Is public Wi-Fi safe for your mobile workers?

Wi-Fi is a huge tool for the modern enterprise, but companies should be careful when using public services

Much of the digital revolution has been supported by Wi-Fi, and public hotspots are appearing in all kinds of different places. This growing availability will no doubt be exciting for the owners of increasingly mobile businesses. Employees can now work quickly and efficiently from almost any location, using a wide range of capable devices.

It’s not all plain sailing, however. Workers building a dependence on airport and coffee-shop connection points should also note a slight cause for concern. As with any internet connection, wireless hotspots rely on the transferring of information, and in a business situation, there’s every chance that the info in question is of a sensitive nature.

Businesses must, then, be extremely careful. The problem with using public Wi-Fi is the lack of standardisation; these services come from various different providers, each of which will deal with security in a different way. Some connections will be left completely open, for example, simply to provide extra convenience for users. This, however, makes it easier for cyber-criminals to hijack data.

Thankfully things are changing. As Wi-Fi technology moves forward, it’s becoming clear that security is one of the main issues being addressed. Next Generation Hotspot (NGH), for example, relies on SIM authentication instead of the usual passwords and usernames. The ease with which users can transfer from one connection to another also removes the temptation for providers to leave their services completely open.

This shift towards a more secure mobile working environment will take time, and until NGH becomes the norm, firms must take extra care to ensure their data is safe.

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