Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Smart security monitoring for connected homes:

Monitor your home, anywhere and anytime!
By Expert Tips
Date: April 07 2016
Editor Rating:
Smart technology makes it easy to monitor your home. We used to rely on outside providers that physically watched your home or via remote cameras, now it is as easy as installing an app on your Smartphone or device that lets you keep an eye on your place 24/7.
What is a connected home?
Connection in your home is much more than home security. Connect appliances, thermostats, lights, cameras and even door locks and control them via your smartphone from anywhere in the world. Just install your devices and control them using a simple app on any device – as long as it has an internet connection.
On the way home on a cold night? Turn on the heating so your house is toasty warm when you arrive. Away for a holiday? Periodically check on your home by accessing your home security cameras. Do you want to know that your kids have arrived home from school safely? Visually check on your phone from 
the comfort of your desk.
Connected means different things to everyone, the key thing is to set up your home so that you have the things that you need. 
Smart security options for home automation systems
Integrating security options into your connected home seems like the natural thing to do. You can choose from a range of options but these are the most common:
  • Cameras – choose a camera that fits your needs. Do you need continuous live streaming of images that you can access 24/7 or do you just need to monitor a particular area and see recorded images from pre-determined times. You can have night vision, inbuilt motion sensors and even alarms in cameras or have one inbuilt into your doorbell – it sends an alert to your phone when someone is at your home and gives you the option to view a live video stream. Do you have a spare smartphone laying around the house? Turn it into a security camera with one of the free applications available. From the simple to the complex, there is a camera on the market to suit your needs.
  • Door locks – can be linked to your smartphone for access to your home. The kids need access after school and they don’t have a key? Open the door using your phone from the meeting that has run overtime.
  • Lighting – you don’t need to arrive home to a dark house. Make your home safer with lights that can be turned on just as you get home, inside and out, and before you get out of the car. 
How to keep your home safe from hackers
Wherever you have Internet connection there is someone looking for ways to hack the system for gain. One of the things that you must do when you have connected appliances is ensure that you have security measures in place.
1. Connect appliances through a firewall
Always connect behind a firewall even if the device doesn’t store personal information. Hackers are always looking at new ways of accessing devices so you need to keep them secure regardless of their function.
2. Keep software up to date
Your appliance may have been on the shop floor for a while so its software may be out of date. A good habit to get into is to check for security and firmware updates when you first plug it in and regularly after that. 
3. Your own VPN
If you have a number of devices connected in your home consider setting up your own VPN (virtual private network). This allows you to access you home devices such as cameras securely rather than over the open Internet.
4. Create a secure home network
Security for your home network starts with a strong password that not everybody knows. Change it frequently to ensure that it stays private. Check that your system is protected by your router and that all potential entry points are covered – remember it only takes one vulnerable point to expose your entire home network.
Setting up your home system
There are a lot of options to wade through and your budget affects how much you decide to add to your home system. Sales representatives will try to get you to buy their product just to make a sale. To avoid this and to maximise your system at an affordable price talk to your local locksmith or security expert. 
They can give you an independent assessment of your needs and help you to set the system up to keep your family safe.
Sara works as a content strategist at Five Star Locksmiths (Melbourne). Five Star Locksmiths provides 24-hour locksmith services in Melbourne’s CBD and its suburbs.
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