Smart technology is everywhere, thanks to smartphones, intelligent assistants, and even smart cars. Internet-connected devices may make our lives easier and more efficient, but they do come with their own set of risks.

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Here are four ways to smartly and safely make your home smart and secure.

Do Your Research

smart home safetyNot all smart devices are made equal. For example, Amazon’s Alexa tends to have more compatible apps and tools than Google Home. Research each brand, it’s pricing, privacy policies, data storage, and updates.

Ask yourself what features you want and what you do not like when it comes to a smart system and how much you can realistically afford.

Know What You Want

Make a list of wants versus needs. For example, smart lighting that changes different colors may seem cool, but how often will you need it?

Do you want to make your home more convenient or energy efficient? Smart technology like Nest® can also help you save money in energy costs. Some window treatment brands like Hunter Douglas have automated shades that work by themselves or via a smart device.

Create Strong Passwords For All Accounts

“Password123” and the name of your childhood pet will not cut it when it comes to the security of your accounts. Creating strong passwords with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols and is at least eight characters long will keep your info safe. This is especially important with smart devices, given how much personal information is stored on them. The same goes for your router, smartphone, and computers!

For example, Ak$ng1^8! would be considered a strong password. If you have trouble remembering, write it down in a safe place or, better yet, get a password manager like Bitwarden. Software like this is accessed via a master password and securely stores your unique passwords in one place. It can also generate secure passwords based on your criteria.

Just remember to write down the (secure) master password! If you lose it, there is no password recovery!

Understand What Will Happen To Your Devices If You Decide To Sell

If you decide to sell your smart home in the future, understand what will happen to your devices. You will need to determine whether they will come with you or be sold with the house. If you are selling the home with the devices, you need to wipe all personal data from them, make a list of a feature versus personal property, and know how to market the smart home to attract buyers.

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The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.