Smart Home Security: the pros and cons of the Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things

The cybersecurity world has been buzzing about the Internet of Things (IoT) for a few years now, but what is it, exactly?

The IoT is the network of “things” that are equipped with software to connect with other devices online. They can send and receive data, making wireless communication a more seamless experience. Even if you’re new to the concept of IoT, chances are you already know or use devices that are part of this network — like smart home systems.

Every technology has its pros and cons. Learn how the IoT comes into play for smart homes, and how to boost your smart home security.

The pros of the Internet of Things

Thanks to the rollout of 5G across the globe, there are tens of billions of devices attached to the IoT, meaning it’s a lot easier for those gadgets and systems to talk to each other. Here’s how that benefits you:

#1 It allows technology to work for you

The biggest advantage of the IoT is the convenience it offers. For example, with smart home IoT devices, you can turn on lights, switch off the stove and feed your pets without being physically present. A fitness tracker that sends data to your smartphone can alert you to changes in your heart rate and blood pressure, while a smart bed can monitor the quantity and quality of your sleep and flag medical issues like sleep apnea.

#2 It can help you feel safer

A smart home security system means you can monitor your home from afar. Let’s say you get a notification that your garage door’s open — you can view the live camera feed and take action if you discover a stranger entering your home.

Wearable wristbands are another excellent safety measure, especially if you’re a parent or caregiver. They can help you track your loved one’s movements, so you can ensure they’re in a safe location.

#3 It can save you money

IoT technology has evolved quickly over the last few years, and connected devices can lower costs. For instance, certain appliances can flag potential issues — that way, you can schedule maintenance before the problem has a domino effect. Smart thermostat systems can identify which rooms require cooling or heating, and when you occupy specific rooms in your home or office. They can then adjust temperatures according to your patterns and cut down on your electricity use and costs, sometimes significantly. Similarly, a smart building system could monitor HVAC systems and tweak usage so you pay less.

The downsides of the IoT

These are some of the side-effects of using IoT devices that are constantly connected to the internet.

#1 It presents more opportunities for cybercrime

The IoT gives cybercriminals more avenues to launch an attack, and if they’re successful, they could hack into multiple devices at the same time. To prevent unauthorised access, install security software and add sophisticated cybersecurity controls, like encryption, to IoT devices you manage.

That’s why, if you’re using connected devices in your home, we strongly recommend protecting yourself with a solid antivirus solution such as ESET’s Home Protection Plans.

#2 It can impact data privacy

The data that helps to keep us safer, happier and healthier can also make us vulnerable. IoT sensors can clock data about our habits, location, movement and sleeping patterns — but you don’t want that ending up in the wrong hands.

#3 It’s reliant on the internet

This sounds obvious, but many IoT devices are dependent on internet connectivity to work properly, and others need continuous power. If you experience an outage for either of those, your devices may stop working. It’s important to have a backup plan for accessing your data in case devices go down.

Strengthen your smart home security

The IoT is exciting and ever-evolving, but it comes with risks. If you’re going to adopt these new technologies, remember to protect your devices and your data to avoid bad surprises and enjoy your connected devices with peace of mind.