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Every day, more and more businesses in Ottawa are considering the implementation of a wireless network to provide their employees with access to their corporate network.

Why?

Because they want their employees to be mobile, efficient, and more productive.

Wireless networks offer a series of advantages over traditional, wired network implementations; they allow for true “on the go” functionality, more flexibility, and lower costs.

However, when considering a wireless network environment, businesses need to be aware of the security implications an unsecured wireless network can have for their organization.  A wireless network that is not properly implemented can pose a significant security risk. Hackers can use poorly managed WiFi to gain access to important data about your business and your customers – risking your finances and reputation.

In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of using a company that offers Wireless Networking Services here in Ottawa.

Benefits Of Wireless Networks For Business In Ottawa

  • Increased Mobility and Collaboration

With a wireless network, employees can move around the office without having to look for a connection port. They can be connected anytime from any location within the facility. They can go to meetings, collaborate on projects, and share information without the tangled mess of cables associated with connecting to the wired network.

  • Increased Scalability and Flexibility

When implementing a wired network, a technician and IT consultant will carefully plan the topology of your network. If your business grows and you need to increase the number of connection ports to accommodate for new employees, or if you simply want to restructure the layout of your office, you will need to invest in adding new connection ports or modifying the topology of your network. On the other hand, with a wireless network, you can scale your network to correspond with the expansion of your business.

  • Cost Savings

Implementing a wired network involves the installation of hundreds or even thousands of feet of cable and many physical connection ports. Wireless networks are easier to setup and scale because they don’t involve the cost, work, and facility disruption associated with wiring and installing physical connection ports.

  • Enhanced Guest Access

With a wireless network, you can offer contractors, business partners, or customers that visit your office fast access to the internet, so they can collaborate and share data with you.

If your Ottawa business is in the service sector – like a restaurant or a hotel – providing a wireless network connection for your customers is considered a must.

  • Enabling Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

BYOD is an increasing trend. As employees bring their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones, wireless networks make it easier for you to provide them with connectivity to the corporate network. BOYD also represents a potential saving for your business because you no longer have to purchase certain devices for the employees.

How to Secure a Wireless Network

  • Choosing the right authentication method:

When securing your wireless network, the most important factor is the authentication option you chose. This setting will determine how your employees are authorized to connect to the network.

There are basically two authentication options: WEP and WPA.

  1. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) – This option that is widely used in home wireless networking. With this option, you have to provide a password to connect to the network. WEP can be broken in minutes – allowing a hacker or an intruder to access your corporate network. In addition, employees that are no longer working for your organization can still access the network if you don’t change the password after they leave. So, for a business implementation, WEP is unlikely to be the best option.
  2. WPA (Wireless Protected Access) – There are two versions of WPA, WPA PSK (Pre-Shared Key) and WPA Enterprise. With WPA PSK, you create a password and users type this password into their browsers. This approach has some of the disadvantages of WEP, as you will have to change the password periodically and every time an employee leaves the organization.

With WPA Enterprise, users have to provide a unique username and password to connect to the network. The username and password are validated by an external server — a RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) server. This approach provides improved security but has the drawback that you have to implement an additional component.  Some wireless access points come with this technology to help overcome this situation.

Often, the better option is to hire a company such as Fuelled Networks to managed authentication for you with a hosted RADIUS server.

  • Keep Your Hardware Updated

You need to update your hardware firmware periodically. Also, make sure the network drivers of the devices that connect to the network are kept up to date. Keeping everything maintained will help ensure any known vulnerabilities are addressed, and any new security features are supported. This is best done by a company offering Managed IT Services.

  • Disable SSID Broadcasting

While it is not a bullet-proof method for protecting your wireless network (since it can take hackers only minutes to discover your SSID or network name) it makes breaking into your wireless network a little bit harder for hackers.

  • Use MAC Address Filtering

A MAC (Media Access Control) address, is a unique identifier assigned to a network interface controller. By enabling MAC Address filtering, you define a list of devices that can connect to the wireless network. This creates a new layer of security, but also adds to the administrative burden. How? Every time a new device wants to connect to the network you’ll have to add their MAC address to the list.

  • Get the support of an experienced provider:

An experienced provider can help you choose the right hardware and implement the set of security measures required to mitigate the risk that a badly configured wireless network environment can create for your business.

Wireless networks should be properly set up, configured, maintained, and monitored for proper function. By partnering with Fuelled Networks for your wireless network requirements, you ensure that your wireless network is set up for high-impact capability as well as the latest in security.

Want to read even more helpful articles from Fuelled Networks? We have them for you HERE.

Published On: 14th June 2018 by Ernie Sherman.