Home security and the Internet of Things

BY Allconnect | Thu Jan 01, 2015
Home security and the Internet of Things

The market for components commonly utilized in Internet of Things gear is expected to see significant growth over the next year, according to ZDNet.com. Research firm Gartner expects the market to grow by 36 percent in 2015 alone. Accelerated investments in these sectors is no surprise considering the surging adoption of Internet of Things devices. Many tech experts have shared optimistic visions of  the future where every appliance and electronic device in the home is interconnected over the same network. While this future certainly is full of possibilities that are worth investigating, these forward-thinking projections belie the new security threats that come with advanced interconnectivity. Homeowners looking to integrate more Internet of Things technology into their home or considering an upgrade to home security can benefit from taking a long look at how issues related to home security and the Internet of Thing is bound to overlap.

The era of IoT around the corner
A recent report published by Accenture Interactive titled "The Internet of Things: The Future of Consumer Adoption" showed that while not all consumers are aware of the opportunities presented by IoT, that this lack of consumer awareness is quickly becoming less prevalent. Despite the fact that just 87 percent of consumers are still getting their heads around the concept and that less than 65 percent of consumers are aware that such technology is available in stores, the report also noted that 69 percent of consumers are planning to purchase an Internet of Thing device.

These seemingly contradictory numbers are explained in part by the popularity of fitness wearables. These Internet of Thing devices are the fastest growing item of their kind, though many consumers may not immediately recognize fitness bands as "wearables." Familiarity with IoT through wearables is bound to increase user trust in Internet of Things products in general. Millennial consumers are far more familiar with IoT devices and also more likely to purchase one – over half of Millennials plan to upgrade their home with IoT devices by 2019.

Automation syncs up the entire home
A large number of homeowners were introduced to the Internet of Things before the buzzword even entered the lexicon, thanks to home automation. This feature, now a standard offering among most home security providers, puts control of the entire home at a user's fingertips, via a wireless device and a home security app. Home automation makes it a cinch for homeowners to lock their doors, arm or disarm surveillance equipment, turn lights on and off and adjust indoor temperatures. Unfortunately, putting a homeowner's security controls online means that they can also be accessed by those with malicious intent.

And while consumers may not be fully aware of the opportunities related to IoT technology, they are well versed in the potential threats, according to Secure ID News. In fact, 70 percent of consumers worldwide are concerned that greater integration with the Internet of Things simultaneously increases risks of a security breach. The risk of hackers accessing a home network via the Internet of Things highlights the need for a professionally installed home automation system over an alternative cobbled together with third-party gear.

Professional automation features system monitoring
As the Internet of Things becomes more well-known, so too will the value of an home automation managed by a professional home security provider. Why? For the same reason that many homeowners prefer professional home security to DIY solutions – 24/7 monitoring. It will be far more difficult for hackers to access a home's IoT controls if network activity is being monitored by a diligent team of home security experts. Working with a home security company also provides homeowners with extra options for customizing and personalizing their home automation system. These pre-set behaviors will help a security team to spot unauthorized access as well.

Homeowners can beef up their digital defenses
While working through a professional to set up household automation is a smart move, there are other strategies that homeowners to keep their homes secure from IoT-related threats. PCMag explained that the most important thing that consumers can do to account for the Internet of Things in home security is to reconceptualize digital threats. Each device with access to the Internet now acts as a "window" into your home's internal network of devices, and now requires a lock and key. Because these appliances now have increasing control over the home's interior, it won't be long before hacking a appliances is tantamount to breaking and entering.

A few simple strategies, such as using unique passwords and SSID for devices used to connect to the Internet, can help to slow the progress of hackers looking to invade your interiors. Upgrading your router can also help discourage unscrupulous coders from poking around into your system, looking for valuable data.

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