As workers headed home over six months ago, few companies were prepared for what would follow. Cyberattacks have soared, WiFi connectivity weakened, and businesses simply aren’t operating like they should be.
The IT protections offered by the office simply aren’t there anymore in most cases. If employers and employees alike want to maximize their security, they need to bring some technology into the home.
The problems caused by a newly remote workforce call for advanced technological solutions like Plume, a smart home services pioneer co-founded by Fahri Diner. For Diner, working from home should bring all of the benefits of office life with it, without incurring new problems along the way.
That sounds good, but what exactly does it mean? As Diner describes it, it’s safe, reliable access to the internet, seamlessly integrated with the bleeding edge of smart home tech. And it all starts with a next-generation Wi-Fi optimization solution: Plume Adaptive WiFi.
To deal with dead zones—areas without proper WiFi connections—in the home, many people have opted for mesh WiFi systems, networks that disseminate connectivity from a few key points throughout the home. In Diner’s mind, however, this solution doesn’t go nearly far enough.
“Mesh is just a starting point,” Diner explains in a recent Cheddar interview. “We don’t really see ourselves as competing with mesh players.”
In order to get a handle on the difference between mesh WiFi and Adaptive WiFi, think of it in terms of building a highway system. Mesh networks integrate links individually—in other words, building one road at a time without thinking about the optimal way to connect them. Adaptive WiFi, on the other hand, understands your household’s structure and traffic patterns, using this information to build the perfect WiFi highway for you. A highway built haphazardly, piece-by-piece is not going to work as well as it could, so that’s why Adaptive WiFi works as one cohesive system.
For many people, whole-home WiFi access is more of a luxury than an absolute necessity. There is one aspect of Adaptive WiFi, however, that Plume designed specifically with the needs of remote workers in mind: last-mile broadband delivery.
For Diner, this issue is a personal one: “I’ve spent the lion’s share of my professional life working on innovative projects to bring high-speed broadband to people,” Diner writes in a blog post. “The magic that I know happens in the upstream network over tens of thousands of miles disappears in the last few meters—oh come on!”
Some homes, by virtue of their plan, provider, or location, simply don’t get as strong of a signal as others. To help get around this problem, Adaptive WiFi distributes broadband to exactly where it’s being used the most—according to the unique needs of each device and application—ensuring that you’re always getting the amount of signal you need in order to do your work.
With greater connectivity comes greater possibility of infiltration. Adaptive WiFi wouldn’t be what it is if not for another of its key features: intelligent security.
The last thing that IT experts wanted was for workers to suddenly leave the office and go work from places without proper cybersecurity protocols, so imagine their shock when the lockdowns began in March of this year.
No longer are important data points and corporate secrets being sent on secure, in-house networks—they’re coming from workers’ living rooms.
For hackers the world over, it’s like Christmas has come early. Plume IQ data shows that cyberattacks have doubled since lockdowns began, with almost 90% of households reporting at least one blocked attack.
Plume’s advanced cybersecurity carefully observes all broadband activity using AI, so it detects and stops attacks as they happen. By comparing your WiFi signals to enterprise-grade threat intelligence databases, it can determine whether any unusual activity is taking place and immediately put a stop to it. Using sophisticated anomaly detection, Plume’s AI Security can even determine which device has been compromised in real-time and isolate that device such that the threat is fully contained.
While it’s great to have a network that both functions seamlessly and protects you from attack, Diner sees these as only the beginning. The true value of Adaptive WiFi rests in its ability to power the hands-off smart home.
In order for workers to reach office levels of productivity, they need office levels of convenience—that’s where smart devices step in.
Smart devices need a strong, reliable network in order to function properly, but they also can’t become potential points of network vulnerability either. You need a network that can handle both the functionality and the security of a smart home.
In a recent keynote presentation, Diner describes just what a challenge that is. Over 800 million devices are connected to Plume’s OpenSync smart home operating system, covering well over 1,600 brands and facilitating the transmission of 62 petabytes of data per day.
Transitioning to a smart home could overwhelm a traditional WiFi system and expose potential vulnerabilities in the network. Consumers need to know that a smart home is only as good as the network it runs on.
Plume has partnerships with ISPs the world over in order to provide the best possible service to customers. Diner points to his company’s latest partnership with networking equipment provider ADTRAN as a prime example of how Plume works to maximize connectivity for everyone.
The purpose of all cybersecurity is ultimately to ensure data privacy, and Diner points to three principles that demonstrate how Plume treats customer data:
Plume keeps no records of data transmitted through their networks, period. The company even provides VPN pass-throughs for those wanting an additional layer of data security.
Plume doesn’t monetize user data and never will—to do anything else would be to betray customer trust.
Back in April 2019, Plume released a suite of tools that allow users to control the exact relationship that Plume has with their data, ensuring that no one is in the dark with regards to how their data is used.
Work-from-home arrangements demand a new level of network, and Diner’s Plume has stepped into the market to provide one. Plume may not be a household name just yet, but all roads today seem to lead straight towards Adaptive WiFi for remote workers.
Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.