Using Wireless Networking? Don’t Forget Security

In today’s business world, it’s important that your employees can work from any area of the office. Gone are the days when your workers were chained to a desk. Your employees need to be able to carry devices to the conference room to take meeting notes or do presentations, and your visitors expect to be able to get online, as well.

Unfortunately, wireless networking can be tricky at times. Devices can randomly lose connectivity, knocking your workers and visitors offline in the middle of a project. This can be frustrating, to say the least, but it also can be embarrassing, especially if it happens in the middle of a presentation.

It’s important to not only have the latest technology for your small business, but the most reliable and secure, as well. But unless your entire office is compressed into a small area of a building, basic wireless networking may not be enough. A wireless router only has so much reach, after all. You can’t exactly ask your employees and visitors to only work in a designated space, leaving only one option: a wi-fi extender.

But you need a wi-fi extender that can keep your data safe. EnGenius Technologies, a telephone and data communications company, is releasing the ECB350, a secure, high power wi-fi extender that acts as a bridge between the access point and client. The ECB350 uses Wireless N technology, currently the preferred solution for business wireless networking needs.

Businesses are becoming increasingly more reliant on wireless networking, due largely in part to the number of mobile devices being deployed. Recognizing this, Cisco Systems is working with Fluke Networks, a company that specializes in business networking, to provide AirMagnet Planner to small businesses. AirMagnet Planner helps business plan a network to find the optimum access point for wi-fi, looking for obstructions, antenna patterns, and other variables that affect a business’s access.

“Wireless is a critical business application not only for the enterprise, but also for SMBs,” Fluke Network’s Chia-Chee Kuan states. “Ensuring these networks perform at the highest levels possible requires accurate planning and deployment.”

Quoting the “bring-your-own-device” phenonemon as mentioned in InfoWorld, Kuan believes network security will take on all new meaning as businesses open up their wireless networks to employees, guests, and more. Those seeking to extend wireless networking for further reach will need to set up tight security procedures and test those procedures to make sure breaches aren’t possible.

EnGenius uses SSID-to-VLAN mapping, supporting 802.1q mapping of SSIDs and up to four VLANs. This prevents outside entities from getting in. Experts also recommend changing your wireless network password often, especially if your business opens up the network to large numbers of one-time visitors. When an employee leaves under undesirable conditions, be sure to reset your wireless password along with blocking the user’s network and e-mail access.

Wi-fi offices are becoming the standard instead of an option. To keep up with technology while still keeping data secure, a SMB needs to make sure all security protocols are in place before deploying any wi-fi solution.

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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.

3 thoughts on “Using Wireless Networking? Don’t Forget Security

  1. WiFisecuritygirl

    This article is accurate in that organizations need to think about wireless security as part of the Wi-Fi rollout not as an afterthought. However, you can’t do it by SSID to VLAN mapping.  You can’t do it with cam table lookups. The only way to secure a wireless network from current and emerging threats is to accurately understand what is on your network and what is not and therefore confidently automatically block those access point, clients and devices from gaining access to the network. That requires a wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS). Since SMBs are always cost conscious, the best way to do this is to use a cloud-based system such as AirTight Networks provides, which addresses not only rogue APs but also the challenge of the BYOD revolution.

  2. Keith Gormezano

    It is also important to remember that some programs like QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Mac, or Enterprise won’t work very well in a wireless environment. In fact, Intuit recommends against it.


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