Put simply – customers want WiFi. The modern consumer is accustomed to being connected 24/7 and your business premises are no exception.
While it can seem an easy option to just put your existing WiFi network’s password on a card by the counter and let anyone connect, this can cause you problems.
Not only does this slow down your network but it also leaves you open to the security risks that come with sharing your network with customers.
The most professional and secure solution is to have a guest WiFi network that is completely separate from your business broadband but which you are in complete control of.
While a separate WiFi network necessarily costs more than simply opening up your existing network to your customers, it is still much cheaper than dealing with the financial and reputational damage that could be caused by inadvertently giving bad actors access to your network.
Here are four ways that utilising a separate guest network, delivered through high-speed WiFi hotspots, helps keep your business secure.
1. Prevent Customers From Accessing Sensitive Systems and Data
By keeping customers on a separate network, you prevent them from being able to leap-frog onto other connected systems and devices on your main network like POS terminals. As your systems are kept on a completely different network with its own access points and passwords, there is no risk of opening a vulnerability in your business-critical network.
2. Control Who Is On Your Network, When They Are On and For How Long
You want to grant enough WiFi access to your customers to let them check Instagram or emails while they are waiting, but you don’t want them taking advantage and downloading hundreds of GBs of films over your network.
You also don’t want your neighbours to visit once, log on, and then have free WiFi for life.
By having a separate network that you have complete administrative control over, you get detailed information on the users and devices currently connected to your guest network.
You can easily prevent overuse by removing or data capping users on the network.
3. Protect Yourself from Regulatory Issues
Keeping your customer records secure is an important part of the GDPR and other data protection regulations.
By leaving identifiable information about your customers (including, name, address, credit card number, age, gender) on a public WiFi network you are not only leaving them vulnerable, you are also putting yourself at risk of the legal and reputational repercussions of failing to properly secure your customers’ data.
4. Limit Bandwidth Usage
Even if guest WiFi is set up to be independent from the company network, it still uses your ISP connection to provide internet access for guests.
This means that if guests participate in activities — such as streaming HD video — that put a lot of stress on your bandwidth, other users and employees can experience slowdown from your service.
With some of us carrying multiple connected devices with us at any one time (laptop, phone, smartwatch) it’s easy to see how employees might also be inadvertently causing a strain on your network.
One way around this problem is to allow workers to connect (with set bandwidth limits) only to the Guest WiFi network. This also adds an extra layer of security by ensuring that only company-approved devices can connect to your WiFi.
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