You’ve put time and money into building your business. Don’t let rookie mistakes put your hard-earned dollars into the hands of a hacker.
Whether you run a one-person shop or employ hundreds of workers, protecting your business will always be part of your job. Even if you choose to see the positive in everyone, hackers will always be waiting for an opportunity to come in and take what they can.
However, there are some things your computer-savvy self can do on your own to help prevent data breaches from turning your world upside down. Follow along for 5 steps you can take to protect your office from WiFi data breaches.
5 Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Office From WiFi Data Breaches
When it comes to running a successful business, protecting yourself against data breaches should always be at the top of your mind. Unless your profession centers around IT, you should have an expert secure your systems and keep your IT practices up to speed.
1. Don’t Keep WiFi Password In A Visible Place
Even that post-it in the back of the office where clients rarely wander could be putting your entire operation at risk.
Consider all the people who may wind up in this area of the office. Who changes the light bulbs? What about routine exterminator services? Do potential new employees get an office tour after an interview?
Despite someone’s level of technical expertise or industry knowledge, you never know someone’s true intentions or capabilities. A quick glimpse at the network WiFi password by an unassuming passerby could be all it takes for a hacker to infiltrate your system and wipe your financial accounts clean.
Additionally, it’s not always new people that you need to be wary of either.
Do you have a selfie enthusiast employee? Or maybe the team made a TikTok video to promote the latest campaign?
It may seem far-reaching to some, but ill-willed hackers could zoom in and search the backgrounds of those innocent selfies or viral dance videos. One camera angle in the wrong direction could expose the key that unlocks your business’ proprietary data and financial accounts.
To keep you and your business out of harm’s way, decide on a secure method of sharing the WiFi password to those who need it.
2. Change WiFi Key To Stay In Compliance
Depending on your industry, you may need to change your WiFi key regularly to stay in compliance.
Anyone who works with securities and falls under the governance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) already has detailed password requirements. Along with the many FINRA password rules in place, you must also change the password at certain times. Specifically, passwords with 12-15 characters are valid for 180 days. Meanwhile, FINRA passwords with 16-32 characters are valid for 365 days.
Additionally, those in medical-related fields fall under the governance of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws. To protect patient confidentiality, many rules are in place to prevent a data breach of highly personal information. The HIPAA password rules stipulate that people under their governance must have comprehensive policies and procedures in place for creating, storing, and changing passwords.
Whether or not your business falls under the rules of FINRA or HIPAA, changing passwords regularly is a smart practice. This is especially true when these passwords are unique and don’t contain any identifiable information. If a hacker does break a password and gain access to critical information, they only have that access until you change the password again.
3. Utilize WiFi Authentication
It’s no secret that WiFi has been revolutionary to the way we access information. But with it comes a whole new list of security challenges.
Information used to only be shared between computers wired together in the same room or building. WiFi enables that information to be accessible from virtually anywhere.
This sounds great, so why refer to it as a challenge? Because this also means that with the right information, the wrong person could gain access to your most critical data. Moreover, this unauthorized person could literally be anywhere in the world.
So how do you keep the wrong people from logging into your network?
This is where WiFi authentication comes into play. The most common form of WiFi authentication is to basically give everyone who needs access the SSID and password.
The idea is that only authorized users will have this information to access the WiFi. Well, it doesn’t always work so perfectly. People tend to share the SSID and passwords with others. Also, former employees usually continue to have access after they move on. Although it seems easy enough to just change a password, it is much more complicated than it seems. When there are a large number of employees relying on the SSID and password, making changes could potentially disrupt operations.
4. Have A Separate WiFi Network Available To Guests
“Hey, what’s your WiFi password?”
Innocent enough question, right? We’ve all asked it. After all, the norm these days is to sync up to WiFi wherever you are for faster speeds and to avoid using up your data.
Whether you’re hosting a meeting or your employer’s child tagged along for the day and wants to stream music, someone will always ask for the password. However, unless all guests log into a separate network, your company’s critical data is at risk of exposure.
Have you ever tried logging into a coffee shop’s WiFi?
You may have noticed there will be at least two networks, for example, Coffee-Shop and Coffee-Shop-Guest. They don’t serve copious amounts of caffeine and expect you to calmly sit around, not thumbing through every app on your phone.
WiFi is usually available at coffee shops. This second network, Coffee-Shop-Guest, was created specifically for customers to connect to the internet without being given access to important business information.
Carrying this practice of a second guest network is a great defense against data breaches. Not that you don’t trust your guests, but what if they get hacked? Assumptions of goodwill can be devastating to you, your business, your livelihood, and your employees’ wellbeing.
To keep your business safe from data breaches, only allow authorized users onto the network with your valuable data.
5. Monitor Who Is Accessing Your WiFi
Remaining diligent about who is accessing your WiFi goes beyond who is given the password. It is important to actually monitor who has logged into your network. If devices appear that you don’t recognize, then it is time to change the password.
Additionally, there are circumstances that some don’t realize could be contributing to the threat of a data breach. For instance, did you know that streaming services such as Fire TV can be hacked? If that Fire TV is logged into your company’s main network, that puts your entire business at risk.
To avoid data breaches, only critical devices and personnel should have access to log in to the main network. The Fire TV can easily log into the guest network. Other potential weak spots may include:
- Security cameras (powered over Ethernet)
- Wifi-enabled kitchen devices (crockpots, fridges, etc.)
- Cell phones
To help make monitoring several devices easier, there are several apps available to oversee who is accessing what network. This not only helps to pinpoint when a breach may have occurred, but can also help prevent a breach from happening at all.
However, you probably don’t want to leave your business’ safety in the hands of any app that you happen to find. Instead, reach out to Brooks IT Services to get the most comprehensive WiFi monitoring to protect your business.
Protect Your Business From Data Breaches
Whether you are reeling from a devastating data breach or want to prevent one from happening, there are steps you can take now.
To start, call your IT experts at Brooks IT Services today at (713) 554-2022. Data breaches are no joke and can upend all the hard work you have put into building your successful business. Contact Brooks IT Services today to get protection against future data breaches.