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Blog / 2011 / May / Not using protection gets news (again)
May 10, 2011
Not using protection gets news (again)
by Oliver Kent   |   0 COMMENTS

Imagine a team of agents busting in your front door with assault weapons pointed and arresting you all because you didn't use protection. This happened recently to a New York man and I am talking about a lack of WiFi protection. This is no urban legend and it is not just for the home owner. Think about the thousands of businesses who want to offer WiFi to their customers and just head to the store to buy a wireless router and set it up for anyone to use. Business WiFi needs special protection and the cautionary tale of the New Yorker should be your wake up call.


The biggest problem with having an open network is that you have no idea who will be using it. How do you tell the good guys from the bad guys? To be honest, you can't. So as with anything else, you make efforts to protect both your business and your customers. The first step is to establish what is acceptable when using WiFi that you provide. Any WiFi provider worth their salt will have the ability to force an acceptable use policy that people must accept prior to using the WiFi service. This at least shows that there are some steps made to set up ground rules for use on your wireless network. In the example of the New York man, a neighbor downloaded child pornography off of his wireless router and it was traced back to his house. So you would at least want people to know that using the WiFi for anything illegal is not agreeable to you.


Content filtering is another added protection that can be set up if you choose. Filtering goes beyond just pornography. Typically there are ways to block sites with malware, hate sites and other topics that you may not want floating around on a screen in your place of business. Such services are relatively inexpensive and in some cases they are provided at no charge for those who would like the added feature.


Account creation is yet another feature that has multiple benefits. By asking customers to create a free account for the WiFi service you can remove the anonymity of the client. This helps you on several levels: 1st, you can collect some basic info on the individual to maybe reach them later on with incentives to return sooner. 2nd, you can tell where they are coming from in some cases. If you grab their zip code at registration, you can tell where they are coming from and that helps with targeting certain neighborhoods with direct mail marketing. 3rd, believe it or not it helps with customer loyalty. Once they have set up an account, it is good for WiFi access each time they come back. They know that at anytime they can return to your place and have a good and safe online experience.


Offering free WiFi is proven to put butts in seats. If this were not the case you would not see Starbucks and McDonald's giving it away for free throughout the United States. There is a way to do it safely and securely without adding liability to the menu. Be smart before you start; Use protection!

filed under News