WiFi is No Longer an Amenity

When you visit a business, chances are you look to see if they offer guest WiFi. After all, connectivity is no longer an amenity, but a necessity. Offering guest WiFi has become an expectation for many customers and clients. This is particularly true for businesses in the hospitality, retail, and service sectors. With the rise of remote work and the need for seamless online access, the need for dependable WiFi is greater than ever before.

Of course, offering guest WiFi comes with its own set of pros and cons. On one hand, it can help to attract and retain customers, increase foot traffic, and even prevent negative reviews. On the other hand, it can also be a drain on bandwidth, a security risk, and potentially time-consuming to manage.

Before deciding on guest WiFi for your business, consider the pros and cons to make an informed choice. Let’s take a close look at the benefits and risks of offering guest WiFi and the best practices for setting up and managing guest WiFi at your business.

Benefits of Offering WiFi

Providing free WiFi to your customers can make a significant impact on the success of your business. Offering guest WiFi has several benefits that not only elevate customer experience but also boost your brand’s visibility and reputation.
Here are some of the top benefits of guest WiFi:

Improves Customer Satisfaction

It feels great to be able to access the internet while enjoying a cup of coffee at your favorite cafe or waiting in a queue at a store. Providing guest WiFi means that your customers can browse the web, check their emails, or catch up with work on the go. This adds a level of convenience that customers value and increases their overall satisfaction with your service.

Free WiFi Encourages Customers to Stay Longer

Guest WiFi offers your customers a source of entertainment and an opportunity to relax and unwind. They can stream videos, read articles, or connect with friends and family on social media. This keeps them interested and makes them stay longer, leading to more money for your business.

WiFi Lets Customers to Engage with Your Brand

While waiting for their orders to be fulfilled, customers can use your guest WiFi to explore your website or social media pages. This gives them an opportunity to engage with your brand and learn more about your products or services, effectively promoting your business for free.

Positions Your Business as Tech-Forward

By providing WiFi, you show that your business is embracing technology to better serve your customers. This makes your business look modern and attracts tech-savvy customers who value digital amenities.

Potential Risks and Challenges of Guest WiFi

Guest WiFi can be a great asset to any business, but it can also come with its own set of risks and challenges. Here are some of the risks and challenges you should keep in mind:

  • Network slowdowns: Sharing your WiFi with guests can put a strain on your primary business network, causing it to slow down or even crash altogether. This can negatively impact the productivity and efficiency of your employees, as well as the customer experience.
  • IT expertise required: Setting up a guest WiFi network isn’t as simple as just plugging in a router and giving out the password. It requires a certain level of IT expertise to properly configure the network and manage the bandwidth. If you lack this knowledge, you may end up with a poorly optimized network that is prone to technical issues.
  • Possibility of getting hacked: If your guest WiFi network isn’t properly secured, it can make your entire company network vulnerable to cyber attacks. This can put your sensitive data and confidential information at risk, potentially leading to a major breach and significant financial loss.

While there are a number of potential risks with guest WiFi, having the right precautions and measures in place can minimize these risks and reap the benefits of offering this amenity to your customers.

Best Practices for Secured and Managed Guest WiFi

If you are ready to move forward with guest WiFi at your business, it’s crucial to have it set up and managed properly to mitigate risk. Here are several best practices to keep in mind:

Create a Guest Network

A separate public network with guest controls is a fundamental feature of a secured guest WiFi network. It allows you to distinguish guests’ traffic from your internal network, limiting possible cyber threats that could exploit weakly-protected guest devices to access your systems. Secure guest WiFi reduces the risks of unauthorized access, data theft, and fraud.

Require a Password or Legal Waiver

Your guest WiFi should have a distinct network name and password. To control guest access to the internet, you can have them agree to the network rules by using a login portal and agreeing to a legal waiver.

Monitor and Limit Bandwidth Usage

Monitoring bandwidth usage will help ensure that heavy usage by one user does not cause internet speed issues for others. Having a bandwidth monitor will help you understand your usage trends, determine the capacity, and ensure that speed and user experience are not impacted.

Protect Sensitive Resources

Secured and managed guest WiFi should limit access to sensitive internal resources such as financial data, customer databases, or servers. These resources should not be accessible to everyone, especially guests. Make sure you configure your network wireless settings properly and block any unauthorized activity.

Regularly Update Password and Settings

Ensure that you change your guest network password and settings regularly to keep them confidential. Hackers can quickly gain unauthorized access, view, and misuse the old settings, resulting in business losses. 

Make Sure Your Primary Network Remains Private and Secure

Securing your primary network should be a top priority. Ensure that you set up security measures such as firewalls, VPNs, and encryption. Having a separate guest WiFi network helps reduce the risks of unauthorized access to your private network.

Work with an IT Professional

Working with an IT professional to set up a secured and managed guest WiFi network is vital. With their expertise and experience, they can help you design and execute a customized solution tailored to your unique requirements. This means that you can save time and effort, free up valuable resources, and ensure that your network remains up-to-date and protected against security threats in the long run.

