As Verizon, Comcast and AT&T change the landscape for broadband access to SOHOs and SMBs, I wish to caution them and you on the level of security provided. I have maintained a secure Wi-Fi at home for years. Prior to Broadvox, I worked from a home office. Given the value of the information I worked with each day, I was careful to maintain an updated Internet firewall, strict guidelines for Internet surfing and a secure Wi-Fi. I used a 28 character WEP key to prevent unauthorized access. Recently, I upgraded my service to AT&T U-verse and while I like the service, I was both surprised and disappointed to see it secured by a ten-digit number. While this might be okay for home usage, it is woefully inadequate for any business. A ten digit key can be hacked in less than a couple of hours. I haven’t investigated whether I can increase the level of security, but if I was using this as a business conduit, I would certainly inquire.
It is important for a business to prevent unauthorized usage or access to its Wi-Fi for a multitude of reasons. When I owned a restaurant and had open Wi-Fi, we discovered a number of people would make use of the access afterhours. I began to suspect that these users did not want their identities known due to improper or potentially illegal use of the Internet and we began turning the free access off when the business closed. Additionally, malware worms can use open access to turn servers into unknowing participants of a denial of service attack on other web sites or Internet services.
Check the level of security offered by your ISP or cable provider. If ten-digits, ask about other options. It will be best for you and your customers.