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IT and cloud security in smart homes

IT and cloud security in smart homes

In our digitised and automatized world security is an increasingly sensitive topic that will be gaining even more importance in the future

This is especially true of smart homes because they are where we live our everyday life, they are privy to our habits and, consequently, raise a lot of concerns and uncertainties in future users. Here is all you need to know about IT and cloud security in the context of smart homes.

What is “the cloud” and why is it important when it comes to smart homes?

The cloud, or cloud based computing has been around for several years. Many users are not even aware that whenever they upload their data to a remote server they are actually employing cloud technology.

It is important to note, however, that when it comes to smart homes, cloud technology involves not so much data storage but rather data transmission, under the highest possible security and at the highest possible speed. Using the cloud is not compulsory but strongly advisable because its benefits far outweigh its disadvantages. And if you pick the right service provider you will only see benefits.

Constant updates are one of the keys to security

The first aspect we need to underline when it comes to using the cloud in a smart home is that the cloud can make operating a smart home easier, it can simplify remote access to its features and help create overall security.

Chameleon Smart Homes also use cloud based solutions. This is an up to date, safe and constantly updated technology, but the way it is employed and the configuration of automatic updates are in every case controlled by the user. That said, it is highly advisable to enable this feature because regular updates are one of the keys to cybersecurity.

Take smart phones as an example. Units running the Android operating system receive security updates for a few years at most – after that the product and thereby the user are left alone in this respect. This must not happen to smart homes because we must make sure that the cloud will be there in several decades’ time to facilitate access to at least the basic security updates.

High level encryption

If you opt for the smart home system of Chameleon, there will be no direct connection between your phone and the central control unit of the home, except through the local network which is obviously inevitable and its security is guaranteed by your service provider. This means that the cloud will not be storing data: the information necessary for controlling the system and all personalised solutions will be retained with the client. But as soon as you leave your home and switch to remote access, the cloud will be there to grant you the same lightning-fast communication as if you were sitting in your own living room.

This may come very handy especially in the case of an emergency. It is secure, too, because Chameleon’s solutions undergo continuous improvement by Chameleon’s highly qualified team of experts and there are intricate encryption technologies at work in the background, so it will make sense to employ this feature even while you are at home. Of course the decision always lies with the client, who must be aware that we do not store high quantities of data in the cloud. If a smart home system does that you should better avoid it for reasons of security.

Even though the proprietary cloud system employed by Chameleon’s Smart Home has a high level of encryption using the same or even better solutions than those used by banking systems, future smart home owners can, of course, opt for the solutions that are available through the integration of Apple Homekit or Google Home. The cloud can still not be removed from the equation, the only difference is that background services will be provided by Apple or Google. So, it is neither possible nor advisable to avoid cloud technology.

No valuable data is stored

Obviously, there are figures and graphs that are necessary for the operation of automated processes, e.g. the heating temperature or the light level you require, but these cannot be used to gain access to sensitive data that could jeopardise the security of the owner’s personal information or the safety and security of the apartment.

If, for example you are at your workplace and would like to let one of the grandparents or a friend into your home who cannot deal with a smart lock or have none of their biometric data (e.g. fingerprint) stored in the system, then you can easily and safely open the door for them for a few seconds through the cloud.

Under normal circumstances no data is uploaded to the cloud that, if seen, would be valuable to any outsider because this technology is primarily not for storage but for data transmission that is doing its job totally safely and in an encrypted form as part of the Chameleon Smart Home. In general, it is much safer to be able to remotely access your home through the cloud than having no remote access to it at all. To name just one example, you can disconnect an iron you forgot to unplug at home if it happens to be plugged into a wall socket that you can control remotely.

What about smart locks?

One of the issues often discussed in connection with smart homes is the use of smart locks. Many clients are afraid to use these devices although they are in every respect more secure than their conventional counterparts.

First, as far as the technology is concerned, smart locks must have high level security certifications before they can be sold in the first place, and their physical properties make them safer, too. Many of them have no keyhole at all, some have no traditional handle either, so a burglar would probably not even know how to start bypassing them.

In line with applicable standards these locks are opened either with a proprietary code or with some biometric data (in most cases, a fingerprint), but there are GPS-based units, too, that are activated when the owner is in their proximity. These locks usually open for a few seconds only and re-lock automatically. You can get through them in the traditional way from the inside of the property only.

It is important to note that no smart lock data is stored in the cloud that could be used by a criminal to open the door. The devices themselves have some memory storage but these cannot be reverse engineered or accessed by criminals, let alone through the cloud.

In this respect, smart locks are far more secure than traditional locks but we must add that whenever criminals decide to break into a property they will find a way to do so – and no digital door security technology will be able to prevent that. To enhance your home’s security you can install various intelligent security systems that use video recording and other security features or even audible alarms to provide extra security to your home. But that will be the topic of another blog entry.

Chameleon is a “system-independent smart home expert”. This means it adapts not only to the weather, your rhythm of life and your mood, but also to the next generation of systems. Because it provides a rugged, flexible core infrastructure to which you can connect any manufacturer’s product - anytime.
chameleon-okosotthon-logo.webp side_pic.png DISCOVER THE SMART HOME