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Coronavirus and the New At-Home Workforce We Must Secure

Posted by John Komer on Mar 17, 2020 6:10:09 PM

Last November, I was in Los Angeles speaking before a group of Tech Data partners on the topic of cybersecurity. As part of my discussion, I indicated that over the next 24 months, working remote will increase by 40 percent, accelerating the need for businesses -and employees- to ensure their wireless home networks are secure in order to keep corporate networks safe. I have seen many authors discussing how to secure files, etc., but we need to look at the home network itself. In less than 90 days after returning from speaking to our partners in Los Angeles, this issue took on new significance.

Virtually overnight, the global explosion of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has elevated the immediacy of ensuring the security of home wireless networks as increasing numbers of employees are being asked to work remotely from their homes. During this challenging time, it is crucial for Tech Data partners to assist their customers in making sure their home networks are secure.

Over the last several years, there has been an increase in hackers targeting home networks employing the same (or similar) threat vectors used on corporate networks. At the time of the Target breach, several years back, hackers used the company's HVAC systems and smart buildings to gain access to the company's corporate network and compromise their POS systems. 70 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen.

In an earlier blog post - “You, Me and the IoT…How Secure Are We?”, I discussed how hackers even used a beverage machine as a pivot point within a corporation's network to gain broader access and steal data.

Home networks have similar components. Computers connect within the home using a LAN (local area network) supported wirelessly using IoT-enabled devices such as Internet-connected TVs, refrigerators, gaming devices, etc. all of which connect the home network to the Internet There are many targets that hackers can use to deliver malware to the home network that pivot and compromise the corporate or work computer.

Similar protections should be used with remote employees as this trend becomes more the norm. We can help our corporate customers deploy anti-virus solutions like firewalls, with monitoring to secure their environments through their devices (including home computers, their home wireless and smart home IoT systems). Using multi-factor authentication and deploying endpoint solutions with firewalls can help make the employee's network part of the companies and part of their security policies; enforced for work at-home users. These security solutions have been in place for corporate mobile phone users for several years now.

As VARS we need to look at offering unique solutions to this problem that will only grow over time as corporations shift to support more work at home users.

Contact Securityservces@techdata.com for assistance to develop security solutions for the work at home users’ networks.

About the Author

John Komer has enjoyed a long career in the technology industry. Prior to joining Tech Data as a solutions practice consultant, he has spent the last 25 years dedicated to cybersecurity. John has enjoyed technical roles involving voice and data networks, video, data center, and security technologies, designing, and installing solutions for customers. John has held roles as a system engineer, sales account manager, global account manager and founder of a security consulting company for cybersecurity after the 9/11 WTC attacks to help the Department of Homeland Security. John is involved in many security technology groups giving presentations and helping drive vendor involvement in these groups.


Tags: COVID-19, Work From Home, Wireless Network Security, Coronavirus, Home Network Security, At-Home Workforce, Social Distancing Remote Employees