Business on the move: how to secure 4G and public Wi-Fi connections

A closer look at the business of Wi Fi

Working on the move is now commonplace thanks to advanced mobile digital technology. Being able to connect to the internet anywhere and at any time has become an essential business service.

The plethora of Wi-Fi hotspots offer fast and cheap access. However, for business users, security must at all times be of paramount importance, which is why many mobile business users are moving away from using Wi-Fi to the range of 4G access services that are now available.

F-Secure states: "Public Wi-Fi simply wasn't built with 21st century security demands in mind. When you use public Wi-Fi without any added security measures, you leak data about yourself from your device."

So if public Wi-Fi is simply too insecure for business users, what's the solution?

As the mobile phone networks have improved, speeds have moved past what can be expected with an average Wi-Fi connection, making 4G the new connection channel of choice for fast and secure internet access on the move.

Advances in mobile connectivity offer speeds of up to 60 megabits per second in some places, which is far greater than can be expected with the average Wi-Fi connection, especially if you are trying to use a particularly busy Wi-Fi hotspot.

The speed and convenience that 4G connections have delivered to business users in particular has meant their popularity has rocketed – so using 4G securely is now a priority. There are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure your 4G connection is always safe and secure:

1. Install mobile security applications

When using mobile devices with 4G always ensure you have adequate protection installed. McAfee Mobile Security is a good example and is available for Android and iOS devices.

2. Take care with automatic updates

If you are in the habit of simply downloading each new update you are offered for your 4G devices, start to assess where these updates are actually coming from. Ensure each update is legitimate and from your 4G service provider, and isn't malware disguised as an update. Android 4.3 removed automatic updates, so take a look at the version your devices are running.

3. Use a mobile VPN (Virtual Private Network)

To ensure that sensitive data is protected as it moves to and from your mobile devices, setting up a VPN is an ideal solution. Both Android and iOS support the use of VPNs. Windows and OS X also have a range of VPNs to choose from.

4. Use strong passwords

The password may still be the bane of many users' lives, but they are still the main way that Wi-Fi login is enabled. Develop a strong password regime and don't use the same password for all your logins. There are many password managers to choose from – we've rounded up the best of them in this article.

5. Forget the Wi-Fi network

Try and get into the habit of connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot for the shortest possible time. When you have finished ensure your device forgets the network. This prevents your device becoming vulnerable when you are not using it yourself.

It is now a commercial imperative to ensure that all the devices that you use over a 4G network are protected by the latest anti-malware applications, and that every live connection you make to the internet is done over a secure channel encrypted to combat any eaves dropping. When working on the move, security should be your top priority.