How to Secure Your Residential Customers’ Home Networks
With so many security, IoT devices and services running on home networks, safeguarding data and minimizing downtime is highly valued. Here’s how to offer homeowners protection against cyberattacks.
Cybercrime has reached epic proportions. Bromium and McGuire estimate that cybercrime generated more than $1.5 trillion in profits in 2018 alone, and this figure is expected to climb as cyberattacks grow increasingly larger and more sophisticated in scope. Factor in the proliferation of IoT devices in residences, and it’s clear that cyber-hacking is a real problem.
With cyberattacks on the rise, the security of your company’s residential customer home networks should be a priority and a standard component of your home protection offering.
This includes the installation of high-quality products with internal safeguards, remote monitoring and remediation, and ongoing customer training and support.
Inform and Educate
First things first: Customer awareness. It’s time to get real about cybercrime. Discuss with your clients the potential risks of an unsecured home network. You already educate them about the importance of properly installed sensors and a backup cellular connection for their alarm systems.
Be sure to also discuss how an unsecured network exposes important financial and personal data to cyberhackers and compromises the performance and privacy of connected smart devices such as surveillance cameras and door locks.
“Back up the scare tactics with legitimate solutions you can provide to minimize exposure and risk,” says Access Networks Chief Sales Officer Bryce Nordstrand. “‘Minimize’ is the key word here, because in the world of home networking fully and completely protected doesn’t exist. There will always be human error. So as a provider of security solutions, it’s important to protect yourself from liability, just as you do with the alarm systems you install.”
Network Security Basics
Your clients may already recognize the importance of changing their passwords periodically, but it’s worth repeating. And, as their “technology expert,” it’s important that you implement standard policies and procedures for your staff to follow and document when setting up, maintaining and monitoring customers’ home networks, suggests Nordstrand.
For example, make it standard procedure to always change the default passwords on the products you install and assign unique passwords to each client. “These are simple steps we can take from an industry perspective that can make a huge difference in the security of home networks,” Nordstrand says.
Advanced Software Solutions
Most off-the-shelf home networking routers offer fairly basic firewall protection that never changes throughout the life of the product. Cyber-risks, however, are constantly evolving, growing increasingly more sophisticated, encompassing and dangerous.
This type of router, therefore, can’t provide the level of protection most homes need. The security protocols and settings of a professional-grade router, on the other hand, undergo constant, daily updates, enabling it to protect the entire home networking system and its connected devices from each new crop of cyberthreats.
“The protection software utilized by routers of this caliber, like the Sophos XG firewall in our Core System, is on the lookout for threats worldwide and update the level of protection automatically,” says Nordstrand. “This technology ensures that the router is always up to date and that your customers’ home networks are well protected against any new threat.”
24/7 Monitoring & Resolution
Despite advances in anti-hacking measures through advanced firewall software, like Sophos XG, attacks can infiltrate the gateway. Remote monitoring of a home network, therefore, becomes a critical second line of defense. Anything that slips by a router’s firewall software can be quickly identified and resolved before damage occurs.
This type of service, which can be outsourced by an IT security provider, can easily be rolled into your recurring revenue model for monitoring of customers’ security systems, suggests Nordstrand.
For example, as part of its Core System package, Access Networks offers an optional Helix monitoring device and service plans. “If there is a red flag, we contact the dealer directly and remediate if possible,” says Nordstrand. “With Sophos XG and Helix working together we can pinpoint issues with a specific product, service or event — often before the homeowners recognize a problem.”
A provider like Access Networks can perform critical maintenance of a home network, just as a central station monitors your customers’ security systems.
Adopting Best Practices
The last line of defense against nefarious activity on a home network is its users, i.e., your customers. Providing them with tools to better understand the degree of criminal activity on networks and best practices they can implement to minimize risk can be a great addition to your security portfolio — and another source of recurring revenue.
Research from Bromium and McGuire indicates that 45% to 50% of all illicit trading of personal information, like credit card and social security numbers, can be traced back to breaches of social media platforms.
So clearly your customers could benefit from learning best practices for maintaining a secure home network. Again, this education can be outsourced by partnering with an IT security awareness company.
“An education platform like KnowBe4, for example, can be offered to your customers as one more element of your home network protection plan,” Nordstrand advises.
Taking a 3-Prong Approach
Implementing a three-prong approach to the protection of your customers’ home networks — advanced firewall, live monitoring and education of best practices — allows you to cover all your bases while adding to your current recurring revenue model.
This comprehensive offering signifies to your customers the importance of network security while giving them options to explore. They can buy into one solution or all three; no matter what they choose to subscribe to, it’s a step toward better home protection of customers’ financial resources, personal data and devices on their home network.
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