One of the main concerns of a member joining a coworking space is data security in a workspace with many people accessing the same connection.
As an operator, it’s a fine line between not limiting or restricting internet access while ensuring the security of members and guests.
We often hear of data breaches, viruses and other hacks affecting companies of all sizes. A coworking space can be especially susceptible to such attacks if it has a basic wireless connection accessed with a single password that is left unchanged. With a mix of constant member churn, one-day visitors as well as established corporations, such networks can be more vulnerable than those of a traditional office.
However, the solution isn’t as simple as just consistently changing the network password. Not only is that extremely frustrating to members who work in the space daily, but anyone who knows the password can now log in even when they’re near or around your space.
The most important step to protecting members is using a coworking management platform that assigns individual usernames and passwords for each user. Not only does staff get their own login, visitors aren’t using the member’s network, and each company has their own virtual local area network (VLAN). A VLAN is essentially a way to segment the network for separate users. This access is revoked when they terminate their agreement to use the coworking space or lapse in membership.
Basic network security best practices still apply. Setting up antivirus software, firewalls and malware protection can go a long way in defending the network against attacks. Encourage users to take the basic step of shutting laptop screens when not engaged and not leaving personal items unattended at any time.
Another step to ensuring network security is to implement two-factor authorization (2FA) on your accounts. 2FA requires all users to login with a second authorization in order to validate their identity and decrease the likelihood of a successful attack. This is especially useful when a guest wants to log in on multiple devices simultaneously.
Learning from WeWork
The importance of Wi-Fi security in coworking spaces has become even more prevalent recently in light of WeWork’s massive breach. A CNET investigation showed that an “astronomical amount” of private data was left exposed via egregious security holes. They gathered emails, financial records, client databases and even individual personal member information. This is a real lesson for coworking operators of all sizes. Open networks simply risk information leaking easily to countless opportunistic hackers.
While WeWork offers packages of heightened security features, such as private VLANs and private SSID, they are pricey add-ons to their standard membership package. Using a VPN (virtual private network) when logging onto a public or open Wi-Fi could help individual members increase their security even further, but for those who heavily download or stream on the network, it likely will reduce internet speeds.
While coworking members may not be initially concerned with the type of software that is securing their information in the background, knowing that their personal and business data is safe is always a top priority, even if it is unquestioned.
To learn more about how Yardi Kube works to ensure the security of coworking space network connections, please click the link below.