The only person you want coming down the chimney this Christmas is Santa Claus. Unfortunately, the festive period is when burglars are most active. Whether you’re visiting relatives over Christmas, attending a Hogmanay celebration, or jetting off for some winter sun, opportunistic thieves have their eye on empty homes.
Protect your hard-earned presents and peace of mind this December by investing in smart security. Home alone this Christmas? Added security will help you relax and make the most of hibernation season.
Stuck for where to start? Smart Living’s very own Christmas elf, John Ross, shares his best advice on how to keep your home safe from those on the naughty list.
Christmas puns aside, having your home broken into is no laughing matter.
“The best home security system is about more than just alarms,” John advises. “Gate entry systems, CCTV, and video doorbells should be considered, too.”
Bigger houses will benefit from extra security like indoor and outdoor cameras but modest homes and flats can also benefit from smart door locks and video doorbells.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of your property’s size you’ll need to consider cyber security. Some thieves aren’t after presents beneath the tree — they want your data. And once they have it the consequences can be severe.
Here are John’s must-haves for a robust home security system:
So, how does each component work?
“If you’re serious about protecting your home, CCTV is a must,” says John. “You get two types: indoor and outdoor.”
CCTV helps you keep a watchful eye on the perimeter of your property. Designed to take a beating and perform even in wintry weather, these cameras won’t fail you if Santa turns bad.
Studies show that visible CCTV cameras make homes less attractive to thieves, too. However, if a bolshie burglar does cross the line you’ll catch them in the act and be able to send footage to the police.
With smart integration you can also monitor your home if you’re away over the festivities.
Sometimes the worst happens and a criminal breaks into your home. When everyone’s at the office Christmas party, thieves see empty driveways and vacant homes as too good to resist.
Fortunately, 360° indoor cameras offer high-resolution, panoramic footage that catches burglars in the act.
“Indoor cameras are great from a security point of view but they also let you keep an eye on vulnerable relatives who are at risk of trips or falls,” John adds.
If peace of mind for yourself and loved ones is top of your Christmas wishlist, you can’t go wrong with CCTV. For an extra layer of security you can also pay for 24/7 professional monitoring.
John’s recommends: Luma (Snap One) combines pro surveillance with easy to install gear. A huge bonus is that a Luma camera keeps recording even if your internet shuts down.
In the hustle and bustle of the festivities it’s easy to forget to lock the front door. Smart door locks let you lock and unlock doors and windows at the press of a button. You can control the locks via keypad, your phone, or an entry card.
Keyless access for family members is a smart way to control entry to your home. “Just be sure to invest in quality in case of hackers,” John advises.
Smart door locks also come into their own during the festivities when someone comes home after one eggnog too many and can’t find their keys!
John recommends: Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro for its fingerprint scanner, superb connectivity, and easy integration with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Parcels left on the doorstep are a sure sign no one’s home. Luckily, a video doorbell can keep an eye on your hallway or porch in your absence.
“While you can get wireless doorbells, we recommend hardwiring any security devices so they don’t fail you when you need them most,” John cautions. Now your doorbell can notify you in real-time to the presence of nefarious parcel thieves. Two-way talk also lets you speak to visitors or tell thieves they’re being watched, regardless of your location.
John recommends: Control4 Video Doorbell — reliable and integrates seamlessly with existing tech.
Unlike Macauley Culkin in Home Alone, you don’t need to booby trap your home to deter thieves this Christmas. A gate entry system will prevent them even getting up the drive.
“If you have business premises that close over Christmas and New Year, a gate entry system can provide extra security over the quiet festive period,” John explains.
Via a keypad or smartphone app you get to decide who gains access to your business or home this Christmas. Just remember to let Santa in on Christmas Eve!
John recommends: Control4 lets you do so much at the touch of a button or simple voice command. Plus, Control4 is reassuringly tried and tested, having been on the market for many years.
Don’t forget to protect your home against hackers this Christmas. Unencrypted networks are like open windows for cyber criminals and once they gain entry your entire smart home is breached and hackers can make off with sleigh-worth of personal data.
That’s why we stress the importance of hardwired security systems over wireless and robust encryption. If a network looks impenetrable, hackers won’t waste their time. Take control of your devices and particularly your router by regularly updating software and passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication.
John recommends: reading our 8 Hacks To Keep The Hackers Out for more ways to protect your data.
Finally, a security system is snow good if it’s not cabled in.
“Nothing will work without cables as far as we’re concerned,” says John. “You’ll have heard me say this a hundred times but the most expensive cable is the one you didn’t fit.”
This is particularly crucial for home security systems where reliability is paramount. Overloaded with too many smart devices, Wi-Fi connections quickly become patchy or fail altogether. Not ideal when thieves make off with your presents and you’ve no evidence to prosecute.
John stresses the importance of laying the foundation with proper cabling. “Even if you’re not ready to equip your home with every smart security device, having the right cables fitted today will make future upgrades seamless.”
The best part? Professional installers will fit and sync all smart devices within your home security system correctly. That means less time worrying and more time rockin’ around the Christmas tree with loved ones.
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And remember, you can always give us a (jingle) bell with any smart living questions.