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Ensign Communications are a Friendly WiFi Approved Provider

By Gregg Meade on 14th Jul 2017

Friendly WiFi Accreditation

Ensign Communications are proud to announce our affiliation and partnership with Friendly WiFi, the government-initiated scheme to make public WiFi a ‘safe space’ for young children.

Risk awareness

By now we should all be very much aware of the potential hazards associated with accessing public WiFi networks. Although convenient, a large percentage of public WiFi networks are unsecured and present not only a privacy risk but set no boundaries as to what types of content can be viewed or downloaded.

Staying safe on public WiFi is a topic that we have blogged about previously, and our recent partnership with the Friendly WiFi initiative – along with many other WiFi providers and resellers - is yet another positive step towards safer, user-friendly WiFi for everyone. 

Valuable Public WiFi safety lessons

Although the Friendly WiFi certification was developed with a focus on young people we can certainly all learn some valuable lesson with regards to our actions on open public wireless networks. 

Psychological studies have found we take more risks when there is a perception of safety - it was found that workers wearing back supports attempted to lift heavier items and children wearing protective sports equipment tended to play ‘rougher’.  It appears our online behaviour is subject to this same perilous corollary.   

What is Friendly WiFi?

Mike Davies, Consultant at Friendly WiFi told safeinternet.org.uk, “The ‘Friendly WiFi’ scheme has been designed and developed in collaboration with the Registered Digital Institute and The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS). 

The initiative is supported by Government and the UK’s main WiFi providers after concerns were raised by leading child safety experts, that children and young people were being put at risk of viewing and accessing inappropriate material when using public WiFi. 

Friendly WiFi has been created to ensure that businesses who offer their customers public WiFi and who wish to join the scheme to become a ‘Friendly WiFi’ venue, have had their WiFi services verified by an independent body to verify that the correct filters are in place to block anyone from accessing inappropriate material.”

Friendly WiFi for all types of venues 

For your retail, hotel, restaurant, pub, bar, and any other public venue, the Friendly WiFi certification sends a signal to customers and guests that you have considered their safety and have taken the necessary steps to sanitise their online experience.

Displaying the Friendly WiFi symbol indicates that your public-facing wireless has been designed and built to a specific standard of web-filtration in order to remove pornography and webpages included on the Internet Watch Foundation’s database and flagged for indecent imagery or links to such content. 

Public WiFi; Social Responsibility 

Offering complimentary or paid access to public WiFi is a great way to establish better relationships with customers whilst increasing dwell times and brand loyalty, so adding a layer of safety and security is the logical next step. Increasing trust in this way can be beneficial to both your business and your patrons. 

A recent study by Symantec (Norton WiFi Risk Report) found that, although many of the people surveyed were very much aware of the risks associated with public WiFi, they were not shrewd or proactive in taking steps to protect themselves. 

The same study found that 42% of those surveyed would wait mere minutes before logging-on to café, pub, bar or restaurant WiFi – this is patently great news for those in the hospitality sector, with WiFi Analytics and location-based marketing services becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Combing these two incredibly revealing statistics paints an attractive picture for businesses to provide both a robust and highly secure guest wireless experience.

Friendly WiFi for Schools

With WiFi now an integral part of modern education, student online safety is paramount at all levels of schooling. 

Schools play a pivotal role in promoting safe online activities as not only do they shoulder a duty-of-care to ensure that their WiFi is suitably secure, but they are also tasked with increasing awareness among young people of the growing dangers of our omnipresent online world. 

With a Friendly WiFi certification, students, staff and parents can rest-assured that the connectivity provided is not only safe within the classroom whilst using school-owned devices, but also in common areas on personal devices. 

For more information on school online safety policy and practice, take a look at the South West Grid for Learning’s (SWGfL) annual review or check out the article below:  

http://swgfl.org.uk/magazine/Bursting-the-Bubble-Why-Online-Safety-Education-ne 

The best of friends 

We hope that our partnership and affiliation with Friendly WiFi will grow with time and we will be working closely on more content to help our customers, and business-owners in general, to improve their approach to WiFi safety.   

Find out more about Friendly WiFi or Contact Us.  

What Next?

For advice on designing or upgrading your WiFi network and associated systems, to the deployment of security solutions like Next Generation Firewalls and Endpoint Network Security, please contact Ensign Communications for a chat with our technical team.

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