IT Untangled: 3 Questions to Ask for Faster (and Safer) Office WiFi
Ever asked yourself this question: “What are people doing on my Wifi?”
I think about this at home with my kids all the time, but have you asked it about your business environment? Do you have a good idea of what's going on with your network, including wireless activities?
I imagine you’re like me and Pinocchio – We all dream of being free of the things that bind us, and this definitely includes the wires keeping us at our desks.
As a business owner, manager, or decision maker this may lead to the conclusion that wireless equals productivity. But this, unfortunately, doesn't always prove to be the case.
Keep in mind how the original version of Pinocchio ends up… well, I'll let you look into that yourself.
For now, let's look at some questions to ask yourself when expanding your company's wireless technologies.
1. Do you have a policy for what can (and can’t) be done on the Internet in your workplace?
Unfortunately, many companies have no policies governing Internet usage. And often times, those that do, created them before introducing wireless to their work environment.
If you don’t have an Internet usage policy or Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) in place, it's best to develop and distribute one as soon as possible.
Remember, policies exist to help protect your company and your employees equally.
Depending on your situation, you may also want to regulate which physical environments you allow mobile devices to be used in. Some companies have strict controls in certain areas, and for good reason.
Nobody wants to see an employee get hurt because they were texting or streaming movies in an active warehouse environment. It’s too easy to misjudge the trajectory of the forklift, or accidentally compromise the production environment – one miss step and "Oops!" there goes 100 gallons of enchilada sauce.
Since reaching into our pocket to see that quick text message or check the most recent social postings happens almost reactively for many of us, these policies help reduce or eliminate the temptation.
2. Do you have a way of monitoring or controlling the content being accessed and delivered on your WiFi?
Often innocently, employers have left their wireless networks open. This allows employees to access risky or inappropriate content, even if by accident.
This type of exposure could also put the company at risk – not only does it open the door to viruses hiding in websites, but it could also open the door for legal troubles.
The good news is that it’s totally possible to monitor and limit the websites your Internet users are visiting. Make sure your wireless network is being monitored and controlled at least as closely as your internal network, if not more so.
3. Do you know how many devices are connecting to your WiFi and how it may be affecting performance?
It’s not uncommon to see individuals with laptops, tablets, and mobile phones – all of which are intended to be used on wireless networks. Likewise, it’s not uncommon to see individuals using multiple devices at the same time.
Wireless networks usually share bandwidth with the internal network. This becomes especially relevant in the growing world of hybrid environments, where major and minor applications (such as your ERP or accounting software) are either moving to the cloud or leveraging cloud components. That means that nearly EVERYTHING is going through the Internet!
So, we have more devices connecting wirelessly, and applications using more bandwidth than in the past. The result for many companies?
Again, with policies and monitoring, you can see exactly what’s going on at any time. It also helps you understand if you really need to buy more bandwidth, or if your slow Internet is the result of streaming Pandora.
Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy, with no strings to hold him down. And in many facets of our professional lives, we end up feeling the same.
Wireless networks can indeed be instrumental in a company's ability to meet its goals. They can even play into the overall satisfaction of employees within the organization.
Unfortunately, like the world outside our doors, there are many wonderful and sometimes risky things that can be found (or might find us). With careful planning, guidance, and the right tools, adding or expanding your wireless network can be all the things Pinocchio imagined his life without strings would be.
Have more questions? We're happy to chat anytime. Give us a call at 800-481-4369.
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IT Untangled aims to provide clarity on IT topics for business people. This weekly blog series will explain and discuss the complex world of IT, in words you understand.
About Brian Modrak
Brian Modrak, Orange Team Service Manager for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., began his IT career in 1996 as a government technology specialist. He joined the team in 2011 as our self-proclaimed Reactive Services Manager with a Proactive Mindset. He says, “I believe in reacting to a situation, but know I haven’t done my job until I have transitioned a problem through to a long-term and proactive solution.” He now oversees all aspects of service delivery for this team, and guides them to deliver an excellent customer experience with every interaction.