It wasn’t that long ago that things looked bleak for the world. While we are still grappling with the fallout from the COVID pandemic, vaccines are being rolled out at a fever pitch in the United States and several other parts of the world. There are good reasons to be optimistic for the rest of 2021 and beyond.
It is essential to remember, however, that there will always be new challenges that the company will face. The cybersecurity space will be at the forefront of many of them. As the pandemic raged over the past 18 months, the world faced another kind of contagion: cyber threats. The number of cyber attacks against businesses has increased dramatically over the past year, with reported increases up to 90%.
Cybersecurity remains very much in the headlines today. In the past two months, a ransomware attack on a large pipeline has created gasoline shortages in many cities in the southeast, while another has attacked a meat distributor, causing food prices to rise. . While these two incidents have gained public attention, many ransomware attacks do not gain the same visibility; many organizations sweep such events under the rug to avoid public embarrassment and bad press.
One trend that has led to this increase in cybercrime is the integration of remote working models. While it represents a clean new positive and practical approach for employers and employees, it has simultaneously created new attack vectors for cybercrime in the home.
A company that has mobilized to meet these new challenges in terms of home cybersecurity is Calix. The San Jose-based company has strong relationships with many service providers that operate both nationally and on a small scale. The company’s wide range of solutions help service providers simplify their business and motivate their subscribers with offerings that add value, peace of mind and value for money.
In a podcast I recently hosted, Megan Powell of Calix, Director of Product Marketing, presented Calix’s value proposition in home network security. Powell has observed that its service provider customers are increasingly offering premium value-added services with Calix Wi-Fi equipment to facilitate the best possible coverage and wireless performance. However, despite the preliminary success of these initiatives, many service providers struggle to deliver high-caliber home network security solutions due to the dynamic nature of the problem and the expertise required to create the best solutions.
Calix believes privacy should be the top priority in homes today. Powell notes, “Bad actors don’t have to pick your lock or drill your door to get into your house… they can enter through your smart devices. Indeed, this challenge is important; many consumers don’t realize that an unsecured connected device in your home is the same as leaving your front door unlocked and open.
Given this dynamic, Calix’s approach to home security focuses on home Wi-Fi network security rather than device-level security. Let’s face it: with the introduction of smart speakers, doorbells, thermostats, and many other devices, the typical home Wi-Fi network is now more complex and difficult to manage than ever. As a result, today’s home networks have become increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks; sometimes unbeknownst to users until it is too late. Phishing scams, sophisticated iterations of malware, and cross-site scripting attacks pose huge cyber risks to the home network.
Calix’s response to the cybersecurity threat centers on the residential gateway. After all, by integrating security firmware on the residential gateway, all personal and smart devices on the network are protected against external threats. This approach is particularly pragmatic because most consumers who use their own routers rarely update firmware. Router manufacturers don’t make it easy for customers, with their often expensive support calls. Calix’s “whole home” protection strategy simplifies security by eliminating the need for additional devices to manage.
Another benefit that Calix offers to subscribers is a collection of intuitive and managed Wi-Fi smartphone apps: CommandIQ, ExperienceIQ and ProtectIQ. These apps effectively manage controls on a per-device basis, monitoring security activities and setting parental controls to protect children from harmful and inappropriate content.
Some closing thoughts
While recent ransomware attacks have generated a lot of publicity, few consumers have taken the appropriate steps to secure their home network. With typical households reporting an average of 12 connected devices in their home today (a number expected to rise to 20 by 2025), the analogy to the unlocked front door is not a hyperbole.
While more technically sophisticated users may prefer stand-alone VPNs and individually purchased routers to manage the security of their home network, most traditional users will choose service providers who can manage this activity in a centralized and integrated fashion. Device-level parental controls are a highly desirable usage model that families want and need. The simple “worry-free” convenience of having home network security managed by a service provider has enormous appeal with many mainstream consumers.
Calix is to be applauded for empowering a service provider to do what it does best: deliver home network security solutions that eliminate anxiety and promote end-user security. As cybersecurity risks rise to seemingly unprecedented levels, Calix is raising the bar very high.
Disclosure: My company, Moor Insights & Strategy, like all research and analysis companies, provides or has provided research, analysis, advice and / or advice to many high-tech companies in the industry. I do not own any participation in the companies mentioned in this column.