The Internet has never been more valuable than it is today. Over the past couple of months tens of millions of students have been introduced to telelearning, millions of businesses have promoted telework, people are meeting with their friends online, and consuming content from their living rooms (or their home offices) at rates never before seen. So what about security? Today we’ll take a look at how all this use is changing the Internet.
Some Internet Stats
Prior to the pandemic, studies showed that only 5.2 percent of Americans worked from home in 2017. That’s roughly eight million people, or one out of every 20. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29 percent of Americans can do their job from home. All other 71 percent have to physically be in a place to do their work.
At present, telework has been made available as businesses look to maintain their revenue streams. In fact, it seems that COVID-19 has done something that almost a decade of advocacy has done: made business owners realize the benefits of telework. The question becomes, now that we know that telework is possible (or even preferred), how will this change the Internet?
How is the Internet Holding Up?
The Internet is now hosting roughly a third of workers who are doing their jobs from their homes, most students who spend half of their day online, and millions upon millions of online shoppers who are more apt to use online resources than go out and put themselves in physical risk. That’s not even mentioning the normal use of streaming services and typical online-based services. So the answer is that the Internet is holding up extremely well.
Most Internet service providers have loosened or eliminated the normal data caps, supposedly saving people billions of dollars, but it is quite curious that these companies claim that the caps were in place to ensure the service works well. We’re led to believe that they are helping people by eliminating data caps, but it looks like the Internet would function fine without them. It will be interesting to see how people react when they are put back in place.
It’s not perfect for everyone: Rural users with limited access to broadband still struggle to get the bandwidth they need. Larger cities, where infrastructure hasn’t been updated in some time, are seeing more downtime. Still, tens of thousands of businesses are able to continue operations, giving people hope.
Cybersecurity is Still Crucial
Businesses that have been able to make it through the stay-at-home orders using remote technology are fortunate, but many of them have been targeted by hackers. By allowing remote work, you open your business to a whole list of new threats. Making sure your systems are up-to-date, and that your people understand how they are the first wave of defense, can take you very far in this environment.
This whole era could change the office forever. Imagine it, productive and happy workers, fewer expenses, sweatpants. Or, we’ll go back to working as we did prior, and forget this has ever happened. Regardless of how it is going, your business needs to have the comprehensive network security tools in place including:
- Around-the-clock monitoring
- Firewalls and intrusion detection
- Security training
- Encrypted messaging and file sharing
- Help desk
If you would like to talk to one of our IT professionals about network security, telework, or any other technology-based solution used to make business possible during these tough times, call us today at (610) 828- 5500.