Cyber Essentials: 7 steps to secure your wireless network

9/08/2018 in

tips, Cyber Essentials

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When the internet first hit the mainstream in the early 90’s it promised to be a technology for all people. It would make us live longer, work smarter and improve our lives in ways that we could never have imagined. And it really has. Now any person with a device and an internet connection can connect, discover and communicate.

One of the greatest revelations from this technological age is the evolution of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).

Good ‘things’ come to those who wait

At its heart, the IoT seeks to make our lives easier by connecting all our ‘things’ to the internet. This doesn’t just mean your mobile devices either. Nowadays, you can connect almost anything to the internet, interacting with them through apps.

For example, imagine you left the house without switching the lights off. You could use your app to switch them all off while you’re on the bus. Or, let’s say you’re running out of milk, your fridge could report this back to you and order more. Even in the workplace, your coffee machine can tell you when it needs to be cleaned and your printer can order itself more ink.

With such scope, the Internet of Things may change our society forever. In a way, it’s already happening. Just about any device you can think of connects to the Internet. Indeed, by 2020, there are likely to be 75 billion connected ‘things’ worldwide.

Having everything connected via a wireless network is a lovely thought. In a perfect world, it would make our lives easier with no drawbacks or complications.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world.

 

Scary 'things', that go bump in the night

Unless you’re living on another planet, you should be aware of the importance of cyber security. The past few years have seen large increases in the number of cyber attacks affecting UK businesses and institutions. The problem with the IoT is that if you can connect to something via the internet then so can the bad guys you’re not the only one.

Businesses are sorely underprepared for any IoT attack. There are currently 2.7 million vulnerable businesses in the UK. Don’t allow your business to join this statistic. An attack caused by an unsecure wireless connection can cost you both your money and your reputation.

cyber essentials questionnaire

Protect your connection, protect your business

We found that 45 percent of all connected devices on our customer’s systems (where we were not managing their wireless) were ‘things’. The majority of these were mobile phones, but laptops, tablets, e-readers and a number of unidentified devices were also present.

These devices could infect your entire business. Without proper protection, your employee’s e-reader could cripple your business. When any staff member can access your network, at the very least it can consume the capacity meant for business. This reduces productivity, as all your machines run slower. The worst-case scenario is a lack of security allows an attacker access to your business through employee hardware. If this happened, they would be able to access all your sensitive information and other devices.

To keep your business secure, we recommend an advanced wireless network managed by an expert IT team.

However, we do understand that money is tight for small businesses. It can be hard to accept the necessary expense. With that in mind, we have come up with some quick fixes you can implement to protect your business:

Seven steps to securing your wireless network

  1. Check your wireless devices can advertise multiple network names
  2. Create one network for devices managed by the IT department
  3. Keep the password for that network name secure and change it regularly
  4. Limit who knows the password
  5. Create a second wireless network for mobile devices and 'things'
  6. Allow that password to be distributed as freely as you wish
  7. Configure wireless isolation and limit the amount of bandwidth on this second network

If you have any questions about these 7 steps, wireless security or cyber security in general get in touch today.

Download your Cyber Essentials Questionnaire

We hope that these seven steps help you secure your wireless network.

To ensure your cyber security is up to scratch, why not download your free Cyber Essentials Questionnaire and IT policies? It’s the first step to achieving Cyber Essentials accreditation, which proves you meet the minimum requirements for a secure business.

You can also purchase our companion guide to the questionnaire. Not only will it give you detailed answers to every question, but it includes two free half-hour sessions with our Cyber Essentials experts.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss cyber security further, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

Cyber Essentials questionnaire 3

 

About The Author

David Watson

David Watson

David is managing director at Evolve and a keen runner.