Ahead of April’s Gigabit Access featuring Networks 4.0 conference, Total Telecom caught up with Paul Palmer, Director Business Development, Consumer BU at F-Secure and get answers to some key industry questions. 

What trends are you seeing developing in the connected device space? 

As per analyst predictions, the number of connected devices has continued to increase at huge pace. Barriers to entry for connecting devices are lower than ever, cheap connectivity and smaller more powerful chips means manufactures of traditional devices in the home are now putting these devices online so that they are able to determine the performance of their devices, so that they can reduce cost, improve support and increase lifetime of their products. This is set to continue.

However, these devices are not designed with security in mind. As a result, criminals are exploiting these devices due to their inherent vulnerabilities for their purposes. These devices are then infected with malware to orchestrate DDoS attacks or other botnet attacks.

We’ve also seen more and more cloud based accounts associated with these devices being hacked due to simple things such as poor password enforcement. Such breaches have increase dramatically and are regularly published in the press and social media. This is set to increase. The downside of this, is that consumer awareness has never been higher, and they are concerned about their security and privacy online, to the extent that they are delaying purchases of connected home devices

Finally, operators are aware of the threats to these devices and are taking the initiative to protect devices in the home as well as protecting consumers through requirements for advanced parental controls and IoT device protection. The represents a huge opportunity for operators to differentiate their offerings to consumers.

How important is security, given that we are allowing technology more closely into our everyday lives?  

Consumers security and privacy have never been more at risk than today. With the advent of connected devices, literally every device is connected to the internet, and all services that consumers use are in some way exposed to the internet whether they are hosted in the cloud or otherwise

Consumers are paying attention to these security issues. In a recent F-Secure survey, nearly half of respondents admitted they’ve chosen not to buy new connected devices due to security and privacy concerns: 46% said they have not purchased a connected device due to security concerns, and 48% said they have not purchased an “intelligent” device due to concerns about the amount of personal data it may leak.* Also 68% of consumers are concerned about security & privacy of IoT devices  

 *Source: F-Secure surveyed 19,200 consumers in January and February of 2014, 2015 and 2018.    

What predictions do you have for the market over the course of the next 12-18 months? 

All home broadband providers will want to have a solution to tackle the security in the connected home in the very near future, so we see a lot of movement already happening in this space and the trend will continue to grow stronger in the following 12-18 months.   

The time is now and it’s up to home broadband providers to bring these security solutions to their customers. According to an F-Secure survey*, 60% of consumers said they would purchase their security and privacy services from their internet service provider. Partnering with a cyber security partner to offer value-added IoT security solutions on top of broadband services is one way a broadband provider can secure their customers’ connected lives, and in doing so, enhance their own brand loyalty and trust.   

 But how does a broadband provider know what to look for in a security partner?  

•        Experience – Are they a known security vendor who has a pedigree in providing security solutions to consumers that provide the best protection? How many years of experience do they have in this market?  Have they been independently audited?

•        Go-to-market – Are they serving the Operators brand or their own? Can they give any support when it comes to launching the service? It is not enough to make it available, it needs to sell. Can they share any best practices?  

•        Do they have other security products for consumers? Ideally, you would want to offer Endpoint protection and smart home security from the same vendor to provide a converged customer experience with unified protection.  

Countless numbers of new connected devices are coming online every single day, and operators and router manufacturers have a tremendous opportunity to help secure those devices. To ensure our partners can tap into this opportunity, we designed the Connected Home Security solution. Not only do we support our partners integrating IoT security features with their chosen router, we also orchestrate a seamless user experience between router security and protecting consumers on the move using our endpoint protection products.

 If you lock your doors at night, you’re probably the kind of person who wants to lock down your internet connection. And a secure router – your key to the connected world – is the simplest way to do it.