The first question that many people ask when they enter your establishment tends to be “what is your Wi-Fi password?” With mobile technology, we are constantly connected, and Wi-Fi is one of the primary mediums for that connection.

The Weakest Link

Wi-Fi is one of the most vital links to ensure that we are staying connected; and, unfortunately, it is also one of the weakest. Of all of the issues that mobile devices face, 50 percent of those failures are due to issues with the Wi-Fi network, according to an article by Spectralink, leader of the enterprise mobility network. Most every company relies on Wi-Fi for day-to-day operations and only 10 percent of companies adequately invest in it. That means that 90 percent of companies are not investing suitable funds to optimize their Wi-Fi performance. For these reasons, Wi-Fi is both an enabler and an inhibitor of information. Wi-Fi can pose security risks and can also slow down production. The research found that 50-100 minutes of work are lost “every time a mobile enabled workflow fails a mobile worker.”

The Spectralink report details the five main reasons for Wi-Fi failure, stating:

  1. “Poorly designed or improperly maintained networks
  2. Incomplete or absent policies and procedures on Wi-Fi access
  3. Network capabilities poorly aligned with user expectations
  4. Not enough or too many access points (APS) in the network
  5. Physical obstructions and frequency congestion”

These are all concerns for any business, but especially in health care. There is not time to have a 50- to 100-minute wait times for the network to come back online. Wi-Fi also opens companies up to security vulnerabilities that were not present before. Lisa Phifer, owner of Core Competence, a consulting firm focused on business use of emerging network and security technologies outlines several top Wi-Fi threats, like data capture and rogue AP’s, in her article, Top Ten Wi-Fi Security Threats.

Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities

Wi-Fi’s vulnerabilities lead to many leaks and system holes. All Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to hacking, Mathy Vanhoef, a security expert at Belgian university KU Leuven, said. He has since published his findings along with videos of how a Wi-Fi hack can be performed. Wi-Fi hacks can be used to steal sensitive information, and any device that is connected to Wi-Fi is at risk for being attacked.

Along with being able to infiltrate any system connected to Wi-Fi, hackers are now also able to insert and manipulate current data. Although these systems are vulnerable to hackers, the hackers have to be within close range of the intended target, The Guardian said.

Securing Wi-Fi Networks

The Federal Trade Commission offers some advice for making Wi-Fi networks more secure. They suggest that companies learn more about how their networks work, use encryption, limit employee access, secure routers, and implement security practices to protect their networks.

For more advice on not only how to secure your wireless network, but also how to secure your sensitive data, start using HIPAAgps today.