The Top 5 Best Practices for Securing Your Wi-Fi in a Corrections Environment
Here at GUARDIAN RFID, we pride ourselves on being the global leader in inmate management and tracking systems. We are dedicated to providing corrections professionals with the hardware and software needed to help make their correctional facility safer, smarter, and more aware. We work with agencies of every size and need, including many facilities that may not have Wi-Fi networks within their facility. Let’s explain the use of Wi-Fi and whether or not it's required when purchasing GUARDIAN RFID.
In short, it is not required to have Wi-Fi in order to implement GUARDIAN RFID. GUARDIAN RFID can function entirely without Wi-Fi, communicating exclusively over physical wired network connections. As our SPARTANs are only able to communicate while docked in their charging cradles without Wi-Fi, the opportunity for them to upload their collected data and download new information is much more limited, which is why we do highly recommend having Wi-Fi coverage within the facility. There doesn’t necessarily need to be wall-to-wall coverage throughout the facility but having coverage in the areas where staff most frequently work will maximize the software effectiveness.
GUARDIAN RFID does not sell or install wireless networks, but we’re more than happy to help determine the best locations for access points within your facility and share our other networking best practices. Whether your agency is installing a new Wi-Fi system or you have an existing network in place, it’s important to make sure the system is configured properly and the proper security is in place. It's important to protect your sensitive information and keep unauthorized individuals off of your network. Here are our recommendations for the TOP 5 BEST PRACTICES for securing your Wi-Fi network in a corrections environment.
1. Segment Your Networks
Many places separate their production networks from their guest networks, and for good reason. These networks serve different functions, access different systems, and have different security needs. When you start adding other technologies into your facility, evaluate your network setup. If your new equipment doesn’t need to interact with any of the existing systems, it may make sense to put it on a network all to its own.
2. Change Default Names and Passwords
All of your routers and access points came with a default username and password when they shipped from the factory, but these should be changed immediately. Leaving the default usernames and passwords in place allows users to easily spoof or fake those same credentials to gain user or even administrator level access to those systems.
3. Enable Encryption
Guest networks are super convenient if you want to check your email or send a quick message from your local coffee shop, but your production networks aren’t for everyone. It’s important to secure your network access by choosing a strong encryption protocol combined with a good password. The few extra minutes it will take you to put this in place when setting up your network will save you hours of headache later.
4. Disable SSID Broadcasting
By default, most routers and access points broadcast the network identifier making it easier for devices to connect. While this does make it easier for your devices to connect, you are also broadcasting a target that could be attacked by outsiders. Disabling your SSID makes your network invisible to all except the devices you have configured to access it.
5. MAC Authentication
Within your computer, phone, or other device, there is a unique MAC address. Think of this like an electronic fingerprint for the device. With MAC authentication, not only do users need the correct username and password to access your network, but they also need to connect from an approved registered device. This prevents any non-approved or personal devices from being added to the network by your users.
GUARDIAN RFID aims to digitally transform every correctional facility in the country, providing the tools they need to successfully automate their care, custody, and control mission set. We hope our top five best practices for securing a Wi-Fi network provide some insight and can be of use to your facility. If you’re ready for a demo or are interested in our products, implementation, pricing, or anything else, our team members are here to help and ready to answer any questions. Please reach out to us here or call us at 1-855-777-7343.