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Mythbusters: All Data Encryption is the Same, Right?

Many small businesses opt for wireless networks; they provide the connection you need and are easier and less expensive to set up than a wired network. But that convenience can cost your company in compromised security and lost data if the network isn’t appropriately encrypted.small_business, wireless, wireless network, WLAN, security

Although most wireless LAN (WLAN) equipment comes with many settings preconfigured, encryption isn’t one of them. In this latest installment of Mythbusters, we explain why the encryption protocol you choose—Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)—makes a difference.

All WLAN gear includes some form of encryption. WEP is included in most wireless networking devices; however, it is considered a weaker encryption protocol and is easily compromised by cyber attackers. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely on it for securing your small business LAN.

Instead, opt for one of the stronger security protocols—WPA or WPA2, which are supported by most wireless networking gear. Both WPA and WPA2 use the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which is intended to provide greater encryption.

One thing to note: Each WLAN device must be set to the same encryption protocol. If you have older devices that aren’t compatible with WPA or WPA2, you’ll need to upgrade them to support the stronger protocols.

Finally, if you have employees that work remotely, you’ll want to make sure they’re encrypting their wireless home networks using WPA or WPA2.

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