- Created: Monday, 21 July 2014
- Written by Warwick Grigg
Customers and staff expect access to wifi at your premises, for very good reasons. If you simply give them the wireless code for your network, you'll expose your servers to attack from devices you don't control. You may have confidence in your guests' integrity, that they wouldn't deliberately hack into your servers, but malware could be running on their devices without their knowledge. So how can you provide guest wifi whilst also protecting your network?
Allowing uncontrolled devices to connect wirelessly inside your network perimeter would bypass the protective layers you've put in place. Of course you make sure that your organisation's laptops have up to date antivirus and security, but you can't do that for your customers' devices or staff's personal devices. Of course you have a firewall to protect your servers from devices outside your network perimeter, but guests devices connecting wirelessly will sit inside that protective layer. You'll need something extra.
One approach, is to install a separate internet line with dedicated wireless access points. This may seem like a simple solution to the problem, and sometimes for very small organisations it is the best solution, but the cumulative costs of cabling, maintenance, and duplication of the infrastructure are usually much higher than other solutions.
Instead of creating a separate physical networks we create a logical equivalent: multiple VLANs (Virtual Local Area Network) keep your client’s facebook updates separate from your company accounts. With the same cabling and the same number of access points, you can provide different levels of access for different devices: guest/visitors; staff personal devices; your companies managed laptops etc.
If upgrading your network for VLANs is uneconomic or has no strategic value then single purpose proprietary solutions such as Cisco's Meraki line is an option.
There are other aspects to consider such as: bandwidth, coverage etc
Phone Warwick Grigg at telanova on 01344 567990 to help you choose the solution that's right for your organisation.