Today, most businesses have some form of a wireless network in place. Aside from being convenient for employees with mobile devices looking to access the internet, wireless access is imperative for businesses whose employees regularly move throughout the office.
As a business owner, you have made a substantial investment in your corporate wireless network. For that reason, it also makes sense to offer wireless access to your guests, customers, vendors, and auditors, but how do you do it safely? By opening up your corporate wireless network to outsiders and devices that you do not manage, your system could become compromised by outside cyber attacks and/or viruses. Thus, it's imperative to create a guest wireless network that is segregated from the corporate network.
Here are two good reasons to deploy a guest wireless network: security and bandwidth. Let's take a look at both.
By deploying a guest wireless network, you can control the who, what, and where. Leveraging a guest password controls the who, web filtering you have implemented at the firewall controls the what, and specific controls within the firewall and access point control the where.
For example, a password or web filtering would allow you to prevent a random “guest” from watching Netflix from your parking lot. Additionally, web filtering would allow you to restrict the type of sites that your guests can access, perhaps those more likely to contain malware.
By carving off a portion of your wireless network specifically for guests, you can designate a certain amount of bandwidth just for guest traffic. This ensures business activities are not affected by guest activities. In addition, you can prioritize corporate activities over guest activities so that business traffic has access to 100% of the bandwidth available.
These are just some of the important points to consider as you look to provide your guests with wireless access. As with most technology, wireless technology is ever evolving making it easier and safer to grant access while improving the experience to the end user, whether guest or employee. A solid, well thought-out deployment plan will keep your business assets safe while providing your guests with a seamless experience.
Ross Taliaferro is a Systems Engineering Account Manager. As an Account Manager, Ross works closely with his clients to streamline their networks, bring new and better solutions to the table, and assist with IT planning to obtain business goals.