Why public Wi-Fi hotspots don’t work for executives

When travelling on business internationally, relying on public Wi-Fi access can be problematic and comes with potential security concerns too.

June 3, 2013

When travelling on business, relying on Wi-Fi access can be problematic.

When travelling on business internationally, relying on public Wi-Fi access can be problematic and comes with potential security concerns too. Utilising a PocketWifi device is a far safer way for executives to get online when travelling.

Craig Lowe, execMobile MD, says that the company’s PocketWifi solution is much more secure because the data connection to the device is trusted (password protected) and the SIM card is known to the network.

“Wi-Fi hotspots can be a serious security threat because it’s very easy to spoof a Wi-Fi hotspot’s name, which tricks people into joining the wrong hotspot. The controller of the spoofed hotspot can then access any user name and passwords entered by people into their devices while connected to the hotspot.

“And even if you’re on the right hotspot, you still have to make sure your security levels on your device are up to scratch as you could be port scanned by people on the network looking for vulnerabilities in other machines on the network. Both security threats are something most companies would look to avoid,” he says.

The other disadvantage for executives using a public Wi-Fi when travelling is that Wi-Fi access is not pervasive. For example Wi-Fi may only be available in the hotel lobby and not in the rooms, meaning you may have to end up working in a public place. Alternatively a crowded coffee shop might not be the best place to work on the company budget!

The Wi-Fi network may also be congested if there are a number of people using the service making it very slow to use thereby lowering productivity levels and you may find yourself paying for time spent online and not how much data you use.

PocketWifi makes it easy.

execMobile’s PocketWifi device circumvents these problems because it creates a secure hotspot, protected by a password, to which the business traveler can connect up to five devices to.

“That means if you’re travelling with colleagues or have multiple devices you want to connect to the Internet, you’re able to get online without risking joining a spoofed network and your connection to the Internet is encrypted,” he says.

Lowe says BlackBerry users of the BIS and BES services may find the services are not available with a foreign SIM. However, by connecting the BlackBerry wirelessly to the PocketWifi, all BlackBerry services will continue to work, which is important given that 80 percent of South African corporates run BlackBerry services.

The device also makes things a lot simpler as you simply turn it on and all your devices will automatically connect, enabling you to have Internet access from wherever you are, making it far more convenient than public Wi-Fi.

Given that 38 percent of corporate travelers switch off their smartphones for fear of large data bills, the PocketWifi solution gives a viable data solution and business travelers can now simply set their phones not to roam on data and leave their phones on to receive calls when needed.

PocketWifi may also be a cheaper solution than public Wi-Fi where you can pay per device for access or monthly subscriptions of around R700 for international Wi-Fi hotspot access. More importantly, execMobile data rates offer savings of up to 98 percent on mobile data roaming rates, thereby completely eliminating data roaming “Bill Shock”.

execMobile offers users Giga or Global solutions. The Giga service offer better coverage and rates across 128 countries but require a bundle to be loaded prior to use. The Global service offers “arrive connected” convenience in 74 countries with no administration required. All services are billed at month end for any usage in the month with no fixed monthly costs. No use, no bill.