How to Implement Guest Wi-Fi that Keeps Customers Happy and Networks Secure

How to Implement Guest Wi-Fi that Keeps Customers Happy and Networks Secure

In the previous post, we discussed why Wi-Fi analytics is such a valuable business tool, especially in the hospitality and retail sectors. Wi-Fi networks offer a wealth of data that can provide insights into customer behavior and preferences, allowing organizations to improve marketing and promotional strategies and optimize operations. Guest Wi-Fi, now a standard expectation in commercial spaces, is critical to taking full advantage of these opportunities.

Guest Wi-Fi provides visitors with a wireless Internet connection without allowing them to access your main corporate network. In other words, it provides visitors with the Wi-Fi they demand without putting business resources at risk. Although users don’t have to log in to be monitored, having them connect to guest Wi-Fi can provide deeper information about the user. This allows you to engage with them in a more personal way, which can increase sales and loyalty.

However, guest Wi-Fi networks can create security risks if not implemented properly. Unauthorized users can access your main network if it isn’t fully isolated from the guest Wi-Fi network. And because traffic on a guest Wi-Fi network typically isn’t encrypted, that traffic is vulnerable to snooping.

There are four primary factors to consider when creating a guest Wi-Fi network. First, network segmentation is critical. There are three general types of network users: 1) employees, who require internal network access that can be controlled according to user roles; 2) contractors, vendors, consultants, etc., who require limited access to network resources and specific applications; and 3) guests, who require Internet access only and should be completely blocked from the main network. Networks can be segmented based upon those user types, and users will only “see” the resources they’re allowed to access.

User policies should be created to determine when and how various user segments can access the network and through what type of device or connection. User policies also dictate how much bandwidth will be allocated to individual users or groups, and which users or groups will have priority. This will prevent performance issues on the main network and reduce the risk of unauthorized access.

The right approach to guest user provisioning will enable anyone to create a user account without compromising security. User provisioning often involves the use of pre-configured templates, which allow you to streamline network access, minimize errors, and reduce the time to provision multiple guest user groups. A customizable user login portal enables users to authenticate before accessing the Internet. In addition to an authentication mechanism, a user login portal typically includes corporate branding and a usage agreement.

WatchGuard’s secure Wi-Fi solution not only protects your network resources, but also improves productivity and customer satisfaction. WatchGuard’s patented Wireless Intrusion Prevention System defends your guest Wi-Fi network against unauthorized devices, man-in-the-middle attacks, denial-of-service attacks, rogue access points and other threats. WatchGuard offers easy-to-use engagement tools for creating a rich Wi-Fi experience, as well as robust analytics tools that allow you to gain actionable business insights from your data. Additionally, customizable reports provide visibility into bandwidth consumption, application activity, performance, security, compliance and other important data.

Verteks helps organizations move away from legacy Wi-Fi infrastructure that’s difficult to manage and doesn’t provide the capacity and security to meet modern demand. Let us show you how the WatchGuard solution keeps your corporate network and safe while providing guests with reliable, high-performance Wi-Fi.