WiFi Access: Should You Set up a Guest WiFi Network?
From coffee shops, hotel lounges, and even McDonalds, free WiFi is everywhere these days. In fact, in the effort to boost productivity, most offices even offer free WiFi access to their employees and even corporate guests expect to have some form of WiFi access when they visit your office.
However, the decision to offer corporate WiFi access to guests and other visitors should not be taken lightly. Protecting your WiFi network is not as easy as protecting a wired network, and while severely restricting access to only pre-approved employees seems the safest, it’s also not entirely practical in today’s working world.
Here are the questions we hear most often when discussing guest WiFi networks:
How is a guest WiFi network different from a corporate WiFi network?
A guest WiFi network is a small section of an organization’s wireless network designed for use by temporary visitors. As a subnetwork, this account can provide full Internet connectivity, but also strictly limits access to any internal or “intranet” web sites or files.
Setting up a guest WiFi network isolates your confidential information on your network while still providing a value-added service to your clients, partners, and other guests while they're on the premises. Just like when you invite a guest into your home, you often restrict what a guest can see or use while making them feel welcome.
What are the best practices in setting up a guest WiFi network?
In addition to the privacy factor, a guest WiFi network can help reduce the spread of worms and viruses by effectively closing off a portion of your network which contains your business’s most vulnerable information.
If properly configured, a guest WiFi network should abide by each of the following guidelines:
- Is secure in preventing visitors from accessing the internal LAN
- Is easy for a guest to use, with simple required WEP or WPA key
- Is fairly easy for you to administrate and monitor
- Is not easily detected by neighboring businesses or other unauthorized persons
These are all aspects that, once established, will make this an important tool for your business by helping the people you do business with. As with most things, establishing the right IT foundation will only make the growth of your business easier as technology and your clientele continue to grow and change.
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