These days it does not matter whether you own a cafe or a dentist, a library or a solictors, internet access is regarded as he norm and lets face it, is expected.
So is it worth you allowing vistitors and clients access to the internet when they visit your premises?
We take a look....
Do you have to provide internet access?
In a simple answer No. You are not obliged to allow anyone access to the internet when they visit your workplace/premises. But....If your work results in customers or clients waiting or spending time at your premises, it is probably best that you do let them have some form of access. After all, you do not want to be remembered as a place that someone could not read their latest whatsapp message or open emails.
A recent study actually found that 85% of customers that visited retail outlets were more likely to go back there if they knew they had WiFi access!
Now, whether this affects purchasing desicions when the customers are there is not known, but the fact that it attracts potential clients is a good indicator that it will result in profit in some form or another.
Should I have a seperate secure WiFi for my Guests?
Unfortunatly due to the world we live in and the fact that all technology has a floor of some kind, WiFi is no different. By giving customers and guests access to the Internet opens a business up to considerable risks. If those risks are not mitigated, guest WiFi access can prove incredibly costly. Your employees may be the most considerate WiFi users around, but this does not apply to all the public i.e. they may not be aware of the risks posed and could click onto any site or attachment introducing a malware or ransomware into your system.
This is where secure guest WiFi, although more costly initially is a potential business and money saver in the long run. Secure guest WiFi for business visitors will ensure they are protected when connected to your network, preventing man-in-the-middle attacks, malware downloads and blocking phishing attacks.
Is setting up secure guest WiFi simple?
If you are going to open up your network to guests, security is paramount.
You will need to segregate your network. Secure guest WiFi for business means having a completely seperate system for visitors and employees. It should not be possible for guests to see your network assets and confidential files and resources.
You will require a network firewall or create a separate VLAN for guest use and use a software firewall to protect servers and workstations from traffic from the guest network. What this does is ensure that in the event of a malware or ransomware infection, the damage will be restricted to your guest network - not your internal network.
It is also important to change your SSID for your WiFi network. The SSID should reflect the name of your business and it should be quite clear to your customers which is your network. Fail to do this and you make it too easy for malicious individuals to set up rogue access points to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks and you will need to ensure you have passwords which are not likley to be broken and do not mirror each other in any way i.e If someone knows your guest WiFi is 'Pa55word1' and your own network is 'Pa55word2', dont be surprised if your network gets hacked!
If you want to add extra security to your guest WiFi, you could encrypt your wireless signals. You want to make it as easy as possible for your guest WiFi network to be accessed by your customers and visitors, but don’t make it too easy for hackers to spy on individuals connected to the network. If you encrypt your wireless network with WPA2 encryption, you can post the SSID and password in your business to make it easy for legitimate users to gain access to your network.
Then additionally you can apply content filters to the WiFi, such as blocking any adult content, such as pornograhy and gambling, even social media sites if you wish.
A web filtering solution will also protect your customers from accidental malware and ransomware downloads while blocking phishing websites. Consider using a cloud-based web filter as these require no additional hardware to be purchased. They can also be configured and maintained remotely and do not require software or firmware upgrades.
One other great benefit from having a secure guest WiFi is that you can request that prior to use, your clients agree to email marketing and use their email details as a login..Potentially building a client base from peole who may have visited but may not have purchased at the time..
At Systems Integration, we specialise in Broadband and WiFi Solutions, so if you believe that a Secure guest WiFi is what your business is missing, please give us a call and we will be more than willing to help