Guest WiFi Installation and Protection with Everound

Setting up guest WiFi rightly can seem daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our team of IT professionals has the expertise to handle the setup and installation of guest WiFi. Why leave your business open to risk by doing it yourself?

Every business has unique needs and client expectations, and your guest WiFi setup should reflect that. Contact us today to discover how we can make this happen. Let us focus on your IT, so you can focus on your business.

Big companies almost always have an information technology department. The IT team not only helps the organization with troubleshooting errors and issues but also provides long-term planning and overall business support and strategic planning.

If you’re a small business owner, though, chances are you do not have an IT department. So how do you manage your information technology to keep your business running smoothly? Do you need an IT department for your small business? And when do you hire someone to take on the IT functions? Before you hire an IT manager, it’s important to understand the role of an IT department, the financial investment in hiring, and when to scale up the IT team as your business grows.

Role of the IT Department

The IT department is typically known as the team that “fixes things.” When a computer crashes, the printer has an error, or someone forgets their password, they call the IT guys. In reality, though, an IT department does much more than troubleshooting (although they do that, too).

The IT department is a critical component in overall business success. The team has three areas of concern – governance of a company’s technological systems, maintenance of IT infrastructure, and monitoring and improving the functionality of all systems.

 

Governance of Technological Systems

IT governance is the ‘big picture’ of how IT integrates into the overall business. It examines all the ways IT can provide a return-on-investment for a business owner and its stakeholders. For example, if a business goal is to increase customer service response times, the choice of software to meet that goal would fall under IT governance. IT governance ensures businesses have appropriate decision-making processes and controls in place so that the interests of all stakeholders are balanced.

IT governance is essentially a set of policies and procedures designed to align IT functions with overall business strategy and success. Having a formal set of standards in place helps to maximize value, set IT strategy, reduce risk, and measure performance.

Maintenance of IT Infrastructure

Most businesses understand this function of an IT department – maintaining the IT infrastructure. This includes many of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ tasks such as:

  • Software and hardware maintenance for physical and virtual environments
  • Network administration
  • Data and storage upkeep including cloud systems
  • Management of virtual and remote assets
  • Implementation and maintenance of wireless and wired access
  • Email management
  • Cybersecurity programming

Monitoring and Improving System Functionality

IT departments just don’t “set it and forget it” when it comes to IT infrastructure. The IT department continually monitors and improves functionality to minimize loss and maximize return. Using tools, employee feedback, and documentation, the IT department refines and improves the current systems.

 

Financial Investment to Start an IT Department

 

Small businesses can hire an in-house IT professional if they have the financial stability and resources to grow their staff. The financial investment varies widely depending on the type of IT professional needed to support the business. According to Indeed.com, the average salaries of the most common IT professionals are:

  • Computer Support Technician: $33,000
  • Computer Support Specialist: $34,000
  • IT Support Specialist: $41,500
  • IT Technician: $74,400
  • Computer Systems Analyst: $76,000
  • Systems Administrator: $79,000
  • IT Manager: $85,000
  • Director of Information Technology: $120,000

The cost of hiring an IT professional extends beyond the salary. According to the Society of Human Resources Management, the average cost of hiring a new employee can exceed $4,000.

Scaling IT as Your Business Grows

For any business, having the right people in place can make all the difference in the success of the organization. How do you know when it’s the right time to add an IT team? What works for some businesses may not work for others, so it’s important to first assess your situation to determine when – and if – you should hire. If you own a small business, ask yourself:

  • Does someone at my organization take on IT tasks in addition to their regular workload?
  • Do I need to support a remote work environment?
  • Am I at risk for a cyber threat? Do I have sensitive information that could be hacked?
  • Do I have applications or computer programs that require support? Is this managed by a vendor?
  • Does my business model rely primarily on e-commerce?

If you answered yes to these questions, you should consider adding IT support to your small business. But what if you cannot afford to add a full-time team member to your staff? The good news is you can get the IT support you need through Managed IT Services.

Managed IT Services for Small Businesses

Many small business owners are operating on tight budgets and cannot financially support an in-house IT team. Managed IT Services is a way to get the IT support you need that works with your budget and goals.

Managed IT Services allows business owners to delegate their ongoing information technology processes to a third-party company like Everound that specializes in the IT industry. For a fraction of the cost of hiring an IT professional, Managed IT Services improves overall organizational efficiency and productivity while also reducing operating expenses.

As a Managed IT Services provider, Everound offers IT support including:

  • Help Desk
  • Network and Server Administration
  • Network Monitoring
  • Hardware and Software Installation and Configuration
  • Computer Patching and Software Updates
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery
  • Software Customization
  • After Hours Support

If you own a small business and are ready to add IT support in a cost-efficient way, reach out today to discuss how we can help. We can work with your budget to support you and your IT needs. Let us focus on your IT so you can focus on your business.