If, like most businesses today, you utilize a wireless network to increase employee productivity, it’s important that your company’s bottom line not be jeopardized by inadequate wireless security. Besides protecting your physical equipment from being stolen in the first place by solidly securing your access points and the devices themselves, consider these five tips for creating a multi-layered approach to safeguarding your wireless network from unauthorized users or hackers.

1. Secure WLAN With WPA2 Encryption

Today’s technology makes protecting your WLAN simpler than ever by using WPA2. The most secure setup for your business is one that utilizes a complex password and limits or filters the MAC address. It’s possible with WPA2 to choose a password of up to 63 characters long, but generally one that is at least 25 characters is sufficient.

2. Establish a Guest Network

Even small private companies can benefit by providing wireless access to contractors, outside associates or other clients. Handing out the company’s static password, however, is not secure and could leave you vulnerable to hacking and data theft. A safer alternative is to set up a separate network under another SSID with its own password, which should be changed frequently.

3. Change Password and Passphrase

Discourage hackers by immediately changing the default password when setting up your router for the first time. As mentioned, choose a complicated alphanumeric password at least 25 characters in length containing upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers. Also, be sure to change the network’s default name to something not easily discerned. Don’t use your company’s name, phone number of other identifying information that is readily available.

4. Involve Employees in Your Company’s Security Policy

Establish a wireless security policy that encourages your employees to be vigilant in protecting the company’s network. Educate them on issues such as security, privacy, passwords and problems that could arise from emails and their attachments. If your company allows remote access, be sure employees know how to safely connect to the network from outside the office.

5. Safeguard Against Wireless Threats

Stay on top of what is happening in your airspace and avoid harm from such threats as rogue (unauthorized) or misconfigured access points, or even a hacker out in the parking lot, by installing wireless intelligent protection switching (IPS).

For further reading, the FCC offers more information on wireless security and this article explains the new challenges for WPA2 encryption.