Total Telecom caught up with Plume Design’s Head of Consumer Solutions & Integration, Adam Hotchkiss, about the responsibility of smart home security and why operators must step up

The IoT is expanding at an alarming rate, with new devices hitting the market almost every day. But, with little in the way of standardisation, this presents a growing network security challenge, especially when it comes to the home.
A major issue here is that it still remains unclear exactly who is responsible for home network security.
“The consumer doesn’t have a clear understanding about whose responsibility it is to protect their devices – is it the manufacturer who sold them the device, the service provider, or is it up to them to find a solution and implement it?” explained Plume’s Head of Consumer Solutions & Integration, Adam Hotchkiss.

While the manufacturer of a connected device may seem the obvious choice here, the reality is that they cannot be relied upon to keep up with ever evolving security threats that connected homes will face in the coming years as the IoT blooms.
“We can’t rely on the manufacturer to keep everything up to date, such as changes to their code in order to make things totally secure. These vulnerabilities will need a system that can adapt over time,” said Hotchkiss.
The same is true for the consumers themselves, who cannot be expected to keep abreast of the latest developments in home security – especially when it is unclear where to even source this vital information.
“Half the battle is working out who is responsible for protecting the network – once you understand that, you know where to go to educate yourself,” said Hotchkiss.
Ultimately, for Plume, security should come from the network layer, with it being the responsibility of the service provider to ensure overarching security for all of their customer’s connected devices.
“The more we can make it something of a right for the consumer to have their home protected, which we believe is through the service provider, them that decision [around security] will be much easier for them,” he said.
Of course, with ever more diverse devices being added to our home networks and increasingly varied security threats, service providers will need a highly adaptable system if they want to keep their customers secure. Hotchkiss suggests that a cloud security platform is the perfect solution in this regard, being flexible and easy to upgrade to deal with new threats.
“As time goes on, new information becomes available to us that will allow us to expand our offering, and we can use that information to simply update the security offering,” said Hotchkiss. “The goal here is to continuously add more layers of security to make it more difficult for attacks to take place.”
Equally, this platform allows for the integration of AI and machine learning, allowing it to learn and quickly adapt to new threats based on aggregated data.
“We can keep up with all these different devices coming onto the market because we see more devices than anybody in the world on our cloud system. Then, based upon those hundreds of millions of devices that we see, we’re able to learn the behaviour of each device […],” explained Hotchkiss. “When we see enough of those devices we can build a profile related to them and that’s where the AI and machine learning come in, allowing them to self-teach what is a normal behaviour on the device and what isn’t.”
The user can then be informed about any anomalies and the device itself can be quarantined to make sure it cannot affect anything else on the network.
But while Plume argues that network security should ultimately be the responsibility of the service provider, it is also important that the consumer themselves has access and ownership to their network data. Using a mobile app interface that allows the user to see their network and any threats being blocked is an important step in increasing consumer knowledge of home security. It is too much to ask that the consumer becomes knowledgeable on all the relevant security threats, but being able to see them and know they are being averted is important, helping to build trust between the customer and their service provider.
Homes are becoming more connected every day and operators must move quickly to take ownership of the security space.
You can watch the full interview with Plume’s Adam Hotchkiss from the link above. For more information about Plume and their home security solutions, click here.
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