Securing your wireless network

10 tips for better wireless network security


Having a safe, secure and reliable wireless local area network (WLAN) is critical for protecting and running your business. Here are some ideas to help you improve your WLAN security and get the most out of wireless networking:

  1. Don't assume that your business is of little interest to hackers. Even if you are not the target of their attack, hackers can use your insecure network to cause damage to someone else, eg by logging on to one of your servers and installing software that can damage another business' website. To get a better understanding of online threats, see cyber security for business.

  2. If your devices rely on basic WLAN security features such as Wired Equivalent Privacy, or out of date Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) protocols, consider upgrading them. Modern devices with the latest security protocols such as WPA3 built into them may offer better protection.

  3. Make sure that your new WLAN equipment matches the required wireless networking standards. If possible, order equipment from the same manufacturer to ensure that it's compliant and compatible.

  4. Always enable security features when installing new equipment. Make sure the devices have unique complex passwords, not using common factory default passwords. Many devices now come with unique passwords pre-configured but you need to ensure this information is not left with the device if it is in a public area where anyone can see it. If you forget to do so, it could leave your entire network open to attack. Read more on Wi-Fi protected access (WPA).

  5. Try to position access points - which transfer data between your devices - away from the outside wall of your building to minimise leakage of radio signals. This limits the chances of interception from outside.

  6. Don't allow employees to add access points without management authorisation. One insecure access point could put your entire network at risk. Read more about access points and other wireless network components.

  7. If you need high security for your wireless transactions, use only the latest technologies and run additional encryption such as SSL-enabled communication protocols or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect the data transferred across your network. If you can, use firewalls to isolate the WLAN from the rest of your network. See how to improve network security with VPN and firewalls.

  8. Monitor your network and check logs periodically to make sure that your network has not been broken into. If you are not sure how to do this, call in an outside expert.

  9. Keep software and router or wireless access point firmware up-to-date as this makes it much more difficult for hackers to exploit weaknesses.

  10. Finally, unless you have good technical skills in your business, consider bringing in external experts to check your security measures.

Follow other best practice tips to protect your business online.