Whilst reading the attached article on the uses of Public Wi-Fi hotspots, I started thinking about the legalities surrounding the use of data that is otherwise paid for by end users. As a company, 2 Circles provides several large scale Public Wi-Fi services, and the demand is only increasing.

The majority of our SMEs, be they shops, restaurants, office spaces with public waiting areas, salons or garages etc., have an internet connection with a wireless router. Our account managers are forever receiving calls asking for the SSID and password to be changed to make it easier for their clients to connect to the Wi-Fi.  There are 2 things that spring to mind here: Legalities of providing public Wi-Fi and user experience.  You could also argue about protection to your business network is key, for more on that topic please see my previous article, “Are you aware of the security risks that public Wi-Fi pose?”.

Were you aware that it is a legal requirement for businesses that provide a Public Wi-Fi offering to keep a record of all users that connect to the service, along with the sites that they have visited? The information must be stored, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, in a secure location and kept for 12 months.  The information will need to be readily available to the police or security agencies upon request.

If you are providing Public Wi-Fi, there are three main pieces of legislation that you should be aware of;

While the legalities are very important, have you also thought about the user experience that you are offering?  We have all been in a position where you are sat in a café preparing your presentation for the meeting in an hour's time.  Then all of a sudden, the network crashes and you are left with no connection and panicking about how you are going to finish your presentation.  This is usually down to having no management in place on the public Wi-Fi.

An ever increasing need is for Wi-Fi management.  2 Circles is rolling out lots of management devices that cover all of the above legislation and can provide your business with a secure network that is managed by our team, separated from your work environment.  On top of this, it limits the bandwidth to each user, ensuring that you have a great user experience.  You can stop people looking at certain types of web content and... the icing on the cake; you can direct them to your website/Facebook page in the first instance as a free bit of advertising.

Get in touch for an in-depth conversation about your requirements and we will be happy to assist in getting your Wi-Fi legalised.