Data protection and data security in the Smart Home

A Smart Home offers many advantages. Intelligent building technology provides occupants and users with unique comfort, safety, and improved energy efficiency for living and working.

However, precisely due to the comprehensive networking and individual adaptation to user behaviour, personal data protection and technical data security are particularly important topics that must be handled appropriately. Networks in Smart Home projects always involves sensitive personal data that you as an installer can access – like the number of residents, when they are at home and when they are out, user behaviour and frequently also camera images in which people are visible.

You should draw up a contractual agreement on protecting sensitive personal data with customers beforehand. This creates trust, and will give your customer a sense of security right from the start. Ensure that digital home automation systems are secure by means of exacting and careful installation, and make this clear to your customers every time. Read our recommendations.

Our recommendations for greater data security

Protecting personal data, safeguarding technical systems – we have summarised the most important things you need to keep in mind regarding these two topics. For the contractual protection of personal data, you can download a template to be used as a supplement to the contract. From a technical standpoint, there is also a lot that can be done to protect data and networks.

Inform customers about data protection

Inform your customers comprehensively about the important topic of data protection and data security. Point out all security-relevant aspects and explain the solutions to them. This will create awareness about this sensitive topic and enable you to position your company as a competent expert business.

Use contracts to protect privacy

A smart building always involves sensitive personal data that you as an installer can access – like the number of residents, when they are at home and when they are out, user behaviour and frequently also camera images in which people are visible. Raise this issue with the customer and draw up a contractual agreement regarding the handling of this information at the very start. This will create trust and gives your customers an overall feeling of security.
Recommendation for supplementing contracts with a data protection declaration

Considering data security in cost calculation

Hardware and programming costs for data security within the network should be taken into account when calculating costs. Think about which factors are required first and which special security aspects must be considered for each network and include them at the planning stage in order to give you enough leeway in implementation. Ideally you would calculate two versions – installation with basic security requirements and implementation with increased security.
IT KNX infrastructure recommendation for basic requirements
IT KNX infrastructure recommendation for enhanced requirements

Group network into VLAN segments

An important method for increasing security is to divide the data network into mutually protected zones. Divide the network into logical groups by, for example, creating respective VLAN segments for the home automation system, for maintenance purposes, for internet access or for the IP cameras for building surveillance. This allows all inhabitants to use the internet and entertainment electronics, for example, while only certain people are granted access to the home control. Children cannot access their parent's PC, nor can the installer during remote maintenance.

Observe safety standards for wireless networks

Wireless networks (WLAN) can also be well protected. But significantly higher safety standards are essential. Use the WPA2 encryption method according to IEEE802.11 in conjunction with the AES algorithm. That should always be obligatory for wireless networks. Also inform your customers about the use of WPA2 and its function. Always keep your own knowledge about the various encryption methods up to date. We regularly provide information about these in our Gira training seminars on network security.

Use secure passwords

The axiom holds just as true for a Smart Home as for any computer or smartphone: strong passwords are a basic condition for security. Never leave any device's default password unchanged – replace them with new secure passwords in consultation with your customers. For better security, passwords should also be changed regularly. Please point this out to your customers too.

Carry out regular updates

For security purposes, it is important that the technology is always up to date. Security requirements can change, and Gira regularly revises and improves the software of devices and systems to reflect these changes. For this reason, regular updates should be carried out on all devices. This prevents unnecessary security gaps. Point this issue out to your customers and offer your support. If required, use the contract template for the support and system maintenance of IT systems.
Contract template for system maintenance

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