How to use enterprise Wi-Fi security in SMBs

No matter what size your business, using WPA2 security is a good first step to protecting your Wi-Fi network. Don't blow it by using the standard's not-so-secure PSK mode.

wifi assistance
Maurizio Pesce (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

It's become de rigeur to protect wireless networks with Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) security, but many small and even midsize businesses default to using the personal or pre-shared key (PSK) mode of WPA2, rather than its enterprise mode. Despite its name, however, the enterprise mode isn't only for large networks; it has a place in all businesses. Though you might think the simple personal mode is easier to use, the exact opposite can be true if you factor in the ongoing effort required to properly secure the business's network.

The enterprise mode of WPA2 uses 802.1X authentication, which provides an extra layer of security for a network, and is designed much better for business networks than the personal mode is. Though it does initially require more effort and resources to set up — for instance, you'll need a Remote Authentication Dial In User Service (RADIUS) server or service — it doesn't have to be complicated or costly, either for individual organizations or for IT/managed service providers who manage networks for multiple organizations.

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