Imagine getting home from work with the oven already preheated to 350 degrees for that pizza, the thermostat set to cool you off, the vacuum already finished with its job, and soft music playing in the background—all because you tapped a few buttons on your phone before you even left the office.

Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?

It’s a lifestyle made possible thanks to the innovative technology behind smart homes, and it’s becoming more and more common as homeowners discover the incredible benefits of making their house tech-savvy.

New gadgets are coming out each year that are designed to make your life easier, more comfortable, and more secure—there’s everything from robotic vacuums, to refrigerators that let you coordinate meals and alert you when the milk is bad, to automated video systems that allow you to see who’s at your door right from your phone in the basement.

But what is the privacy cost of these cool new gadgets? How do we know a company isn’t just trying to leverage our private data for themselves through their products?

They might help us maintain a home that’s cleaner and easier to live in, but are we sacrificing something every human should be inherently entitled to—our privacy?

Your House Knows A Lot

The global smart home market is predicted to reach a value of more than $53 billion by 2022.

And the number of installed IoT connected devices by that year? It’s forecasted to be at roughly 43 billion worldwide.

That’s a lot of connected devices, and the number is only going to grow as the years go on and we connect more aspects of our homes. But as we continue to add devices to our smart home puzzle, we are increasing the risk of invasion to our home’s IoT system.

These days, you not only want to lock your front door so that burglars don’t break in and try to take off with your valuables, but you also want to “lock” your home’s network so that hackers can’t break in and take off with valuable private data about your everyday lives.

This is because today’s smart homes collect and analyze large amounts of user data, generated constantly by gadgets and appliances that are connected to its network.

It is important to carefully consider every single device that you decide to install in your home—weigh its pros and its cons, study its privacy policy, and really consider whether any of its elements might become a weak link in the protective tech chain around your house—and to make sure that invisible home network connection is secure.

Introducing connected devices into your home is serious business, and overlooking the smallest device could expose you—remember the casino that was hacked through its connected fish tank? Yeah. It’s possible.

Hackers will look for the tiniest gap to squeeze through if it means accessing your home, so if you already have devices installed or are scoping the market to make your first purchase it would be a good idea to know some security basics.

Smart Home Security Basics

The advantages of a smart home are certainly enough to put in the work of installing a technology system, but it makes it all the more important that owners take care to ensure their tech home is protected and secured—even down to that vacuum quietly cleaning up your floors.

Networked devices can exchange data in a steady flow of traffic that involves information like how many people live in your house, when you’re home, and your regular daily behavior around the house.

That’s a lot of information that you’d want to keep safe and private, right?

I mean, you wouldn’t leave your garage door up and your front door unlocked 24/7, would you? It’s the same—if not more imperative—that you close and lock up all of the data that is floating throughout your IoT system with some precautionary steps.

1. Professional Installation in Your Home

Installing a safe and reliable network into your home is a big deal, so choose a trusted professional who will help you in the process of transforming your house into a smart home.

2. A Privacy Protection Agreement

Because your smart home is going to be generating a large amount of sensitive data within its network, it’s important to ensure that that data is protected. Have your service provider sign a privacy protection agreement first thing.

3. Secure Passwords

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people come up with passwords for sensitive accounts that are easily hacked. Since this is your home we’re talking about, a strong password is vital to the security of your network. Don’t use default passwords, your WiFi password, or that one password you’ve used for 11 other accounts. Decently long and complex is the way to go, and you’ll feel all the safer for it.

4. Protect and Update

A precautionary step you can take is to protect your home’s network with a firewall so that third parties are unable to read your data. Additionally, make sure to update your systems regularly to ensure that everything is always up-to-date

Safe At Home In a Connected World

Much of our lives have already transitioned from physical to virtual, and even though some changes are being made to data privacy laws in parts of the world, we still have some catching up to do.

We all like to go home to a safe and cozy house where we’re no longer controlled by demanding jobs or expectant patrons—the freedom to relax in the security of our own home is something that keeps many of us going throughout our busy days.

But now that our homes are making the transition into virtual connectedness, it means that we also have to keep up with maintaining the safety of both physical and virtual corners of our home.

So whether you use one smart home device or live in a house that’s entirely connected, it’s important to take precautionary steps to ensure that all of the data your house is generating will be kept safe and sound.