Gone are the days of having to seek out a Wi-Fi network in order to gain access to a company’s servers. Today, Wi-Fi networks are readily available everywhere and are often free for anyone to use. While this makes it much easier for your employees to work from almost anywhere, it does add significant security issues that must be considered. Public Wi-Fi networks are often available without the need for a password. With so many unknown users connected to a network, it is important to take a few measures to ensure that your employees’ devices remain secure, as well as your company’s network and data.
Fortunately, there are a few relatively simple methods that can be used by your IT departments to greatly increase the security of your computers and networks, even on the most insecure of Wi-Fi networks.
Utilize Secure Browsers
The two biggest sources for security breaches on laptops, or even smart phones and tablets, are from email and Internet browsers. When using public Wi-Fi, require all your users to use a secured browser to help limit any potential threats found on some websites.
Setup a VPN
In addition to passwords on individual devices, consider creating a virtual private network when allowing employees access to the company’s network. A VPN encrypts all of the data being transmitted between the servers and the device accessing them, which adds an additional layer of security when using a public Wi-Fi network.
Turn Off File Sharing
File sharing between devices such as laptops and tablets has never been easier than it is today. Unfortunately, most users remain unfamiliar with these features or simply don’t take the time to properly secure them with passwords. If they do not secure them, all of their files can be easily browsed by anyone connected to the same public Wi-Fi network. By requiring users to turn off all the file sharing capabilities on their devices, you can drastically reduce the chance that your company’s files could be perused by someone other than your employees.
Educate Your Employees
Most security breaches happen simply out of ignorance. If you do not take the time to explain how and why security breaches occur, you open your business up to potential attack. Most employees will want to take all the steps necessary to protect your company files and shield them from attack. Train your employees about the security of whatever device they may be using and educate them on how they can use their devices anywhere while still maintaining the level of security your business needs.
Access to free public Wi-Fi is a great way to work from virtually anywhere, and utilizing these networks can greatly increase the productivity of your employees when they must travel for your business. However, they can present a unique set of potentially harmful and damaging security threats that you must address before allowing your employees to use them.