Guest post by Ralph Goodman
Many people have postulated that the future of home security lies within the smart lock. However, I do not believe that the future of anything is that clear cut, especially home security. This is not to say that smart locks will not have a place in the future. I am merely trying to view them as objectively as possible in order to discuss the ways in which they are changing the security landscape. There are many indicators that point to the fact that smart locks will have a bright future in terms of security, but there are also a few indicators that signal that the smart lock industry could take a wrong turn if it does not pay more attention to security.
However, even from an objective standpoint, it is quite easy to say that smart locks have revitalized the way people view security. A majority of smart lock manufacturers are targeting the home security and commercial security industries because this is where a good chunk of their products are being utilized. In both of these sectors, smart locks have allowed people to look at security through new lenses, and now we get the chance to look at the ways in which smart locks are changing people’s perspectives on security.
Let’s start off with the amazing things that smart locks have brought to the table. There are many smart lock models on the market today that have similar features, but they still offer something unique to their users. A lot of these features have made life much more convenient for business owners and homeowners, and they have broken the mold of security. Many of these features have allowed the security industry to view things in a much different light, and it has also made their jobs much more effective.
Wider security net
Smart locks have helped the security industry cast a much wider net for the people that it offers its services to. No longer do homeowners and business owners view security as a single organism. In the past, many people put all their faith in security alarms or high-security locks, only for burglars to exploit another aspect of their homes or offices that they neglected. In this day and age, smart locks have helped people view their security in a much more collective manner, mostly due to the fact that smart locks can be used in conjunction with a different number of devices.
This product integration, coupled with connectivity, always puts users in close proximity of the full scope of their security. It helps users keep every aspect of their home or business more secure. For instance, if a homeowner has the ability to check on the status of their locks from a remote location, they will most likely begin paying much closer attention to their security even when they are away. This eventually helps make individuals much more security minded.
Many smart locks also have an integration capability, which means that they can be used with different devices, and that each of these devices can communicate with the other. This process is extremely beneficial in making homeowners think about security as a unit rather than just one item. If a home is properly integrated, your smart locks, surveillance cameras, home monitoring systems, and even your thermostat, can all transmit data between each other.
Integration helps homeowners cover more ground, security wise. Also, because each of these devices is in constant communication with the other, manufacturers have been forced to increase the security standards of automated devices to help thwart hackers and burglars. Hacking is a serious threat to automation and the IoT, so if manufacturers are forced to address these issues it will hopefully turn out for the best.
Data transfer and tracking
Home security actually deals with a large amount of data. However, the security industry neglected all of that data up until smart locks and home automation devices made their way onto the market.
If someone talks about data in terms of home security, they are most likely talking about the number of people that you have coming through your door each and every day. These numbers play an indispensable role in assessing home security. Smart locks help homeowners track this information, and it helps them craft more intuitive home security plans and procedures that will effectively keep them and their families safe.
Data tracking is an essential part of the way smart locks work and data is an essential part of putting appropriate security measures in place. Often times, people tend to forget how integral data is when it comes to security. If there are proper data trails in place, it will be much easier to track people down and it will reduce the chances of anyone breaking into your home or office and getting away with it.
There are many benefits that smart locks have brought, and they have changed the way we think about security, in some part, for the better. However, as I stated earlier, there are also some bad traits that smart locks have shone a light upon, and these need to be tackled head on before smart locks become the bane of the security industry. Let’s take a quick look at some of the negative ways in which smart locks are making us think about security:
Decreased physical security (devices)
It is obvious that smart locks, automation, and the IoT have greatly, and positively, impacted the way people think about security. Even so, they have also hindered the way people approach physical security, mostly due to the fact that a great chunk of automation deals with cybersecurity.
This flaw has caused many manufacturers to skimp on the kind of physical security that they afford their devices. In many cases, it is hard to bypass a smart lock by attempting to hack it, but if someone is able to gain physical access to the smart lock they will almost always be able to bypass it. There are some smart lock manufacturers who caught onto these problems early. And they are working to rectify them.
By increasing the security of their lock cylinders and using much more resistant materials to build their locks, the devices can be improved. The switch from traditional locks to smart locks gave a lot of people the impression that physical security was no longer important. On the contrary, it is now more important than it has ever been before. This is because smart locks can now be attacked on a cyber front, whereas traditional locks could not. Therefore, it is not advisable to leave them weak and defenseless in terms of physical security.
Decreased physical security (home or office)
Similar to the point discussed above, people who use smart locks to boost their security and make their smart homes come alive, tend to fall into the habit of neglecting all other aspects of their security and placing complete and absolute trust in smart locks. I am not saying this is a bad idea to have. It is merely a premature thought. As great as smart locks are, they are not yet the absolute solution for home security or commercial security. It is not smart for people to completely do away with old security measures that they had in place simply because something new and exciting has come along. As always, one of the best ways to implement this change is to gradually integrate the new with the old, in order to reap the benefits of both.
Smart locks have changed a lot about the security, from the way people think about safety to the way they implement their security measures. If any of these factors have been influenced over the past few years, it is highly possible that smart locks, home automation, and IoT are the root cause. As with any argument or debate, there is always more than one side that can be viewed. It can be said that there are some inherently good features of smart locks, and also some bad ones, and each have affected security in different ways. I believe that the only way to get the best of both worlds is to see what works about smart locks and see how physical security can be integrated into this. Regardless, it is great to see that smart locks have helped many consumers, homeowners, and commercial business owners take a keener interest in security.
Ralph Goodman is a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.