Wireless guest access for smaller organizations
People today expect Internet and e-mail access everywhere they go. Even if your business is quite small, it’s likely that your customers, vendors or partners could benefit from network access while they are your guests. Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) assume that providing guest network access is complicated and costly and best left to the large enterprises.
The benefits of guest access
Regardless of the size or profile of your organization, interaction with people outside your business is crucial. So how do we define guest. Well, they can include customers, temporary workers and contractors, trainees, colleagues from a partner business, visiting consultants or faculty, members of joint development teams, conference or seminar participants, representatives of manufacturers or distributors, and vendors or suppliers who want to manage inventory or re-order parts while on-site.
Challenges to deploying wireless guest access
Deploying wireless guest access can present challenges as well as opportunities. The top ones include:
Security, SMBs need to consider what constraints to put on guest access.
Management, What’s the process for granting guest access?
Cost, Do guests require a separate network, with the extra overhead entailed in managing two networks?
Choosing the right solutions
some capabilities for SMBs to consider when deciding how to deploy wireless guest access solutions:
- Comprehensive, multi-layered network security, It is important to consider a security strategy that combines offensive (pre-admission access control) and defensive (post-admission threat management) security capabilities, simultaneously, within the context of a trusted network infrastructure.
- Ease of provisioning, a wireless guest access solution should be able to provision guest access without day-to-day involvement of an IT professional.
- Control and visibility, The right wireless guest access solution will allow granular control of guest traffic over the network and easy visibility into all network activities. SMBs should be able to locate guest devices on demand, configure guest sessions as required and see reports of all guest activities.
- Affordability, Consider not only the equipment costs – of wireless access points, network controllers, management and security software, etc. but also the ongoing management and maintenance expenses.
Establishing wireless guest access is as important for SMBs as for the largest enterprises – and it need not be daunting or expensive. It’s just a matter of choosing networking providers that understand both the challenges and the benefits of wireless guest access from an SMB perspective.