Brown’s Bytes – The Unwelcome Guest?


1st December 2017

I was reading the BBC news this morning and an interesting story caught my eye about Amazon’s Alexa heading into the workplace.

In particular I was struck by this key point:

Echo’s are always listening, and while Amazon says they don’t collect information until activated with the “Alexa” wake word, there are time when this happens by accident.

Furthermore, the firm stores recordings in order to make its cloud-based service “smarter”. And it has suggested that in the future it might share transcripts with third-party developers looking to make apps – known as “skills” – for the platform.”

So, simply put, there’s no way any IT project would get security sign off for deploying that!!


By coincidence I was in an office recently (I won’t say which one) where a member of staff had an Amazon delivery show up at their desk. In it was their new shiny Echo. The team gathered to take a look at this new wonder… and so they decided to power it up.

As you’d expect, just as in pretty much every office in the land, there was a Guest Wi-Fi. A few minutes later the Echo is happily glowing away. After a bit of Q&A with Alexa the device was turned off again and everyone got back to work. No harm done.

But the Wi-Fi wasn’t at all worried about this! The Echo was just a client on the network.

Therefore, somewhere out there, end users will be having bright ideas for how work can be enhanced using an Echo (even before the announcement of business focused features). To deploy their bright idea, all they have to do is get a device and connect it. No need to worry the IT team (they always slow things down as far as users are concerned). They don’t even cost very much so would probably fly under the radar on expenses.

Not that far-fetched, is it? Which means it will be happening. The potential risks here are obvious and you could have an unwelcome guest sneaking in.

So, unless you’ve got a handle on what is using the Wi-Fi (especially the pesky guest network) then you’ve got a risk… you may decide that it’s a reasonable risk, but if you don’t, then you need to control the network better.

We can help with this. Our Wi-Fi solutions can control which types of devices can connect and what they can access to make sure that this scenario couldn’t happen.

Get in touch to learn more.