According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 1 in 5 small businesses falls victim to cyber crime each year, and of those, some 60% go out of business within six months as a result of the associated financial damages. Most small business owners are unaware of these threats, as 77% say their company is safe from cyber-attacks, yet 83% have no formal cyber security plan.
With the number of security attacks and threats out there today, even small businesses need to make sure that they have appropriate IT security features in place.
Unlike a traditional wired network, which requires a “rat-nest” of wires to connect all one’s devices to the internet, Wi-Fi networks are much more convenient and practical as they allow for easy internet access and scalability of necessary bandwidth for small business owners.
However, this convenience doesn’t come without shortcomings and unlike traditional wired networks, which are extremely difficult for someone to hack into, an unsecured Wi-Fi network exposes the business or network owner to necessary risk from outside intrusion.
When left unsecured, Wi-Fi networks can present unnecessary risks:
–Decreased Internet access speed when you end up sharing an internet connection with unauthorized users
–Security hazards when hackers get access to sensitive files or download malware or illegal files through an owned network
Securing a Wireless Network …
For small business owners, many of whom are already running on tight margins, these additional risks can lead to catastrophic losses, data breaches, and ultimately, business failure if left unchecked. Fortunately, these risks can largely be mitigated, and in some cases even avoided, by taking proper precautions to secure the network:
WPA or WPA2 protocols are needed to replace the older WEP protocol that most wireless networks typically rely on
Change your network’s SSID name and password to something unique
This makes it harder for malicious users to find a Wi-Fi network and attempt to gain access by impersonating the owner. A large majority of people use ‘Admin’ or ‘Linksys’ and hackers know that. Also, most default, factory-setting passwords are publicly known and if you’re still using the same password, it’s only a matter of time before someone gains access to the system.
Update Your Wireless Router’s Firmware
You can find the existing firmware version is the router’s basic configuration screen.
Disable Remote Login
This is often the first strategy of a brute force attack by a router worm/virus attempting to gain access to a network.
Disable Wireless Administration
Change the setting that allows administrating the router through a wireless connection to ‘OFF’ (meaning that someone would need to connect with a LAN cable for administration). This disables any wireless hacking into the router.
In short, by using a WPA2 encryption, creating a complex password, and using up-to-date firmware should provide sufficient security for most wireless networks against most common attacks. But if a business network contains something of value, like credit card information or sensitive data, hackers will be more motivated to gain access, at which point more security may be warranted.
While it may seem like a lose-lose situation for small business owners, securing the Wi-Fi connection for a business will go a long way towards preventing the most common types of threats and forms of attack found online.
Additionally, recent technological developments like cloud computing have made adding these types of security features to smaller outfits more practical. They can also be relatively painless if you go the route of a plug-and-play solution designed specifically for non-tech savvy individuals that requires only a small, router-like device that plugs in to the internet connection and sits between any data collection device at a store, like a point-of-sale (POS) computer, desktop PC, or credit card terminal.
Wondering how you can better secure your wireless network? Contact Kinetic Technology Group at (214) 269-1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our IT experts will ensure your wireless network is ironclad and secure. We are the go-to provider for IT Services in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.