Traditionally, Guest Wi-Fi has one of two major problems:
Either it's not very secure and extremely easy to access, or alternatively offers some security, but is very difficult for your guests to connect to.
There’s nothing worse for your client or prospective customer than forcing them to wait to be provided with a password, or even having to create an account with you for access. We’ve all seen first-hand how difficult and frustrating it can be to access your average hotel Wi-Fi on a relaxing weekend away, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Security and convenience should not compete, and this balancing act conundrum can be resolved before it even becomes an issue by implementing intelligent guest wireless solutions that allow your customers to access the network easily whilst keeping your precious data secure.
Guest Wi-Fi can offer a wide variety of benefits across a range of industries. Today's leading wireless networks can generate user, device and application usage data that can be utilised to better understand how customers interact with your location and also your network. This allows organisations to shape business strategies around tangible data, drive new revenue, and increase customer engagement. Of course, if you want to acquire this data, you need to encourage your users to connect to your Wi-Fi, and this is more likely to happen if it’s quick and easy to do so.
Simplicity can't outrank security. Today's wireless networks need to prepare for the growth of the Internet of Things: a vast range of connected devices that, while offering countless opportunities, also pose serious security risks if the necessary precautions haven't been considered. Your organisation needs to be able to know the types of device trying to access your network, as well as identify and connect safe devices to the network, all without compromising ease of use for the end-user. With so many variables to consider, one way this challenge can be tackled is by implementing automated policy control that can apply rules based on characteristics such as device type or application usage. To do this, you first need to know how your network is being utilised, and to do this, you might need to make some amends to your current network structure.
Getting to grasp with your wireless security
Leaders in the wireless manufacturing space now combine wireless hardware with intelligent data tools that allow organisations to paint a picture of how their network operates right down to which applications are being used (otherwise known as layer-7 visibility). This granularity allows businesses to implement wireless access policies based on device type, enforce restrictions on what can be done on the network, throttle bandwidth, blacklist certain applications and apply further restrictions on unknown devices. This scenario doesn't just apply to customers. The same rules apply for office networks, where employees bring in personal devices and connect them to the network. Control of this level helps to ensure the baddies stay off your network, while "safe" devices can be managed and controlled to avoid bandwidth issues and internal threats.
But that doesn't sound simple for the user...
Knowing the types of devices accessing your network allows you to implement the policies outlined above. That's your security covered once they're on the network, but you still need to make access easy for visitors, but controllable. Adding an authentication step at sign-on ensures devices connect to the network according to your access policy and also that guests agree to terms and conditions associated with the Wi-Fi. This can be extremely simple: integrating your logins with social media platforms such as Facebook mean that users can connect in one click, utilising pre-populated information from other sources.
How can you implement a secure guest wireless network?
Prodec Networks partners with HPE Aruba and Cisco Meraki to create high-grade wireless networks that are easy to manage, configure and control. Both Aruba and Meraki offer excellent tools within their portfolio that make setting up a secure guest Wi-Fi network easy and cost-effective. Prodec will work alongside you to ensure the most appropriate equipment is installed onto your premises, before configuring and setting up the new network to suit your access requirements.