Industry Insights with Ryan Poutre

Business Continuity Management / Disaster Recovery , Critical Infrastructure Security , Endpoint Security

The Value of Secure Wi-Fi in a Unified Security Platform

Four Recommendations Useful for Everyone
The Value of Secure Wi-Fi in a Unified Security Platform

Today, telework and hybrid work models are becoming the norm. In fact, a report from Upwork estimates that 1 in 4 Americans will be working remotely through 2021, and that the number will grow to 28% in the next five years. But there’s a problem – organizations are playing catch-up when it comes to securing these remote connections (whether that be at corporate sites, employee homes, or in public Wi-Fi settings). The threat of unsecured wireless connections is so prevalent that in July the NSA published best practices on how to avoid cyberattacks resulting from compromised or unsecured wireless connections.

See Also: Live Webinar | Special Delivery! Defending and Investigating Advanced Intrusions on Secure Email Gateways

While aimed at government workers, the four recommendations are useful for everyone. First, avoid connecting to unreliable networks. If that’s not possible, use corporate access hotspots with strong encryption. Second, use a trusted VPN connection that encrypts data transmissions (public Wi-Fi connections are not usually encrypted). Third, only connect to websites that use HTTPS protocols. And finally, disable Bluetooth when working in public spaces.

Unfortunately, for many small and midsized organizations struggling to manage the complexities of network security, Wi-Fi security is an added headache. Yet Wi-Fi can often be the weakest link in the security chain, with costly consequences when it breaks. Just look at the T.J. Maxx breach, which may have cost the organization $1 billion.

As a result, many organizations are looking to consolidate the management of secure Wi-Fi through unified security platforms and creating a booming demand for Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs). According to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets, Wi-Fi-as-a-service is projected to be $8.4 billion market by 2027 (up from $3.4 billion in 2020).

What’s the value of secure Wi-Fi in a unified security platform? Answering this requires seeing the big picture. Most organizations acknowledge the value of Wi-Fi security. But not all understand how simple it can be to manage, which results in poor execution. As threats continue to increase and become more complex, it’s become clear that security is not effective unless done at scale. Traditional solutions can’t provide the clarity and control, comprehensive security, shared knowledge, operational alignment, and automation needed to deal with today’s rapidly changing threat landscape. Centrally managing a variety of security services through a cloud-enabled unified security platform is the future. And the future is now.

Secure Wi-Fi plays a critical role in this scenario, as do layered services like network security, multi-factor authentication and advanced endpoint protections. Doing away with traditional infrastructure for Wi-Fi management, and embracing a cloud platform, speeds and automates service delivery of secure Wi-Fi. IT (or MSPs) can quickly access valuable information such as signal strength coverage, wireless client bandwidth consumption, AP utilization and more. Teams can detect failures and anomalies, and even interrupt device network access. And if organizations have captive portals, they can be easily managed and customized.

WatchGuard’s mission is to help organizations and MSPs modernize and expand their security deliver by offering scalable, unified security platforms. To learn more about Wi-Fi in WatchGuard Cloud, click here.

About the Author

Ryan Poutre

Ryan Poutre

Product Manager, WatchGuard Technologies

Ryan Poutre is the head of the product management team at WatchGuard Technologies. He is responsible for the market ownership of WatchGuards Wi-Fi product line.

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