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We are all ingraining ourselves into an Internet of Things (IoT) world that, for the most part, benefits everyone – improving efficiency and keeping us connected to the devices and people that are important to us.

With the advancement of technology, almost every aspect of our lives generates data and sends us infromation over the internet. Smartwatches track our steps, smart doorbells keep us safe, smartphones know our location, video streaming services know what we like to watch and make recommendations, social media puts ads and posts in front of us that it knows we will like, our coffee pots even know when we would like our coffee made in the morning.

IoT is emerging as a powerful tool in the business world as well. IoT devices record and transfer data, and this can be applied to monitor important processes, give us new insights, boost efficiency, and allow companies to make more informed decisions. They can tell you what is really happening, rather then what you assume is happening.

 

So, what really is the Internet of Things?

IoT is a system of interrelated, internet-connected devices that can collect and transfer data over a wireless network. By combining these connected devices with automated systems, you can gather information, analyse it and draw conclusions to inform decisions better or take action to help someone with a particular task or learn from a process.

 

How can IoT help my business?

Here at Sensible, we have had great success in improving our client’s efficiency, security, and profitability with the correct implementation of IoT devices. Having the ability to monitor, track, and analyse important data easily has given our clients the visibility they needed to make better-informed decisions and take productive action to improve their businesses.

Whether it’s as standard as finding a better way for employees to clock in and out of work, or as niche as monitoring and controlling the temperatures of food shipments while they were in route to their destinations, IoT devices can help. We can help you by making recommendations and vetting devices that could make an impact.

 

How do I know what IoT devices to get?

IoT devices are great, but you don’t want to overdo it. When working with a technology professional like ourselves, we can help pinpoint areas of your business that could be optimised with the help of IoT devices, and then research the best model of that device for your business.

There is a lot to consider when adding any device to your business’s network:

1. Is it compatible with your existing devices?
We help find a quality device that will function within your existing environment and won’t require a ton of additional work to get it to “talk” with your existing systems.

2. What security threats will it pose?
Unsecure devices that are connected to your network can create massive holes in your cybersecurity. Many IoT devices are insecure out-of-the-box and should be reconfigured properly immediately. Recently, a WiFi-enabled coffee pot was proven hackable and exposed the rest of the corporate network to a ransomware attack. We make sure that any devices that will be connected to your network have been configured to the security standards necessary to keep your information protected.

3. Does your network have the strength to support additional devices?
The more devices you add to your network, the more strain you put on it. There is a breaking point where your network connection will slow and no longer be reliable. Depending on how many devices you add, you may need to upgrade your network capacity. We can help you evaluate your existing network and determine what it would be able to support.

 

I’m ready to talk about taking a more Sensible approach to our IT, who do I talk to?

We would be delighted to talk further and discuss how we can help you implement IoT devices, or simply examine your current IT approach and offer advice for improvement. You can book a call with our CEO, Katherine Spanner, via the button below.

 

You have probably heard about the latest vulnerability that affects most modern wi-fi networks.

The possible exploit is called KRACK.

The vulnerability is related to a discovered flaw in the WPA and WPA2 encryption protocols used by most modern wi-fi access points.

WPA and WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) are also currently used as a security layer so only authorised devices can connect to your w-fi network

In simple terms, an attacker can adopt a man-in-the-middle position on your Wi-Fi network. They could force access points and client devices to reinstall a different encryption key.The KRACK attack then allows an attacker to intercept wi-fi traffic,.

A criminal could then not only decrypt network traffic from a victim's device on a WPA/2 network, but also hijack connections. In some cases inject malware or ransomware into unencrypted websites you are trying to visit (those not using SSL). Users could also be redirected to malicious websites.

What does this mean for you?

  1. Don’t panic. No, you do not need to turn off your Wi-Fi network. There have been no known attacks taking advantage of this vulnerability - yet.
  2. An attack would have to be very sophisticated using special hardware on-site. This limits the potential for concern.
  3. Disable the 802.11r protocol on your access point as it currently has a particular sort of vulnerability.
  4. Implement Best Practices.
    1. Your IT Support provider should already be installing the right firmware updates from your vendors as they become available. You must update both sides of the wi-fi connection - your "client" device (smartphone, laptop, tv, etc.) and the Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) you are connecting to.
      1. Note some clients Android 6 and Linux devices are more susceptible than others.
    2. Schedule a regular audit of your Wi-Fi network to ensure best practices are being applied.
    3. Enable Rogue Detection on your Access Points. This is a feature which detects and blocks devices pretending to be authorised.
    4. Separate Your Business wired network and your Wireless network.
    5. Implement RADIUS technology for more robust security authentication on your corporate network.
  5. Finally, until you are updated, only use sites and services that use HTTPS as they encrypt data from your web browser to the server and back.

