While you’re decking the halls, why not protect them at the same time! We talk a lot about business security and how the internet can spell trouble if the right precautions aren’t put into place. As we swing into the holidays this year with Christmas and the new year right around the corner, it’s worth considering your home network. The star of our article is none other than the Internet of Things—the term used for the conglomerate of “smart” devices like your fridge, Apple Watches, Samsung Gear, smart homes, and any other device that connect to your personal network.

All of these gadgets add a level of convenience to our lives that wouldn’t be otherwise available. They help us share important updates with friends and family, stay connected despite distance, and give us control over things we wouldn’t otherwise have, like order food delivery from your fridge. The problem is cybercriminals have also noticed this trend as the increase in devices spell more opportunities for exploitation.

Now, before you start to wonder if your smartwatch or refrigerator is compromising your data or putting your friends and family’s privacy at risk, we have a few game-changing tips to protect your data and privacy.

Keep your devices updated.

Any of our clients know how strongly we feel about updates, and for good reason. There is a real danger of malicious attacks compromising your data, and perhaps more importantly, your business’ reputation. Your personal data, however, can hold the same weight as your business’ data; and the two may even overlap depending on your existing configuration. It’s imperative that you keep your smart devices up to date. This is especially relevant to your phones and wearables, as those are exposed to the world everywhere you go. Sure, the update may change the look or feel of how an app or particular function on your device operates, but it’s well worth the learning curve to keep your information safe.

Turn off your network when you’re not home.

While this may sound drastic, unplugging your router when you’re not home for an extended period of time severely reduces your network’s exposure. Depending on how your configuration is set up, your network is probably advertising itself as available outside your home. That means your neighbors, or even a passerby’s mobile device, may try to connect to your wireless connection simply because it is available. By disconnecting your network when you’re not home, you will reduce the availability of your network for other people and greatly improve your home security.

Improve your baseline security.

Perhaps turning off your network when you’re away from home isn’t an option. Maybe you have security cameras set up, or you use your smart home to manage climate control for your pets. If that’s the case, despair not. Your home router has settings to improve your network’s encryption and hedge your bets against unwanted access and can also reduce the signal strength of your network. On top of that, you can prevent your network from advertising itself as available. Don’t worry if that sounds too “techy” either. Ask your internet provider what precautions they have in place for you, and they’ll be able to help you put your best foot forward with your home security setup.

Still concerned? Give us a call, and we’ll be happy to talk through some best practices for keeping your home network safe and sound.

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First published in our December 2018 IT Radix Resource newsletter