WatchGuard, a provider
of unified threat management solutions that combines firewall and Virtual Private Network security services to protect business networks, has announced the WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud, claiming to be a secure, scalable, and feature-rich Wi-Fi management platform. Along with this launch, the Seattle-based company also introduced a new family of high-performance, cloud-ready access points.
The wireless solution delivers wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) technology, when both are deployed together. WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud connects and protects SMBs and distributed enterprises with fully automated wireless threat prevention and enterprise-grade interactive engagement and analytics features.
With this solution, the Wi-Fi hotspots turns into consumer research, analytics, and push marketing tools. It allows businesses to engage with hotspot users in different ways that are tailored to the modern methods people use to communicate in their daily lives. For instance, an interactive splash page can be presented with various options for logging into the Wi-Fi hotspot using Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular social media networks, as well as SMS text and self-registration via guestbook. Each method captures different hotspot user information, which is valuable to marketing teams for follow up engagement and promotion.
Ryan Orsi, Director, Product Management, WatchGuard stated, “Information like where and how long customers tend to linger in a particular location can offer key business insights into metrics like storefront conversion: how many people walked past outside versus coming into the store. This can be extremely valuable to businesses looking to optimize their advertising, loyalty programs, floor layouts, and more.”
“Typically, businesses are forced to piecemeal separate engagement, analytics, and SMS push marketing tools together from different vendors, which leads to management complexity and higher costs. WatchGuard’s Wi-Fi Cloud wraps research, analytics, and SMS push marketing tools into one license and one easy to use cloud-based portal.”
Unlike traditional wireless network management solutions that fail to stop rogue devices from connecting to their networks or block threats like wireless denial of service attacks, WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud allows IT professionals to deliver high-quality wireless performance, while ensuring consistent security policies across all connected devices, even at remote locations.
WatchGuard claims to offers a broad portfolio of network security products aimed at protecting businesses from cyber threats. When paired with WatchGuard’s Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances, the Wi-Fi Cloud passes all traffic generated by Wi-Fi clients through the UTM appliance for additional security protection against today’s latest malware, viruses, Trojans, ransomware, known malicious websites, and more. Additionally, when paired with a UTM appliance, the Wi-Fi traffic generated by the Wi-Fi Cloud’s access points are displayed inside Dimension, WatchGuard’s centralized visibility platform aimed at providing IT administrators with a consolidated view of all network activity in a single pane of glass.
WatchGuard’s WIPS also provides customers with:
- Secure Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy Enforcement – automatically identifies on-network smart devices and blocks unapproved connections.
- Accurate Location Tracking – pinpoints the location of connected wireless devices or sources of interference, enabling administrators to quickly take action.
- Flexible Deployment – deployable in configurations to meet any security need. It can be installed as an overlay on top of existing WLAN infrastructure or as a standalone enforcement system for Wi-Fi prohibited zones.
Data is collected via passive scans, active scans and user connections in and around Wi-Fi networks. It is then analyzed and conceptualized to provide insight into traffic patterns, behavior, and demographics of Wi-Fi users, in addition to generate a visual map of foot traffic patterns on a floor plan. Any Wi-Fi device with an 802.11 radio enabled broadcasts automatic probe requests that are captured and stored, along with the triangulated physical location of the client. Associated user demographics are captured when users choose to connect to a Wi-Fi Cloud-powered SSID and select an authentication method such as login with Facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn.
“We refer to ‘Wi-Fi analytics’ as the power of our back-end system to sift through this ocean of data and present key insights that are valuable to businesses. These insights allow businesses capitalize on data about the age, gender, and brand loyalty of hotspot users within their different locations,” added Orsi.