It’s safe to say that our digital lives have transformed and matured. We are now at the forefront of technology that enhances our digital lives in every way imaginable -- some can argue that in many ways, the future of tech is already here.
However, a lack of consistency in individual cybersecurity advancements have increased the presence of vulnerabilities for modern-day users, and as they consume digital services and content in more ways than ever, security requirements need to keep up with their online behavior. At Avast, we believe that a fully converged, comprehensive solution is the answer in providing a delightful experience in securing and protecting our users’ data.
Let’s break down our answer to the problem statement above to understand where the potential security shortcomings lie. The opportunities for hackers to infiltrate and expose consumers are ripe within these three scenarios of digital consumption:
On-device services and content
The first example is a scenario that is considered common and fairly established: on-device content and services are directly sold through direct billing channels known as “app stores” (including Google Play Store, Apple App Store or Microsoft Store). Once purchased, users can directly consume content and services such as Netflix, Venmo and Robinhood through their devices. With most apps that contain sensitive data, like Venmo and Robinhood, they come equipped with security services to protect its users data and privacy. However, devices with older technology are vulnerable to security risks, as an outdated operating system may not support the app’s latest version of security.
Fixed broadband network
Next, we look at a fixed broadband scenario, which serves as a content delivery network for consumer devices (better known as “the internet”). Consumers access on-device services and content by way of different fixed broadband networks within their homes (such as fiber cable, DSL, or simply a 4G LTE modem). With most fixed broadband connections, security is embedded into the router as firmware or a hardware attachment to protect the devices that are connected. With fiber connections, users can have access to gigabit speeds and consume data-intensive services and content on their devices. However, security technologies are pressed harder to keep up with the large amounts of data traffic, such is the case with Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) being used to secure gigabit-speed connections.
4G LTE and 5G networks
In our third scenario, 4G LTE and 5G Networks can be considered an extension of the previous fixed broadband scenario -- with the addition that the consumption of on-device services and content is done constantly on the go. As people leave their homes and bring their mobile devices outside of their router’s range, they must leave the fixed broadband network and consume on-device services and content through other networks, putting the safety of their data traffic at the mercy of the security technology from other networks. With early 5G network adoption, users will be required to roam on several other networks to maintain their high-speed connections while on-the-go. The inconsistency in network-level security will create an alarming number of attack vectors for hackers to exploit.
From the three scenarios discussed above, we’ve identified two key fundamental design flaws:
Current security technology lacks the capability of providing consistent data security and privacy for users across all types of devices and content delivery networks.
The onboarding and management of different security services creates a poor user experience for users.
Although security risks are apparent in the various ways data is trafficked between user devices and service provider networks, there is a single solution to protect that data traffic: a fully converged, user-centric solution that protects and secures comprehensively, regardless of the type of connection or type of device.
What is a fully converged, user-centric security solution?
Rather than just leaving it at a few fancy buzzwords, let’s break down what it means for a security solution to be fully converged, truly comprehensive and user-centric.
Imagine this situation for a parent that is responsible for protecting her family’s digital well-being. All of her family’s new and old devices (such as laptops, iPads, 4G LTE mobile devices, and 5G-compatible mobile devices) are connected through a mixture of fixed broadband and 4G LTE and 5G networks. Installing and managing different security solutions onto all of her family’s devices can be a real challenge. Running a checklist of which devices are up to date and whether the related content delivery networks provide adequate protection creates unnecessary stress -- a simpler solution is needed.
A fully converged solution fixes this issue by simply virtualizing the network and deploying its security functionality at the network level to protect this user’s devices. Moving to virtual network functionality (VNF) allows her to see all of her connected endpoints (even if a device may have an outdated operating system), type of network connection, and a single dashboard of separate security UI’s for all devices, wherever and however she chooses to connect. That is the golden standard for today’s and tomorrow’s security solutions.
The chart above shows how data traffic in a fully converged solution is processed so that security can be deployed across any device and connection. Data traffic is parsed from all devices connected to the edge network cloud, analyzed and filtered by the security solution’s threat intelligence AI to protect against any cyber attacks.