07 Sep 2015

Keep Your Home and Family Safe

Keeping your home and the occupants within it safe is a top priority for everyone. We all want to sleep well at night knowing that our family is safe and sound. Although  many of us now have the added advantage of technology, alarms, and home automation systems adding to our security and comfort, it’s still necessary to keep your home, personal data, and most importantly, family, safe whether you’re at home or away.

Security and your home network

Many of us now have things like security cameras and other gadgets within the home that are connected to the internet.

Keeping your home and the occupants within it safe is a top priority for everyone. We all want to sleep well at night knowing that our family is safe and sound. Although  many of us now have the added advantage of technology, alarms, and home automation systems adding to our security and comfort, it’s still necessary to keep your home, personal data, and most importantly, family, safe whether you’re at home or away.

Security and your home network

Many of us now have things like security cameras and other gadgets within the home that are connected to the internet. Some homeowners have their security cameras set up so that they can log in online and watch the footage live from their security system. This remote monitoring is beneficial in so many ways, and other gadgets such as smart thermostats enable us to optimise the comfort level in our homes before we walk in the door after a long day at work. The problem with these devices is that they are constantly connected to the internet and therefore at risk of being hacked.

Devices that are continuously connected to the Internet are referred to as the Internet of Things. These gadgets must be set up properly in order to maintain your home’s security.

Set up a firewall

Routers act as a firewall by performing a network address translation (NAT). This means that it doesn’t allow any traffic that is potentially malicious to view any information from the device that’s connected to it. While a smart TV may not store your personal data, it is still connected to a home network and therefore needs to be protected by a firewall or your home router too.

Often to keep things easy for the end user during setup, devices like IP security cameras suggest you connect them to the Internet. In most cases these cameras rely on password protection as well as self contained web pages. While coming up with a strong password is essential, it’s also still recommended to keep these devices behind a firewall as well.

Other steps you should take to keep your home data network safe include:

  • Checking regularly for security and firmware updates – Don’t rely on the device itself to tell you when it’s ready to be updated.
  • VPN for remote access – A virtual private network allows you to connect to your home network securely if you need to do this remotely.
  • Configure your home’s network so that it is set up in the safest way possible – Educate yourself on how to do this and what to look for. For example, check to see if your router is using strong Wi-Fi encryption.

Keeping your home secure

It’s easy to become complacent when it comes to security, especially if you live in a safe neighbourhood. For the safety of your family and home, however, maintaining a certain level of security should still be front of mind wherever you live. Here are some home security tips you can implement with ease.

Audit your locks

Check that all of the locks on your windows and doors are in perfect working order. If any lock is broken, have it repaired or replaced immediately. Also use your locks even when you’re at home. A home that’s locked is naturally much safer.

Keep the perimeter of your home well lit

Automated lights with sensors are easy to set up for the front, sides, and rear of your property. Having sensor lights operating acts well as a deterrent to thieves.

Illiminate places for people to hide

If you have overgrown trees or shrubs around doors and windows, they can potentially become hiding places for people wanting to gain unlawful access to your home.

Hide valuables

Burglars in most instances don’t spend much time inside once they’ve gained access to a property. If you have heirloom jewellery on display, it’s easy for them to take. Anything that is irreplaceable, hide away safely. Don’t have them on display.

Install security

Having alarm systems and security cameras installed is one way to up the safety level of your home.

Fake it

If you are unable to have the real thing installed, purchase a realistic looking fake security camera and use stickers that indicate that your home is protected by an alarm. These are useful for giving the illusion of heightened security.

Always park your car in your garage if you have one

That way if someone is looking for patterns for when you’re home and away, they won’t know if you’re there or not.

Social media

Be careful using social media and updating your friends and family about what you are doing and where you are. Thieves use Facebook too, and if you’re away on a holiday, it’s best not to share all of your photographs as they happen, but rather once you’ve arrived safely back home.

Take care when you go on holidays

A burglar will see if your letterbox is overflowing and your bins haven’t been taken out. Ask a neighbour to collect your mail, empty your bins (let them use them while you’re gone), and collect your paper as this will give the illusion that someone is there.

Use timers on lights inside the home

While sensor lights are great for outside the home, using timers on lights inside is also a good idea when you go on holidays. Having a few lights inside the home set to go on just after dark each night for a few hours will once again give the impression that someone is home.

The presence of a dog is also seen as a major deterrent for criminals so if you have a pooch, you’ve already got one of the best security systems in place.

Take some time to address the security weaknesses in and around your home so you can address each one. Home security really does matter. Ultimately, by taking just a few simple steps you can rest easy knowing you’ve done everything possible to ensure the safety of your family and your home.