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Public Wireless Networks – Do you know the risks?

WiFi is everywhere these days, at home, at work, even in public areas. Providing WiFi for guests and customers has gone from a luxury to an essential to an expected service.  Many businesses have realised this and now provide free WiFi to their customers and staff although many fail to consider internet security and how to ensure their business is protected.

Public WiFi networks are increasingly available and typically unsecured, meaning that the network is freely open to the general public – without the need for any log ins or passwords. Whilst this may seem like a quick and easy way for customers to get online, it is also leaving many businesses susceptible to security risks.

The question that needs to be asked to business owners is: Is your Guest WiFi legally compliant?

82% of businesses believe that they comply with legislation surrounding their guest WiFi, many believing that adding a password to their WiFi will suffice but in fact only 14% of businesses fully comply with WiFi laws in the UK. 

All legally complaint WiFi must prove that steps have been taken to prevent illegal activity. There are many ways that this can be achieved. The first consideration should be web filtering to ensure that inappropriate content is NOT available on your network.  Pinacl’s CityConnect public WiFi network in York was the first City in the World to obtain the Friendly WiFi accreditation for its robust content filtering – making it safe for users of all ages. 

Another vital component of any WiFi network is the logging of user data. In accordance with EU regulations it is necessary to store certain user data for a minimum of 12 months to ensure that any inappropriate use (e.g. downloading pirate films) can be traced back to a user as oppose to the business providing the WiFi service. This information must be kept and be made available to the police or security agencies if required. The storage of information must be secure and must comply with Data Protection Act. 

With users becoming more and more tech savvy and laws becoming stricter, now is the time for businesses to protect themselves against future threats.

Benefits of using Pinacl as a managed WiFi provider:

  • Pinacl offers end to end provision – not just equipment (Installation, Configuration, Web filtering, Security Governance, Activity Logging).
  • Pinacl offers 24/7 Network monitoring to minimise downtime.
  • Pinacl’s Managed Wireless service is tailored to suit any business need from small independent businesses to large organisations.

Pinacl’s brand name for their Public WiFi networks is CityConnect. CityConnect WiFi networks are designed to provide sufficient bandwidth for a fast and secure user experience.  

For more information on wireless networks visit  our Wireless page.