As more people set up their home offices than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity has been thrust into the spotlight. Research has found that 79% of U.S. households are concerned about cyber-attacks. It’s a legitimate concern. The latest “Zoombombing” hacking of people’s Zoom accounts has put people on edge and highlighted security holes in home networks. 

The value of cybersecurity has become a priority yet a study by CE Pro concluded that 73% of integrators don’t offer cybersecurity services. It’s expected that there will be over 34 billion connected devices by 2025, which is a large target for hackers. Now is the time to educate and train custom integrator employees on cybersecurity.

Plan a cybersecurity strategy for your customers

When developing a cybersecurity plan for your customers, it’s best to keep in mind a few things. 

  1. Have secure device communication: One of the biggest threats small businesses face is a cyber-attack through unsecured communication channels. Encryption software can help mask sensitive data regardless of what device your customer is using.
  2. Create complex passwords and offer a secure way of storing them: Use uppercase, lowercase and special characters. Changing passwords every few months is also recommended. Some people are drawn to choosing passwords that will be easy for them to remember yet these easy passwords are more prone to be compromised.
  3. Make sure your customer has a secure backup system: Hackers use cyber-attacks to extort money out of business owners by holding their data hostage. A cloud-based system will automatically backup files, creating an up-to-date mirror image database in the instance of a cyber-attack.
  4. Restrict access of sensitive information to those who require it: Studies have shown that 32% of cyber-attacks come from former employees. Restricting access to certain files can reduce the risk of sensitive information being stolen.
  5. Choose secure, reliable products: There isn’t a one product solution for cybersecurity. Effective security often requires multiple products working interoperably. Start with the basics. Install anti-virus software that provides advanced threat detection. This is your first defence. Then utilize products that will assess the technology and security tools. This will allow you to see where cybersecurity improvements are needed.

Follow a cybersecurity checklist

To ensure you are following the correct protocols when setting up smart devices for your customers, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has put together a Connected Home Security Checklist Tool. This tool was designed by installers, for installers.The Checklist Tool contains quick reference guides to best practices, a full security checklist, e-mailed reports to you and your customer, as well as the piece of mind you are protecting your customers.

Instead of tackling a cybersecurity strategy alone, reach out to other industry professionals. Internet service providers can help with structured wiring throughout the home. By connecting key smart home security devices to the internet via Ethernet instead, the system will be more secure and more stable. IT professionals can offer guidance and services such as network monitoring.

For a deeper look on how you can get started, a new webinar by CEDIA educates integrators on how to introduce methods and tools to assess cybersecurity threats. Now is the opportunity to offer cybersecurity solutions to your customers.