the off-chance that you do need different hardware to support this function, there are many options. This is not the time to skimp. Don't leave your network vulnerable to hackers by compromising IT security.
Firewalls, Bandwidth and Blocked Sites on Guest WiFi
Web filtering for the guest WiFi should be as restrictive as your regular web filtering policy. Although, the guest WiFi is separate from the organization’s network, it’s still connected to your business. You still need the same level of IT security.
When configuring the Guest WiFi it’s important to know which sites to block traffic from. It is also important to have discussions with the IT technician about installing filtering software that blocks illegal activity sites and known malware sites. Browsing limitations and bandwidth allocations will help keep your network secure and data overages at bay.
What if a Guest Needs to Print from a Network Printer?
The firewall restricts access from the guest WiFi to the company's network. If you must grant limited access to the organization’s network (example: printer), it's done through the firewall.
But be careful. Giving too much access will compromise your network security. Your IT support provider can help you safely allow your guests limited access should you chose to allow access.
By working with one of our skilled IT technician, you can provide the added convenience of WiFi to your guests without compromising the security of your business.