Palo Alto Networks today unveiled an Okyo Garde offering for home networks based on a Wi-Fi 6 access point that is pre-integrated with its cybersecurity threat intelligence platform.
Mario Queiroz, executive vice president for Okyo Garde for work-from-home employees at Palo Alto Networks, said the wireless access point is aimed at organizations whose employees are working from home and access sensitive data residing in either an on-premises IT environment or in the cloud.
With many employees continuing to work from home to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals have been targeting home networks they know lack the level of security typically found in an enterprise IT environment. Palo Alto Networks is now making a case for providing employees that are working from home with a next-generation access point that comes with built-in security capabilities.
In addition, Okyo Garde can be configured to create a separate private Wi-Fi network for any other users of that access point in the same household.
Finally, early next year Palo Alto Networks will also make an edition of Okyo Garde available that is integrated with its secure access service edge (SASE) platform that provides a secure connection over a wide area network (WAN).
An Okyo Garde mobile application makes it easy for businesses to configure their Wi-Fi network, or they can rely on an Okyo Concierge Service that Palo Alto Networks is also making available to handle installation and support.
Okyo Garde subscriptions for small businesses start at $349 per year and include a mesh-enabled Wi-Fi 6 access point. For pre-orders through September 30, 2021, Palo Alto Networks will include its Okyo Concierge with Pro subscription tier at no cost, valued at $148 per month.
Queiroz says that as the line between the home and the office continues to blur in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear fewer employees will be returning to the office full time. In some cases, employees no longer have an office to return to, even once the pandemic eventually subsides. As such, organizations need to move beyond simply providing employees with virtual private network (VPN) software in the hopes that they are able to secure their home networking environment on their own. The trouble is, many of the systems on those home networks are regularly accessing websites rife with malware. Before too long, that malware starts to move laterally into corporate IT environments.
It’s not clear to what degree organizations will mandate what type of networking equipment should be employed in the home. However, it’s clear that cybersecurity professionals are taking a greater interest in how home networks are configured. In many instances, organizations are already providing employees with PCs and mobile devices, so adding an access point with built-in security functionality is not going to add much of a burden to the IT team.
Arguably, it’s just a matter of time before the line between the home and the virtual office becomes indistinguishable. The challenge—and the opportunity—is to figure out how to make all those home offices as secure as any corporate office.