What to Consider when Offering Free WiFi in your Business
Having free WiFi on premises can be an important customer retention tool and just plain useful for companies who have a lot of outside guests coming onsite. But as with all things, there’s no such thing as a free lunch and there are risks and considerations for companies going down that route.
First off, don’t go down to the local computer shop and buy a cheap access point or just give people access to your internal existing WiFi, both of these options will open your network and company information up to security breaches that however rare you think they are, can and do happen.
Get a reasonable (minimum ‘n’ standard) access point which can either run dual SSID (i.e. one public and one private) or is purely for insecure access. Once obtained route the public traffic out through the DMZ port on your firewall to ensure that traffic from the insecure public WiFi doesn’t hit your private network.
While that will secure your data internally (or at least provide reasonable protection) this does not protect your company from any damage caused by someone using your network to perform illegal or questionable actions. To do this you must enforce an Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP) to ensure that anyone accessing the web acknowledges their responsibilities and thus relieves you of some of yours.
If you really want to dot all the ‘i’s and cross all the ‘t’s then go for an off the shelf all-in-one system. We’ve implemented two solutions recently the Zyxel N4100 and Meraki (Cisco owned) both offer a full out of the box solutions that will segregate the traffic, provide the AUP, and if you want even charge for those times you want to generate revenue from your WiFi offering or trap user details for marketing.