HomeRun Homes Rent to Own Homes Blog

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HomeRun Homes is a centralized marketplace which helps people Find or Sell a Rent to Own Home, both Nationwide and Globally to the thriving Rent to Own Market. http://www.lease2buy.com
Showing posts with label security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label security. Show all posts

June 26, 2019

Be There Even When You're Not! The Hubitat Elevation Redefines Security!

Hi folks,

   I have been working in the technology field for longer that I care to say, but let's just say north of 20 years! One of the most awesome developments that I have seen over that time has been the ability to reach out and touch something that you are not physically near or physically connected to. For example, without going too geek on you, having a server that needs to have some upgrades done that have to be done from the physical console/screen...but the server is located a few thousand miles away in our L.A. Office. Some years back, I would need to arrange to have someone in that office to be in front of the server and perform the upgrade as I direct them step by step. Time-consuming and inefficient, but necessary.

   However, as time moved forward, we began using remote access tools, allowing me to connect to that server and perform all of the functions required, from the comfort of our New York HQ. On a similar scale, this same base of technology allows us to see and hear who is at our doorbell and communicate with them, as if we are right there, even if we are laying on a sun-drenched beach in the Caribbean. Heck, you can woof like a vicious dog and watch people jump with fear. Of course, never do that to your neighbor...especially those that hold grudges...I'm just saying!

   In keeping with the thought of that remote reach out and touch technology, the market has quite a few players now with smart home devices, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and others. One of the players in this Smart Home niche is a company called Hubitat, and they have a very unique twist on this market, with their "Elevation" Smart home hub. It is a centralized "hub", as its name suggests, which acts as the control center for all of your home devices that you choose or will choose to connect in your home.

   I recently had the pleasure of testing out the Hubitat Elevation, and based on what I found as a result, from Set-up and Testing on through General Usage, this could just be what you were looking for or maybe something you did not even realize existed...something to help you keep on top of the safety of your home, as well as your gadgets and possibly even your energy efficiency.

   The Hubitat Elevation hub came very well wrapped and secured in a box about 2.5 times the size of the actual device, and when I saw the physical hub, I was surprised at how small it was. I was trying to figure where it would go and how will I be able to have it in a secure location (it's advantageous to keep something that can possibly control the power and security of your home in a tamper-free location). However, the device fit's literally in the palm of your hand, so finding a place with a power source nearby was incredibly easier than I had imagined.

   The Hubitat needs to be connected into your Router via an Ethernet cable (an RJ-45), so after you plug in the power to your Hubitat, you have a few choices: connect the cable to the Hubitat and the router, get a longer RJ-45 cable in your local shop and run the cable through a ceiling or floor, if need be, or have a network drop (or a patch panel with a network wall outlet). The latter might be a little much for folks, so the first two options work fine.

   Once the Hubitat is connected up physically, the next step is where you get it recognized to make it active. From your computer that is on the same exact network as the Hubitat (the computer and Hubitat must both be connected to the same router), you access the Hubitat portal website (where you should see the device icon), sign up, enter some basic information, and name your device. Activation is that simple. There are no tricks, changes to make on your router, with your ISP. No headaches. Just a simple and straightforward way to get your Hubitat Elevation online, alive, and kicking.

   Now, the benefit of using this device, as we discussed, is all about remote administration, and the first piece I added to my Hubitat family is the Centralite Smart Outlet. The way I found it best to add this outlet was to download in the Google Play Store the App, "Hubitat Dashboard". Once I downloaded the App and logged into it with the credentials I set up when activating earlier, I saw the Hubitat Elevation on the Dashboard. At this point, I simply selected to Add a Device, and the Smart Outlet is by Centralize, but also can be selected as Zigbee, which I did. Once that Smart Outlet showed up, I saw there was a toggle option....basically, on and off. I have a tester bulb that has a prong to plug into an outlet for testing power (but you could easily plug in a radio with the volume on), and now the bulb was on, indicating power to it, but the Smart Outlet has a small blue light indicating it is on, as well. When I clicked the toggle on the app on my phone to turn the Smart Outlet "Off", the Bulb went out! When I clicked, "On", it went on! I had my security camera pointed at the outlet, and I went food shopping, and while I was out, I planned on testing the Smart Outlet from a different network (not on my Home Wi-Fi), and on a split screen on my phone, using the Hubitat Dashboard on the top section of the split screen, I was able to Toggle the Outlet on and off and the Bulb went on and off and I watched it from my security camera app on the bottom split screen. Cool! Why cool? This means I can control my lights and anything else I want to control from anywhere in the world. I had the capability to add more Smart Outlets and control literally every device in my home, possibly even my thermostat to conserve energy and lower my bills, if I wanted to!

