You've received your standard quota of calls from your colleagues telling you there's an issue with their PC, printer, etc., to which you give your standard reply "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" You then receive a call that isn't easily remedied with a simple restart: "Hey John! There is something wrong. I cannot find my files!" You pull your sleeves up and start your investigation. You eventually discover that there's been an un-authorised access to the company's data through the Wi-Fi network. As the company's IT administrator, how do you prevent this from happening again? Well, before you or I answer that question, let's look at some other possible Wi-Fi management, or non-management scenarios that could crop up and surprise you!
So then, what's one of the the biggest fears you'll face? Personally it's the fear of losing important corporate data. As most people are working online, it's even easier for them to lose important company information, intentionally or accidentally. One way of making sure your data disappears, or even worse, finds itself in the wrong hands, is by having an unsecured Wi-Fi network. I use them, you use them, nearly everyone we know uses Wi-Fi in some capacity.
Picture a company called ABC Ltd. This imaginary SMB has issued over one hundred mobile devices to its employees. Each of these devices is connected to various Wi-Fi networks within the office. Through the use of these Android smartphones and tablets and iPhones and iPads, the employees have access to sensitive data in the form of client contracts, client info, financial statements, etc. Now let's take a look at what can go wrong if the Wi-Fi networks aren't properly managed.
Security, Security and Again Security!
When companies feel the need to use mobile devices to increase their employees productivity, they sometimes hand out a pre-configured smartphones or tablets to their employees. This approach may look good on paper, but it's expensive and terribly time consuming, especially if the company hasn't deployed a mobile device management solution. Some companies like using the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scheme. Unfortunately, this makes security even more challenging as securing your employees mobile devices is paramount as your sales and maintenance guys also use their device for personal use (it is their own device after all). Picture this: an employee is given the boot but their Wi-Fi access rights haven't been cleared from the device. It's their device after all and they're in no mood to hand it over to you so that you can remove the Wi-Fi settings. This presents a security risk as it's not uncommon for a disgruntled employee to want to get back at the company by deleting or copying the confidential data that they're connected to via their device. Okay, you're probably thinking that it's not an issue as you can easily change the Wi-Fi password. As you'll see below, things might not be as simple as you think.
Deploying and Updating Wi-Fi Networks to Multiple Devices
Off you go, skipping down the hallway to your office so that you can change the Wi-Fi password. You swing round the corner into your office and stop. "Oh dear", you think to yourself. "If I change the Wi-Fi password, that means I need to change the password on the other ninety-nine devices". That's something you really don't want to be doing, especially as it's nearing the end of the day. plus, how on earth are you supposed to get hold of everyone's device in such a short period of time? And there's another issue. You have three different Wi-Fi networks configured, which means you'll need to remember which devices are configured to which of the three networks you have. The nightmare deepens when you realise that some of the devices are actually connected to all three Wi-Fi networks, while some others are just connected to either one or two. You sense a sharp cold sweat approaching. You've arranged a LAN party that evening but it doesn't look like you're going to make it.
Wi-Fi Password Disclosure
Some of us (IT administrators) have been known to give out Wi-Fi passwords especially when we're pressed for time. What can I say? No one's perfect! The unfortunate side effect of handing out Wi-Fi passwords is that you'll find your colleagues writing them down on post-it notes and will stick the password on their monitor, their desk, in their diary, etc. The problem with letting your colleagues know what the various Wi-Fi passwords are is that if your colleagues disclose the password to someone that shouldn't know it, the company data is now at risk.
Here are some interesting stats on security breaches for companies that are using the BYOD scheme. Computer Weekly mentions that nearly half of the firms supporting the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scheme that allows employee owned devices to connect to a company network, have reported data breaches. This is all made possible due to the uncontrolled usage of unsafe devices in the company environment. The affected companies reacted in various different ways to the data breach: 12% shut down the BYOD Scheme, 43% percent installed security software, and 45% restricted the user rights to tighten up security.
Interesting stuff! These stats tell us that most companies believe that the BYOD scheme is worth using but only when a good security strategy has been implemented. Keeping that in mind, the overwhelming majority of these devices are tablets, smartphones and laptops. Proper Wi-Fi management is extremely important.
So what's the solution to all your Wi-Fi management troubles? 2X MDM is as it provides the Wi-Fi management tools you need to ensure your company's data remains secure. Try it out today by registering for your free 5 device account today!
The next article shows you how to configure and manage your Wi-Fi networks so that you never have to deal with these issues.