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Network Security More Vital Than Ever

In helping a new customer work through some set-up issues, we found an outdated Wi-Fi security system. With more hackers finding more ways to get into more systems for more personal information, it’s just plain stupid not to make sure you have a secure Wi-Fi system and a strong password.

Let’s start with a secure router. The technology is mature, as far as IT goes, and the current security technology, known as WPA 2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access – the second generation), works very well if you set it up properly. It’s also not that expensive, especially in relation to the value you need to protect, but we’ll get to that farther down in this article.

We were astounded when we found an ancient WEP security system on a new Wi-Fi installation when we began servicing a new client. WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, but in today’s practical terms, you might as well call it WET, as in wet paper towel. If you have a password with a long, totally random combination of numbers and letters (that you’ll never remember), it’s probably WEP. While the password may be hard to type, it’s pretty easy for a hacker to crack.

The client still had an old WEP Wi-Fi because they were told it would be an expensive, time-consuming project. However, they “wasted” a considerable amount of money because they somehow wound up with enterprise-level equipment. Along with getting worthless advice, they had a pound-wise, penny-foolish Wi-Fi system with vulnerable security that had cumbersome management steps.

If their Wi-Fi was old enough to have the older security technology, then it was old enough to replace. The radio in the average router begins to lose its power after three or four years, anyway, so our client probably wasn’t getting performance in addition to not getting the most up-to-date security and a more efficient way to grant access to those who need it.

In today’s offices with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment, WPA 2 works very well. You can make a password easy to remember – just make it long – so that your authorized users can get their smartphones and tablets onto the network. That boosts productivity. At home, we’re streaming more, and that needs a good network.

Regardless of how you use your network, security is paramount. If an outsider gets into your network through a hole in your Wi-Fi, they’re already past the firewall. Once they get that far, it’s easy to get into any computer or server on your network and get financial information, medical records and anything that they can use to make money at your expense. You could also be responsible for somebody else’s criminal activity, such as distributing child pornography.

We can help you install and set up a new Wi-Fi with WPA 2 security. We can also help you set up filters to keep employees or children from accessing specific websites. We can do it all over the phone and through remote access. Call us – 973-433-6646 – or email us to discuss your options and set up your system.