How many times have you stepped into a store or restaurant and logged on to their free Wi-Fi network? Target, Home Depot, your public library and even many city governments provide free Wi-Fi for users. It’s convenient, it’s easy, and heck, it’s free. These days, public Wi-Fi is widely available and users can connect from almost anywhere.
The kicker is, as with many great and wonderful things, free public Wi-Fi comes with a catch. It’s typically not secure. While home and work networks are fairly secure, third-party networks present an entire new range of problems. Besides doing things like mining data from users, public networks often have many users on them. Unfortunately, the more unknown users are on a network, the less secure it becomes. Users may unwittingly download malware and bring the virus back to their home or work networks, thus compromising the security of those networks and users. Also, data we transmit may be viewable to others, including hackers. And, we know this! According to a Xirrus report, 91% of users are aware that public Wi-fi is not secure. But, 89% use it anyway.
Unfortunately, for many employees, connecting to public Wi-Fi is necessary. In our connected society, it is expected that employees will check and respond to email frequently. The same Xirrus report shows that 83% of Wi-Fi users access email, and 43% of users access work and job specific information. Employees may also need to check company information in order to answer emails, thus exposing this data on public networks. Also, employees may work remotely or travel and be out of the office for long periods of time. If this is the case, they will likely need to access a free Wi-Fi network. In fact, 83% of users connect to Wi-Fi in their hotels and 64% connect in airports.
As we as users become more savvy, hackers have to figure out new ways to attack. We are all familiar with common email scams and redirect links. But, one of the least recognized cyber threats is ransomeware. Nearly 30% of users stated they were unfamiliar with the threat. With ransomeware, a hacker hijacks the user’s or organization’s data and holds it hostage. The data will be returned, they promise, for a fee. Symantec research shows that ransomeware infection numbers are growing, as well as ransomeware demands. This can be particularly damaging to businesses. Not to mention that it’s very difficult to protect yourself against a threat you don’t even know exists.
All of this raises another concern for employees, which is that employers are not providing enough training. Think about it. How much cyber security training did you provide for your employees last year? 46% of users say their company has NOT offered training within the last year, and 39% say they have only had 1 or 2 trainings. In the age we live in, cyber threats are continually changing and evolving. If you want to keep your business network and your data safe, you must keep your employees up-to-date. If you want our employees to stay up-to-date, you need to be provide them with the latest security information.
Wondering what you can do to keep your employees and your business safe? Struggling to figure out which option is best for your business?
Our FREE Mobile Device Policy Consultation ($297 value) helps point you in the right direction for your business.
Call Us Direct: 512-900-9478 or Contact Us HERE.
Live in or near Austin? Want to get some practical cyber security information you can take back to your employees? Interested in learning more about how to remain secure and welcome your user’s mobile devices onto your network? Register to attend our November TECH & TACOS lunch and learn event.
Statistics were taken from the 2016 Xirrus Wi-Fi report. To read the full Xirrus report, go here.