 

Wi-Fi has become a staple for millions of people, but one of the main problems that Wi-Fi users face is weak signal strength. Weak signal strength can seriously hamper your productivity since it results in slow connection speeds and a smaller range of coverage.

However, there are several things you can easily do to increase your signal strength and throughput:

1. Move your Wireless Router or Access Point to a Central Location

Distance is a major consideration when it comes to Wi-Fi. The signal weakens the farther away you are from the wireless router or access point.

Remember, WiFi signals hate water. They're also not too crazy about metal, mirrors, glass, brick, insulation, and human bodies. Keep your wi-fi equipment away from as many obstacles as possible.

The distance between the router and connecting devices, as well as the number of walls and floors in between, make a big difference.

In order to get even coverage throughout your home or office, you should always choose a central, high location for your Wi-Fi equipment - out in the open.

Mobile apps like Assia's Cloudcheck or Amped Wireless's Wi-Fi Analytics Tool let you walk through your office and identify dead spots, so you can figure out the best places to put your WiFi devices.

2. Change the Channel

Wireless routers and access points broadcast Wi-Fi on a specific channel. If you live in a crowded area with many Wi-Fi networks, like an apartment complex, then signals from other wireless routers or access points could interfere with the signal from your own.

To avoid this problem, use a less crowded channel. You can change the channel by accessing your wireless router's settings through a connected device. Many modern wireless routers and access points even come with software to help you determine the optimal channel to get the most out of your wireless network.

Mobile apps like WiEye for Android let you view all the wireless nets nearby to see what channels they're on. (Sorry, iPhone fans — Apple has banished WiFi scanners from the iTunes Store; you'll have to rely on a desktop app like WiFi Scanner for Mac or WiFi Channel Scanner for Windows.)

3. Turn on Security

Someone could be stealing your Wi-fi signal. They could be saturating your throughput so you miss out.

Lock them out with better security. Set up a password on your wi-fi router so that only authorised users/devices can connect to your wi-fi signal.

Ensure you are using the latest WPA/WPA2 security algorithm options that keep hackers from breaking into your network

Also, don't publicise your wi-fi Network Name to strangers. Configure your router and uncheck "Enable SSID Broadcast." You can still access your network, of course, but it won't be discoverable by those not in the know.

4. Check for interference from a nearby cordless device

Baby monitors, older cordless phones, microwave ovens and wireless speakers are just some of the common household gadgets that also use the most common 2.4Ghz wi-fi frequency. These can interfere with the wireless signal from your router.

Deal with the conflict by moving the router away from these devices and ensuring that no devices that could potentially interfere lie in a straight line between your router and the gadget you're trying to get online with.

5. Update the Firmware

Wireless routers and access points — much like the devices you connect to them — run on embedded, permanent software. This type of software is called firmware.

Updating your device's firmware can improve its performance. To do this, you need to visit the website of your router's manufacturer. There, you can download the router's latest firmware. You can upload the updated firmware into the router by using a connected device.

In addition to keeping the firmware on your wireless router or access point up-to-date, you also need to regularly update the firmware on your mobile device's wireless adapter.

6. Add Additional Hardware

You can also boost the signal by using additional equipment. External antennae and wireless range extenders can increase the range of coverage for your wireless router or access point. You can also use a wireless repeater to send the signal even farther.

If you are still having trouble, you should consider buying a newer wireless router or access point, since newer models have larger ranges and faster signal speeds.

7. Use wires when possible.

As fast as the newest WiFi standard is, a wireless connection still isn't as fast or reliable as a standard wired one. When possible, connect bandwidth-hungry devices that stay in one location directly to your router via networking cable, and save the wireless connections for the stuff that moves around.

Wi-fi devices are designed for only a small number of connections. Limit this number and the stronger speed you get out of it

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