OK, I have a upper management guy insisting we provide free WIFI?

By bielinskit ·
We have an extensive wireless network over a very large facility. I do have a fdractional T just sitting around doing nothing but I don't like the idea of providing WIFI with out WEP KEYs. He always point to organizations like coffee shops that provide free wifi with no access key registration. There are certainly legalities involved or I could provide my whole street with wifi. My question is How do these organizations get away with wide open internet access. Also my organization is faith based so I dont want to end up on the FBI most dumbest list when some convicted sexual offender starts using our free internet or terrorists for that matter. Wheres the accontability?

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You don't use WEP do you?

by Slayer_ In reply to OK, I have a upper manage ...

Wasn't WEP cracked a long time ago? I thought using WEP was almost equivalent to having an open wifi. WEP keeps the good people out and lets the bad people in.

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Free Wifi

by NexS In reply to OK, I have a upper manage ...

Coffee shops etc provide free wireless internet to their customers - definitely used to increase the customer base.
I don't think there's legalities in doing this. If so, I can't imagine the problems, especially considering the wireless network that can be joined would be attached to an internet service that is 'restricted'(much like what the Education/Schools have for staff and students).

Now if your company wants to provide free internet to people, just ensure that the business network, the one with all your sensitive data, is completely disjointed from the 'free' service.

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The places that provide free WiFi

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to OK, I have a upper manage ...

Have to do several things depending on their ISP and Local Laws.

The first thing is that if you read your ISP Agreement you restrict that connection to the people who are paying for it. So if it's a Business Account only that business is supposed to use it and the ISP extracts more money from the Company if they allow others to use it.

You also need a reasonably substantial Web Server to restrict sites and prevent free reign to the Net by any user who wants to connect. This generally speaking depending on Local Legislation also means that the Net Connections Owner the person/company who pays for it is responsible for what is accessed. So if one of the staff was to access Kiddy Porn or a Bomb Making Site then the Connections Owner is responsible for that Data that is accessed.

Hence in the event of Child Abuse Investigations the Company may be held Legally Libel for some Sites Visited and they need to be able to point the investigators tot he Computer which was used to download/access that site and who has a User Account on that Particular System, so that the Company and all it's staff do not end up as Potential Child Molesters. I assume that the same goes for terrorist Related Activities and so on across the board but again this all depends on your Local Laws.

Depending on how secure the network needs to be it's defiantly not a good idea to be relying on WEP but it is better than nothing but not much and quite often gives a false sense of Security.

But if you have the Budget for this I would start off with a separate ISP Login Account to be open to whoever connected to a Dedicated Web Server ideally running one of the Unix Based Systems for slightly better security.

You'll just have to get the budget to do this and while the Initial costs are not too bad the upkeep of regularly needing to monitor the Web Server and Blocking/Unblocking sites will most likely require it's own Full Time Staff Member. I generally find that when requests like this are made just making a case for how much it's going to cost kills off the request but if that doesn't you have to live with the demands of Management. The only good thing is that they get to pay for it.


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All of this talk....

by Unkn0wn F0rces In reply to The places that provide f ...

and no one cares to ask....what kind of business is it?

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I just assumed it was a pornography company...

by Slayer_ In reply to All of this talk....

And management wants a method of providing free samples to the town.

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You might want to check

by oldbaritone In reply to OK, I have a upper manage ...

third-party providers who contract with hotels and coffee shops. See what they charge for the service, and present a proposal to management about the costs. They handle the accountability for you, for a fee.

Any time you open your network to the general public, there are a myriad of issues, particularly security.

You said your organization was "faith-based" so I would expect there are many areas of the internet that management would not consider appropriate for the general public to access via your organization.

Please excuse the vernacular, but does management really want any pimp, drug-dealer, thief, con-artist, pervert and any criminal to have unrestricted, unescorted access to the organization's entire I.T. system?

Sure, they probably want to help those groups change their ways, but I'll bet that they don't just open all of the doors and windows and leave the buildings completely open to anyone who wanders by, unescorted with full access to everything.

And I'll bet that organization-owned vehicles are not just left parked on the street, with the keys in the ignition, for any passer-by to help themselves.

So why would they want to do the same thing technologically with wi-fi?

It sounds to me like an education process is in order. I can't believe that the "upper management guy" understands the implications of his request.

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