We will travel again! Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many people have cancelled trips, or had them cancelled by cruise lines, airlines, etc. We have plans for August. and feel confident that we’ll be approaching something like normal by then. I’m looking forward to leaving home again as soon as it’s healthy to do so. When you do hit the road again, are you confident that your home and assets are safe while you are gone? I’m not talking burglar alarms, because most of you have already taken care of that. I’m talking about the other things that can go wrong.
If you’re lucky, you have friends or family nearby that can check on things when you’re traveling. But, what if there isn’t anyone available? What can you do to make sure things are good on the home front?
Who’s at the Door, or in the Yard? We use Ring, trusting that they have corrected the issues that allowed the recent hack. We actually have this installed at each of our doors. With a smartphone, you can access any of the cameras. If you want more viewing flexibility, you can connect a different camera, then load a camera viewer on your smartphone. With that, you can zoom, tilt or pan with the camera. If you see that a package has been delivered, you can call a neighbor or friend to bring it indoors until you get back home.
We did have to adjust the sensitivity, after being woken up by raccoons and cats walking by the front door at night. We’ve also been delighted by a mother turkey and her chicks, and have been able to watch a nest of robins outside my office window.
Password Management – It’s tempting to use the same password for multiple accounts because who wants to remember a couple dozen different ones, if we were even capable of doing that! However, that practice puts us at risk of hacking. Use a password locker. There are several options out there. I use 1Password, which receives high ratings for security. I only need to remember the password for my locker account. You can save the website address, login and password for each account in 1Password, and access your accounts directly from the locker if you wish. 1Password can suggest strong passwords if you want. That’s certainly better than using your anniversary date!
There are a couple of ways to add your account information to 1Password. You can log into an account, access 1Password, and save from there, or you can add them directly into your password locker. It’s easy to edit and delete accounts if you need to. You can share your password locker with other people (family member, trusted friend), so they can access your accounts if you are not able to for any reason. You can also put the app on your phone or pad for easy access when traveling.
Internet Security – Is anything on the internet truly safe? It seems that the security systems are only a step ahead of (and often behind) the hackers. Still, that’s no reason to forgo reasonable precautions. Hopefully, your home WIFI and internet access are well protected, but what about when you are traveling? A VPN is a Virtual Private Network that allows you to connect securely to another network over the internet. It connects your smartphone, tablet, laptop to another network (hotel or restaurant WIFI for instance) while protecting your privacy. There are several services out there, so look for one that best meets your needs.