Shared Office Space WiFi – are you safe?
Your business has grown to a point where you now need office space to work from and the first thing you look for is something that won’t break the banks.
There are many office solutions out there but the starting point for many businesses is the shared office space where you rent a room or two in a large building or complex, it comes with shared conference rooms, kitchen, meeting rooms, breakout space etc. All for a very reasonable price. It also has the benefits of getting to know and hopefully doing business with lots of other small businesses who also share the buildings too.
You get your office, you have a receptionionist, some of them answer the phone for you, take packages, etc. it’s all just brill! You setup your desks, work bench, meeting table, and finally get the WiFi log on details, connect your PC, laptop, printer, phone, and away you go!
But wait, what do you know about the WiFi? Who else is also connected to it? Have you connected your shared data to the network and someone else has access to it?
By using some easily available software you can ‘sniff’ the network and see who else is using it. With a bit more effort you could also start using their printers, reading what they’ve printed, maybe look at their webcam’s and even access their files. What’s more worrying they can do that to you too!
How to protect your data, and systems in general?
1. you can look to install your own broadband into the office – usually you can have a BT line installed into the office and enable ADSL broadband on it, what way you are completely independent, reliant on no one. It does however assume you will be sticking around that office for 18 months, happy to pay the install feels, and any other fees from the Office provider, etc.
2. A simple solution is to look for a ‘Travel Router”, something like the TP-Link AC750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Travel Router, this device will connect to the Office network ‘once’ and then shares out a new WiFI name (SSID) to you. With the right settings all of your devices will sit in their own little network and be protected from the outside world ‘sniffing’ what you might have to offer. It also has an Ethernet connection so for all your old devices, things like printers, VoIP Phones etc. can also be connected using an Ethernet Switch or such like.
Search for ‘Travel Routers‘ to see what other devices are out there…
3. The intermediate solution – A little more messing around but a relatively inexpensive solution – what we do is use a AP (WiFI Access Point) in reverse in what they call client mode and it connects to the WiFi. Once connected to the WiFi the Ethernet cable then provides a wired connection to the internet. Having the ‘wire’ means you can then plug it into the Internet (WAN) socket of a cable router. The cable router can then be used to create a normal private network setup in your office space, protecting your valuable data and systems. It will provide your own WiFi Name (SSID) to your colleagues and devices, but also give you the ability to plug in older wired devices like VoIP phones, printers, cameras etc. Search for ‘WiFi Cable Router‘ and ‘AP Client‘ for the kit you will need to acheive this.
4. Thinking of the long term… If you expect to keep growing then its worth investing into a router that will do everything you should need for the growth of your business. Draytek offers a great SME solutions that will allow you to configure the router to connect to the WiFi network directly, protecting you from the outside world, but also has ability to plug in a 4G dongle as either a backup or adds to the bandwidth (internet speed) to your internal network. This is a great advantage if you find you are struggling for the amount of speed available to you. On top of that the routers can also connect to conventional ADSL and Cable broadbands which gives you the flexibility to basically take your network wherever you go and plug in and continue to work, as nothing changes, except the connection to the internet. It has other benefits too like having your own guest WiFI, protected from your business, and other clever firewall controls that could all be very useful for a growing business.
Search for the ‘Draytek 2862ac Router‘ or its alternatives when it gets superseded with something newer and fancier!
Above all, make sure you protect yourself, and your business. If this article all seems a little to much, or you’d prefer to focus on your buisness and let someone else deal with it, then please give TECNiA Digital a call. We will find you the right solution for your business and you pocket.
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