Nearly half of Americans say they couldn’t get through the day without Wi-Fi, according to a recent OnePoll survey. We suspect the other half just don’t fully comprehend how much they depend on the technology.
Pandemic lockdowns that forced most of us to work remotely led to remarkable changes in network traffic patterns. According to data from the CTIA wireless association, Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices now generate more than 80 percent of all Internet traffic. There’s no sign demand is slowing —Wi-Fi is projected to contribute nearly $5 trillion to the global economy by 2025, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.
Businesses now depend on Wi-Fi for a variety of mission-critical requirements such as mobile communications, remote collaboration, Internet of Things connectivity and edge computing. However, increased reliance on wireless connections also creates a range of potential security vulnerabilities. One U.K. survey found that nearly three-quarters of companies suffering a data breach were infiltrated via unsecured wireless devices.
Wi-Fi networks are increasingly targeted because they tend to be more vulnerable than wired networks. Plus, it doesn’t require much skill — in many cases, hackers can simply use tools and how-to videos found online.
With organizations of all sizes increasingly reliant on wireless connectivity for day-to-day operations, secure Wi-Fi is a business imperative. One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect the employees, partners and guests who rely on your Wi-Fi network is with WatchGuard’s Trusted Wireless Environment.
The WatchGuard solution is a framework for implementing comprehensive security capabilities that have been verified to detect and prevent the most common threats to Wi-Fi networks. In addition to providing automatic protection from known threats, the solution boosts security by restricting users from connecting to unsanctioned access points (APs) and allowing legitimate external APs to operate within the same airspace.
WatchGuard’s latest Wi-Fi 6 APs are key elements of the solution. The company’s AP130, AP330 and AP430CR APs all support Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3), the latest iteration of the Wi-Fi Alliance’s security certification program. WPA3 features significant security upgrades over previous versions, including stronger password protection, more robust authentication and increased cryptographic strength for both public and private Wi-Fi networks.
WPA3 uses 192-bit encryption, which is a big step up from previous versions that used 64-bit or 128-bit encryption keys. The longer key length offers greater protection against brute-force attacks and is considered so secure that the National Security Agency (NSA) has approved it for protecting top-secret government information. WPA3 also supports Opportunistic Wireless Encryption (OWE), a standard that encrypts every connection between a device and an AP with a unique key without the need for additional credentials. Even if hackers manage to intercept data packets, they won’t be able to decrypt the master key.
Security can be further enhanced by shifting Wi-Fi to the WatchGuard Cloud, where all APs can be monitored and managed from a single pane of glass. This enables deep visibility into the entire wireless network, allowing quick evaluation of AP status, bandwidth consumption and active connections. Moving Wi-Fi to the cloud also enables integration with other essential WatchGuard security solutions such as Endpoint Security, AuthPoint multifactor authentication and Firebox firewall appliances.
Wi-Fi has become such a ubiquitous presence in our lives that we don’t always realize how much we depend on it. Because it drives so many critical business processes, organizations must take steps to ensure connections remain secure and reliable. Contact us to learn more about creating a Trusted Wireless Environment with WatchGuard.