When the FBI appealed to home and SMB users to reboot their routers to help prevent the spread of virulent malware VPN Filter, the worldwide media shared the news via ink, Internet and airwaves. Typically, however, assaults on WiFi, routers and the billions of worldwide Internet of Things devices don't get the full law enforcement treatment and consumers may live in comfortable ignorance.
I'd wager a good percentage of residential subscribers still did not turn off, then on, their routers. After all, about 40% of respondents to one survey did not upgrade their software.
They're not alone. Even enterprises with internal IT departments downplay IoT security risks. Only 13% of organizations believe IoT botnets will be a major threat to their company this year, a Radware study found.
It's imperative that as more people rely on more IoT devices -- most likely from a consolidated group of vendors thanks to mergers and acquisitions over time -- residential subscribers recognize the value of managed security services, physical and connected. Striking terror into prospects isn't the answer but education is key, and sharing examples of unauthorized people opening smart locks, of the many instances of hacked "nanny cams," and the possibilities of privacy breaches may be helpful.
Bundled up for protection
SMB and home subscribers may be cord cutting and unbundling, but combining the physical security of surveillance systems and the virtual security of traditional anti-virus, anti-malware, automatic upgrades and cloud-based backup should be a sensible solution for many.
Service providers, many of which already have gigabit speed available but scarcely tapped, certainly have the up and down capacity to handle customer security requirements. With many operators moving into cloud services, they've filled data center needs, too.
Now, some customers would require truck rolls. Hand-holding pays off, however, several regional service providers have told me.
Burlington Telecom, for example, was almost out of business before it focused all its resources on customer experience, said Stephen Barraclough, general manager at the "highly profitable" municipal provider that's in the process of being sold to a private company. (Look for a future profile on BT in BBWN.)
"We invested in customer service. People say, 'How can you afford to roll a truck if someone can't afford to change a battery in their remote?' " he said. "We don't offer promotions. We just focus on treating people like human beings."
Putting together a cohesive solution that provides subscribers with more physical and online security certainly is a way to build an ongoing revenue stream and a true relationship based on trust.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.