No event has brought more change to the modern workplace than the COVID-19 pandemic. As companies begin to resume operations and attempt to return to a sense of normalcy, some things will be affected permanently. According to research from Gartner, nearly three-quarters (74%) of CFOs expect to transition a number of previously on-premise employees to remote work setups in the aftermath of COVID-19.
While flexible work environments are projected to be the future of the corporate landscape, having a remote staff raises a series of challenges including serious concerns over cybersecurity measures and securing network connections. If your business has begun transitioning to full-time Work From Home (WFH) employees, the chances are high that you haven’t taken the time to review your enterprise Wi-Fi security and privacy measures. Your Wi-Fi connection is one of the common access points cybercriminals use to steal your company information.
So, how do you secure your Wi-Fi internet especially with most employees working remotely? Read on to learn more about Wi-Fi security issues to be aware of and how to secure your wireless network.
Enterprise Network Security Issues to Be Aware of
Cyber-attacks have increased since the outbreak of coronavirus with over 40% of businesses reporting significant cybercrime attempts. A report by Action Fraud indicated a 400% increase in online scams in March 2020. With the increase in remote employees, it is important to set strict security guidelines and provide the proper tools to employees to create and maintain a safe and secure work environment. Here are the common ways that your company can be hacked and enterprise solutions.
1. Use of Vulnerable Networks
Accessing your company information over an unsecured network increases the chances of being hacked. Often, hackers scan networks to establish possible vulnerabilities to utilize. In case your network is vulnerable, they will attack and steal your company information.
2. Social Engineering Passwords
Some passwords are easy to guess. For instance, some people use easy-to-remember passwords such as their names or year of birth. Just as they are easy to remember, they can be guessed easily. In most cases, hackers will target individuals who access their company information remotely. Therefore, using a strong password can help you lower the chances of being hacked. Implement stricter password requirements on highly sensitive networks.
3. Compromised Wi-Fi Network
Most companies have been hacked through a compromised Wi-Fi connection. If your wireless network has easy security or open access, it becomes easy for hacks to invade your system. With most employees working remotely, the temptation to work and use a public wireless connection in cafes is high. Hackers use this open environment to look for unsecured Wi-Fi connections to attack. Require remote employees to use additional levels of security when working in open environments and provide VPN services to employees who frequently travel.
4. Shared Passwords
How often do you share your Wi-Fi password? With the need to work from home, your employees can share the password with individuals who are hackers. Or, hackers can hack into your company information from third-party sites that you or your employees access daily. Set expiration dates for routers and offer assistance in replacing routers over 3 years old. Provide employees with instructions on how to enable Wi-Fi encryption settings on new and existing routers.
4 Enterprise Wi-Fi Security Tips for Your Remote Employees
As your employees continue to work remotely, you should adopt stringent security and privacy measures to keep your company information protected. Here are reliable tips for securing network connections over Wi-Fi.
1. Avoid Using Default Network Name
Default network names are easy to crack. To secure your Wi-Fi network, change its default settings including the network name. In most cases, cybercriminals manage to hack into Wi-Fi because they have mastered a few vulnerabilities among router manufacturers. With the new settings, you reduce the probability of hackers establishing the router that you are using.
2. Opt for Robust Encryption
Find out what protection your access point uses. A majority of Wi-Fi access points are still stuck with the fundamentally broken Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) standard of protection. Such protection is easy to hack even with simple hacking suites. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) protection is stronger encryption. You can as well opt for the newer version of this encryption – the WPA2.
3. Use a Secure Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Hackers have become smart with each technological development. A slight mistake in your security protocols such as an IP leak can give hackers access to your Wi-Fi network, and subsequently to your company information. Using a VPN can boost your security as it allows data encryption making it hard for hackers to determine your online activities or even your location.
4. Don’t Reveal Your Work-From-Home Status Online
Much like you wouldn’t reveal your office address or cubicle number online, revealing your remote status can put a target on your back for hackers looking to attack unsecured workstations. Avoid posting work-from-home photos or posts on public-facing social media accounts or consider switching those accounts to private.
5. Turn Remote Administration Off
Hackers can access your Wi-Fi network via your router’s remote administration feature. This feature makes it possible for anyone within the proximity of your home to access your network settings. Leaving remote administration means that any hacker near your home can interfere with the Wi-Fi settings. Ensure that this feature is off whenever you are not connected to your Wi-Fi router remotely.
Remote Work Needs Secure Enterprise Wi-Fi
Working remotely has become the norm now. If you have remote employees, it’s time to adopt strict privacy and security measures, especially where you are sharing a Wi-Fi connection. Even with the above measures in place, if the employees do not know the importance of keeping company information secure, your efforts will be in vain.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on 10/01/2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on 1/17/2022.