Data protection in Smart Homes: how to enhance your security standards

Smart Home technology is designed to make us safer: It prevents accidents, flags up risks and scares away intruders. It also brings a whole host of benefits in terms of everyday comfort and convenience – helping us save valuable time and energy, so that we can relax and enjoy our time at home.

But who is responsible for ensuring that your Smart Home is secure? In order to offer you all these convenient services, providers have to collect personal data about your everyday life and routines. Cameras might be keeping an eye on what’s going on inside your home – but who else can access the images? Voice assistants such as Alexa are potentially able to hear you at any time – so is there always someone listening in? And if you can access your Smart Home and even open your own front door remotely, then is it possible that others could, too?

Data protection and data security in the Smart Home: The start of the chain

The first thing to point out is that there is no cause for alarm: If you follow a few basic security rules, then your digital home and all of your personal data will be safe. It’s important that you consider data protection right from the start – because the chain of security starts with your choice of an appropriate Smart Home system.

  • Install high-quality and standardised systems

Use standardised systems from well-known manufacturers who place a great deal of emphasis on data security. All of the systems in the world’s leading Smart Home standard KNX benefit from the expertise of almost 500 companies working together to develop data protection strategies: “Pooled knowledge produces higher security standards that standalone solutions cannot offer”, explains Smart Home expert and Gira product manager Jan Klee. Your entire Smart Home system should be protected by a single seamless security concept; separate solutions on individual devices simply cannot offer the same level of protection.

KNX is a tried-and-tested Smart Home system. Source: Gira

The new KNX Secure standard is the world’s first manufacturer- and application-independent security solution. Designed to provide reliable and effective protection against unauthorised access, manipulation or interception, KNX Secure is the standard that Gira is gradually rolling out in many of its products to guarantee maximum data security.

  • Ensure professional installation

Installation should always be left to the experts; careful and accurate system configuration is a key prerequisite for reliable protection. It’s a good idea to draw up a written agreement setting out how the confidentiality of the personal data that the installer will access during the installation process will be ensured.

Where does the system store your personal data?

  • Check the server location

If possible, you should opt for a solution that stores your data on your own server located on your property. If you use a cloud-based service, the server should ideally be located in your own country, to ensure that your data will be handled in accordance with local data protection regulations. If the cloud provider is based abroad, you won’t know what will happen to your data. This is why lower-cost providers and some global companies can offer their services so cheaply: You pay for the service in part by sacrificing your data.

g1 smart home

How can you protect your Smart Home data?

  • Use secure passwords

Use the security features that are available to you sensibly. This includes choosing secure passwords. In spite of all the warnings, number sequences such as “12345” are still among the most frequently used passwords and – unsurprisingly – among those that are hacked most often. When you buy a new device, always set a new password using your own combinations of capital and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters.

Changing your password regularly will also help to keep your data secure.

  • Update your system regularly

To plug any gaps in your security and to make full use of all of the functions your system offers, you should update your operating system and software on a regular basis. Generally, you’ll be able to use an auto-update function to keep your technology up to date at all times.

smart home tablet

What’s the best way to encrypt data traffic?

  • Protect networks carefully

Protect your network with a firewall so that no-one else can read your data and signals or log into your system. Setting up your own Virtual Private Network (VPN) can also help to prevent unauthorised external access. Contrary to popular opinion, even wireless networks can be secured to a high standard. Opt for the latest encryption standard (WPA2); a trusted specialist retailer will be able to provide advice on this.

  • Encrypt remote access

It goes without saying that encryption is essential if you’re going to be accessing your Smart Home systems remotely. While it’s wonderful to be able to open the door to visitors while you’re still making your way home, the prospect of this convenience being exploited by someone else wanting to access your property is frightening. Gira has developed its own defence system to protect your property from anyone attempting to gain unauthorised access: The Gira S1 module is designed to reliably encrypt all local and remote communication. With this line of defence in place, you can control your home remotely with confidence – because your property is controlled by you alone.

Setup smart home house exterior

By following these tips, you’ll be able to keep all your Smart Home data away from prying eyes –

ensuring that your home remains a place where you feel safe and secure.

How do you protect your data in your Smart Home? Share your experiences in the comments!

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