October 15, 2015

Wi-Fi for the Smart Guy

Susan Helmick

Long passed is the time when desktop PCS were the norm at work. Now, laptops, tablets and phones are all used to do business.  An April 2015 Forrester report* predicts there will be nearly 3.5 billion smartphone users by 2019 and more than 750 million tablet users by 2018 with mobile applications, for both business and personal use, reaching critical mass in the next five years. And while all this mobile connectivity may improve employee productivity and availability, it also opens the door to potential cyber security risks, especially when personal and business issued devices are used for both work and play.

Business travelers and those working remotely often rely on public Wi-Fi to connect. Airports, hotels, coffee houses and restaurants often offer complimentary Wi-Fi access to those on site. But data sent over these public networks to websites or mobile apps can easily be intercepted, exposing passwords and other confidential information. These wireless security risks multiply if appropriate anti-malware or other security is not installed on the device.

However, there are some simple steps your employees can take when connecting to unfamiliar wireless connections with smartphones, tablets or laptops to better protect critical business – and personal – information.

Check Before you Connect

That Wi-Fi link may not be legitimate.  Always confirm the name and IP address before logging on.

Sharing is not Always Caring

Turn off sharing when using public networks so unauthorized users don’t have access to files. Also, turn off Wi-Fi when not actively connecting.

Be Wary of Websites

Avoid using websites and apps that store passwords or financial  information. If you must, check for HTTPS (at the start of the web address) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which ensures data passed between devices and web servers is encrypted. Otherwise,  use your cell phone network, not public Wi-Fi, to access web sites.

To Stay Zen, VPN

Your best option: a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which simulates a private network even when using on a public one.

For more information on wireless security, visit Raytheon|Websense Mobile Workforce Security.


*"The Global Mobile Revolution Is Just Beginning", Thomas Husson, Forrester Research, April 16, 2015 

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