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CEDIA 2017 Course Spotlight: Properly Securing a Residential Network: Methods and Best Practices


Jun 05, 2017
By Ed Wenck



Bjorn Jensen is counting the Slack channels currently discussing IT issues in the CEDIA universe. “Let’s see, 12 … 14 … it’s 16 at last count.”

The networking brains are collaborating – as the parts of the connected home become ever more – well, connected – the needs for design, troubleshooting, and security become more demanding.

Jensen was part of the original task force that started developing 400-level courses for integrators. Security rapidly became a topic that needed its own dedicated lab work. The challenge of narrowing down the content to a four-hour-course was daunting: “The trick is figuring out what to cover in four hours without the attendees’ heads exploding,” laughs Jensen.

Ed Pepitone, who’s been developing the content with Jensen, notes that this course won’t be a session for beginners. “You’ve got to know the fundamentals: what’s a VPN, what’s a DoS attack, all of those things – otherwise it’s going to be a waste of a firm’s time and money.”

Jensen sends along the bullet points for the session, the Learning Objectives as they stand right now:

  • Identify some of the factors that drive the need for network security
  • Define common types of attacks
  • Discuss organizational best practices for protecting and securing client information and systems
  • Describe the types of encryption and algorithms for secure access, common use cases, and the level of security provided
  • Distinguish between firewall concepts such as DPI, IPS, Stateful Firewalls, Access Rules, and NAT
  • Recognize the need for secure remote access
  • Describe parental control solutions, how they work, and options to consider
  • Describe various tools and methods used to identify vulnerabilities and attacks

Pepitone – who brings a world of certifications (including Cisco) to the table from his background in IT – also notes that there’s a key here: education. Integrators need education that can be passed on not just to the consumer, but to anyone else who might be putting devices on a home network. “Frankly, the big problem is, say, an HVAC guy who’s not schooled in any of this adding a smart thermostat.” It’s a constant challenge securing a landscape that can literally shift in complexity and fragility from moment to moment.

Jensen – who’ll be handling the “assist” during the course as Pepitone does the bulk of the presentation, bemoans the facts that so many consumers still make the most common of errors: not changing default passwords and the like. But Pepitone notes that integration firms aren’t without sin, either: “I’ve seen companies use the same password for every project. What are you going to do when an employee leaves? Change ‘em all?”

The challenges and solutions that’ll be addressed are proving ever more critical as residential networks become ever more labyrinthine.

Pepitone sums it up: “Technology has reshaped and re-formed the CEDIA channel.”



Properly Securing a Residential Network: Methods and Best Practices
Presented by
Ed Pepitone, Director of IT,  Audio Video Systems, Inc., New York
Bjorn Jensen, President,  WhyReboot, Miami
Sept. 6, 7, and 8 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. each day.

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