Smart Home and Network Security

How to Ensure Your Network and Smart Home Remain Secure

WRITTEN BY: Luke Hammerland
DATE: July 28, 2020 at 3:29 PM

Smart Home equipment and other connected devices throughout the home are intended to make our lives easier and more secure. But, if they’re not setup and managed properly, they can present vulnerabilities in your network and leave you open to attack. The good news is that with a few simple steps, you can easily ensure that your network remains safe and secure. As an RS&I authorized retailer, you can be the expert in calming customers’ concerns and helping them realize they can use these devices without worry.

It’s important to remember that every device connected to your home network (smart phones, TVs, cameras, speakers, etc.) is essentially a computer on the network, and therefore could access other computers on the network. So here we’re going to go over the main things to do to remain protected. All of the suggestions here can be enacted on all of the internet and smart home products that RS&I has available for sale through authorized retail programs.

Use the Encryption Settings in Your Router

Routers contain built-in wireless encryption settings that require a network key/password in order for any device to access the network or the information being sent within it – this is also known simply as your Wi-Fi password.

Many router admin settings will likely show 3 different types of encryption available: WEP, WPA, and WPA2. It’s important to note that WEP and WPA are outdated at this point, and for the highest level of security you should be using WPA2.

Strong Passwords

It may seem obvious, but having strong, complicated passwords is the first step to securing everything across your digital life. Some surveys estimate that over 80% of Americans are using weak passwords to secure their digital life. Obviously, the exact number lends itself to some ambiguity, but it can at least be widely agreed upon that the number is alarmingly high.

As part of setting up the encryption settings above, making a secure Wi-Fi password is imperative. To create a strong password, follow these guidelines:

  • Use at least 10 characters
  • Include lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols
  • Avoid using the same password across multiple accounts/platforms
  • Avoid personal information (your name, pet’s name, usernames, birthday, address, etc.)
  • Don’t use common passwords or phrases (ex. “password1”)

To take your passwords to an even higher level, many experts recommend using a separate password management software such as the ones listed here.

Use Guest Network Settings

You may have guests that come to your home that you want to share your Wi-Fi connection with. However, you may not want them to have potential access to your files, data, and personal information. To accomplish this, you simply set up a “guest network” – allowing your guests access to the internet through a separate network name (SSID) on your router, and keeping their internet traffic (and potential vulnerabilities) away from your connected devices.

Two Factor Authentication

Many people may be worried that somebody might get their password to their smart home accounts and then have access to their cameras, door locks, and other smart devices. However, using 2 Factor Authentication (or 2 Step Authentication) security settings requires that in order to log in to your account, you must know the password and also have access to an app that is stored on your mobile device. And everybody should utilize a password or fingerprint scan to lock their mobile phone. These types of security settings exist on most platforms/accounts on websites and devices on the internet, including Google and Vivint products available as an RS&I authorized retailer. These settings make your data and smart home devices extra secure.

Network Security Can Be Easy

Following the suggestions above is good practice for everybody. As an authorized dealer with RS&I for any of our internet/connected device partners, you can easily become the expert on these devices for your customers, and help them realize the true convenience and security these devices can offer when set up correctly. From internet service with Hughes or gotW3, to smart home and automation with Google Home or Vivint, there are plenty of RS&I sales programs to cater to all of your customers. To find out more about working as a retail partner with RS&I, contact us today!

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