19th September 2014
Are you connected when it comes to Free Wi-Fi in Chichester and beyond?

How will free Wi-Fi impact your business?

The Switch2IT team cannot help but notice lots of chatter about the forthcoming availability of free Wi-Fi in West Sussex. How  healthy is this freebie for your business? It could be detrimental if you fail to make sure you connect your devices with IT security in mind…

It was reported in the Chichester Observer last month that internet connectivity company Conxserv are taking it upon themselves to make free Wi-Fi available in most public places within Chichester’s city walls from 15th September.

This will make Chichester, West Sussex, one of the first cities in the South East to offer free wireless internet. The idea behind this city-wide rollout is to attract more people to the city and, in turn, boost the local economy.

A business strategy already popular in London, this sounds like a positive step forward for companies based in Chichester. But how much advice will be given to the people of Chichester about how to connect securely to the free Wi-Fi provided?

 It is OK to use free Wi-Fi as long as you connect securely

Despite what you may have been advised in the past, a connection with a Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) password does not provide adequate protection from hackers and such like. Have you read our Top Tips to avoid IT security risks associated with free Wi-Fi?

The most important point to remember when connecting to free Wi-Fi on the move is to first make the connection and then immediately open a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection to your business. This is essentially a private network within a public network where your device can send and receive data with the same security as being directly connected to your business network.

Having said this, it seems that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) does not consider the importance of a VPN connection under their Wi-Fi security advice – interesting!

Just because the ICO has bypassed the value of VPN and mainstream IT service providers do not suggest it as a standard IT security strategy, does not mean that you should let your business swing in the balance. If there is one thing that Switch2IT advises to UK businesses again and again it is that you need to think outside of the box and raise a few questions in order to survive.

Anyway, humour us; stop and think when you connect to free Wi-Fi in Chichester and elsewhere in the South East as free Wi-Fi is gradually introduced to towns and cities in Hampshire and Surrey. You never know who or what is prowling around and waiting for a whiff of an unprotected network or just what private data about your employees and clients could be gleaned. Your business’ IT security could very easily become a game of cat and mouse as a result of free Wi-Fi so take care not to give Tom the hacker any advantage.

Switch2IT offers secure communications services

As well as being IT security experts, we are to help with all of your telecommunication needs including telephone, wireless and broadband installation as well as IT networking. We will get your business up and running in just one visit and offer full technical support going forward.

Contact us today for advice on the best IT communications solutions for your business, including internet connectivity, and more information on our managed service contracts which offer fixed monthly payments and remote IT support for you and your employees. 

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