Should I be Offering Guest WiFi? 4 Surprising Benefits for Your Business
Whether it's for employees, students, guests or customers, having a secure and reliable wireless internet connection is becoming more and more a standard of quality to which a building or enterprise is measured.
Users are taking to apps like Yelp and Google to rate not only the quality of their shrimp pad thai, but their wireless experience, a metric which factors heavily into our decision making nowadays. After all, would you rather get coffee at a cute café with no Guest WiFi, or stop by the tried and true chain that offers sub-par java but a lightning fast connection?
To stay ahead of the curve, many in the retail, education and healthcare fields are opting for secure guest WiFi. Offering Guest WiFi and implementing role-based access control throughout your organization can improve the quality and performance of your space in several important ways.
Designing a secure wireless network is a complicated process that involves a series of hardware, software and internet service to deliver the fast and reliable WiFi that we have all come to rely on. Introducing Guest WiFi access can not only be a crowd-pleaser, but also a great way to provide added security to your network.
With guest, you create multi-tier login which allows you to separate internal and guest traffic lanes and assign different permissions to different users and devices. This process, called Role Based Access Control, is one of the most important network security design features you can implement and can also help you more easily manage and monitor who is accessing your network and how.
Additionally, you can dictate how different users and devices utilize your network, so guests can peruse social media but not access private company files. Whether it's an office, retail or educational environment, offering guest services can not only attract business but provide more security for your daily users.
Gather user analytics
Another benefit of creating a Guest WiFi network is the potential to measure traffic and collect important user analytics. Nearly everyone uses a device that requires a wireless connection. In fact, recent studies show that the average American may be using up to 4 wifi-enabled devices a day. You can use that as an opportunity to gain some valuable information about your users.
With SecurEdge cloud manager, you can see what devices are using the network and how, right from your dashboard. See in live time how the network is performing, what devices are using the most bandwidth, what applications are being used and even how long devices are connecting to your network. This can give you a clearer picture of how long guests are staying in your space and what they are doing while they are there.
After a few weeks of gathering data, you may review your dashboard and see that Sunday brunch has the most users logging on, or that application usage is particularly light before 10am and maybe you need less employees working during those times. This insight can not only help you cater better to your guests but also ultimately save you money.
One of the most important questions when designing your wireless internet structure is in fact, how many devices you need to support. While this may seem less important than the number of users, it can actually have a very large impact if underestimated. While not the most difficult problem to fix, it is one that will be noticeable.
If you're experiencing slow wifi speeds or less-than-prime performance from your wireless network now or since growing your business or organization, improper structuring could be to blame. Luckily the SecurEdge Team will work with you to identify those problems and get a more accurate number of the devices needing support on your network.
Recently, the IoT tech boom has introduced thousands of new devices like wearables and environmental controls. If your wireless network is more than 3 years old, it likely wasn't designed with IoT in mind. Adding a Guest WiFi network will help close the gap and provide added security and management of all the new devices coming on to your network. This will also provide faster WiFi speeds, as your network won't be bogged down by applications competing for the same RF.
Personalize your guest experience
If you have WiFi, they will come. It's not enough these days to offer a product or service, you must make it custom and personalized to your guests or users. Maybe it's all the avocado toast, but customers today are more discerning than ever and seek out not just products or services but experiences.
One way to create a great user experience, is to provide free, fast and easy-to-access WiFi. Everyone has seen the "Free WiFi" window stickers, and we all know that little feeling of excitement you get when you see it. Even though wireless network is becoming more and more a utility and less of a commodity, it still feels like you're getting something extra when you are offered free WiFi access.
Doing so can be tricky however, as we've discussed how network speeds and performance can be negatively impacted by high traffic volume. While providing a Secure Guest Access is the first step in implementing guest wifi, the second is arguably creating a personalized Captive Portal.
Captive Portal is the interface that users see when logging into your network for the first time. It will ask for some basic information, usually a name and email, on a web page. With Secure Guest Access, this web page, or "splash page", is customizable, meaning you can greet your users with your brand, a friendly message, a promotion or anything else you would like them to see.
Not only does this give users a more personalized experience, but it helps garner brand recognition and gives your company or campus a nice polished look. It also allows you to block devices from gaining access to your network without the proper authentication credentials. New guest accounts can quickly be provisioned, as well as accessed and Guest Access can be provided without major reconfiguration of guest computers, meaning no phone calls to IT.
When properly implemented, a Guest Access system improves customer satisfaction and enhances the productivity of guests and IT staff alike. Do you need secure wireless guest access at your school, hospital, or campus? Contact us to learn more about how we can design and configure secure wireless access for your guests
Brittany is the Marketing Coordinator for SecurEdge. If they had a company softball team she would make the T Shirts and play Shortstop.