Workers are more mobile today than they have ever been, and the technology they use has become almost completely un-tethered from the networks and systems that are under the business’s direct control. Without proper wireless security measures in place, any business data stored or transferred over those devices is incredibly vulnerable – and so is the network when that mobile device reconnects to it. So wireless security is a key part of today’s layered security solution.
Wireless Access Points
Many people set up wireless networks in their homes and offices to ensure that it’s easy to go online any time, no matter where they are in the building. However, setting up a secure wireless network is not quite “plug and play”, so here are a few basic principles to follow:
- Change the default Administrator username and password on the wireless device. It’s scary just how many networks there are out there right now with “Admin & Password” as the logon credentials - so do it right now, before you get used to the default.
- Enable Authentication and Encryption to communicate with the Access Point. When it comes to which standard to use, just remember this:
- WEP is better than nothing
- WPA is better than WEP
- Make sure you have anti-malware installed and kept up to date on all machines that will access the network
- Turn computers off when they’re not in use – the only secure computer is a switched-off computer. And besides, it’s the environmentally responsible thing to do.
Laptop Wireless Security
People and their laptops connect to WIFI hot spots, hotel networks, other companies’ networks, and who knows where else. Do you know for certain where all your laptops have been, and how the operators of the networks they connect to protect the machines on their networks? Follow these basic steps to make sure your company’s laptops don’t become electronic Typhoid Marys.
- Install a bidirectional firewall. Many firewalls are bundled with anti-malware, which makes things simple for the end user and easier for the staff who have to maintain those systems. Make sure this protection cannot be disabled by the user.
- Encrypt the hard drive. Amazingly, more than 10,000 laptops are lost or stolen every day. If the data on those laptops is not encrypted, the security of your business is at risk, and you could be in breach of consumer privacy laws.
- Install a theft recovery solution on each laptop. There are many options here, all of which work pretty well, so pick a solution that fits your company’s security policy and needs and bearing in mind the level of mobility of your workforce.
- Install an automatic backup solution so users don’t have to worry about remembering to backup critical data.
- Make sure the protection you install on your laptops is compatible with the solutions used to connect wireless devices such as PDAs, SmartPhones, Balckberries, and IPhones to those laptops.
Wireless Security for Devices
And talking of wireless devices, those Internet-enabled SmartPhones, PDAs, IPhones, and Blackberries are in common business (and personal) use these days. Because they are frequently used to store or transport critical business data, including trade secrets, these devices need protection as well. The challenge today is finding solutions that are small enough to work on these miniature computers without compromising either the level of protection or the performance of the device. But there are some workable solutions out there, and we can help you find them.
These recommended steps will help secure all the wireless devices for the company.
- Install anti-malware on each mobile device. Make sure that the solution you choose is compatible with all the devices you need to protect, to ensure smooth downloads, uploads and synching as well as making support easier.
- Enforce an acceptable-use policy. Each mobile device user must sign a written agreement acknowledging that they understand how the device may and may not be used.
- Install a theft tracking service. Like laptops, mobile devices are easily lost and they’re attractive targets for the opportunistic thief. So protect your data and your investment with a simple subscription service.
- Encrypt the data. For the same reasons you should encrypt the data on the laptop – it’s your data, and someone else could cause you a lot of problems f they were to be able to easily access it.
For products and information in the Wireless Security layer:
Laptop Backup Solutions
Anti-Malware for Mobile Computing