Convenience versus privacy and the importance of ensuring your customers’ security

Amid the slew of new internet-connected devices launched this year, we share eight tips to help your customers retain their security.

Internet-connected devices are now pretty much everywhere and among the top holiday sales this year.  Around the world more and more of us are using devices like virtual assistants – think Amazon Echo or Google Home – smart TVs and connected watches to make lives easier — and in some cases better.

But this isn’t without risk.

In our search for convenience, do we have to sacrifice privacy? A common mistake many of us make with internet-connected devices is that we treat each one individually.

Connectivity and the Internet of Things is only as strong as its weakest link. That’s why it’s so important to understand and treat each connected device as part of a broader network.

None of us necessarily think about someone hacking into our new smart thermostat and accessing temperature preferences. But if they can access the thermostat, they can get into a wi-fi network. From there they can access computers and other connected devices where there’s far more private and valuable information.

But the good news is we can have both convenience and privacy – as long as devices are secured along the way. Below are eight tips to help you protect customers’ identities while enjoying their new gifts.

• Make sure the products and services being connected were bought from reputable companies.

• Take a few minutes to review the privacy and data usage policies for each product or service. Policies and data-use statements should be clear, easy to read and easy to understand. It’s also important to know how personal data is used, stored or shared.

• Look for devices that use end-to-end encryption, meaning third-parties can’t read or eavesdrop on communications. More and more products are including this terminology right in the product description. If it’s not there, ask.

• Be careful when turning on features for less secure devices. Remember that a less secure device can open a door into your network, which can lead to access to other connected devices.

• Change the default password before connecting the device to your network and enable two-factor authentication options, when available for additional security.

• Pay extra attention to nominated wi-fi network and leverage all available security options, including things like router and network passwords, encryption, firewalls and firmware.

• Be aware of the applications installed on devices, and download applications only from reputable providers. Also, only download apps created by trusted entities.

• Got kids? Make sure children are supervised when using internet-enabled devices, especially when downloading apps and connecting to other devices.

Internet-connected devices provide endless possibilities, but they rely on technology and collected data to deliver on their promises. By following these tips, you and your customers can enjoy the conveniences and stay safe at the same time. To learn more, simply click here.