   The next device I tested was the Centralite Micro Door Sensor, which had the same type of set up. This device is akin to the old "open circuit", that signals when it is opened. When setting this up, which required connecting both parts of the sensor to an internal door in my home (just for testing). the parts have to be lined up precisely, so they can open and close without friction, and allow the circuit to be opened. Once I had this set up, I created an alert to be notified upon the circuit being opened, and I had a friend randomly open the door and write down the exact times it was opened, while I went to a location away from my Home Wi-Fi. The times the door was opened corresponded exactly to the times I received the alerts, which meant there was no delay in the relay of the alerts, and no latency. This is fantastic and once it is used on an entry door, it can prove incredibly valuable. If you have a cleaning service or workers in your home while you are away and you close doors to the bedrooms or other rooms you do not want anyone to have access to, you can add one of these to each of those doors and be immediately notified if they were opened.

   There are infinite applications and ways in which you can use the Hubitat Elevation, along with the Smart Outlet and Micro-Door Sensors. Not only are they intuitive to use and to set up, but they work precisely as they are supposed to, and can provide you the ease and comfort of usage from anywhere in the world, and provide you with the security that you would come to expect from such a device. I know that the Hubitat team are working on new applications and further ways to use the Elevation and family of devices, and I cannot wait to see what additional ways that I can make my life easier, safer, and at the same time, have fun doing so!

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes - Rent to Own Homes, since 2002
"Located at the Corner of Technology and Real Estate"
Rent to Own Homes and Real Estate Blog for HomeRun Homes: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #Hubitat #Elevation #SmartOutlet #Micro-Sensor #Smart #Centralite #Zigbee #Dashboard #Security #Remote #App

May 15, 2011

Home Security When Selling or Residing

Hi Folks,

   Glad we all made it through another week, and even (gladder? Is that a word?) to have you back !

   Let's face it, we live in a dangerous world. It's sad, but very true. It is always necessary to make sure you are safe and protected, and in the context of this Blog, you also want to ensure your property is secure, as well. Today, we will be looking at security for your home, apartment, etc, and we'll look at it from two scenarios: Security when showing your home for sale, and Security for your home on a constant basis.

   "If you are showing your property as a FSBO", says Jennifer A. Chiongbian, an SVP and a Licensed Associate Broker, who suggests to, "make sure to have sign in sheets getting their detailed information.", and says that you could even ask for their driver's license and taking all their information down.

   Chiongbian also suggests letting your friends and neighbors know when you are showing your home and to, "have them call you afterwards to make sure everything is okay."

   A few other pointers, per Chiongbian; Put away all valuables to eliminate any temptation (somewhere safer than a drawer), Be alert to any unusually long lingering times in rooms, etc. (hover close by, but out of sight - just to hear if they are talking about relevant topics to your home.). She also warns us to watch out for red flag questions, such as, "Do you live alone", "what time do you usually get home from work", etc., as they could be, "casing your home."

   Now, if you own a property, and you are not in the process of selling, but you are looking to enhance your security, let's look at some tips provided to us by Robert Siciliano, a Security Consultant with ADT.com.

Siciliano provides the following tips:

1. Contact local law enforcement:
In some communities, an officer will inspect your residence and make recommendations based on vulnerabilities.

2. Install signs:
"Beware of Dog” neon signs (One for the front door and one for the back door), or “This House is Alarmed” signs.

3. Dog Bowls - seriously!:
Buy the biggest dog food bowl possible, one for the front and one for the back. Write “Killer” on each bowl.

4. Talk with your Neighbors:
Start a neighborhood watch program where everyone has a monthly responsibility to work the neighborhood.

5. Make your home seem occupied 24/7/365:
When you are away put the stereo or TV on loud enough to hear from the immediate exterior and use timers.

6. Install motion sensors that make a burglar think they are being watched.

7. Use your existing door locks:
Beef up the strike plate, which is the metal plate where the bolt enters the jam (Install 3 inch screws)

8. Secure your windows so they don’t raise more than 6-10 inches:
Install small angle brackets that prevent the windows from going any higher.

9. Get a home alarm system:
A home alarm is the best protection while you are home and away.

Hopefully, these tips will help you make things a little more secure in your property. Do you have any tips that you can share?

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

TAGS: #FSBO #Security #homealarm

January 10, 2011

A Special Interview with Our Head Web Designer

Hi Folks,

   What can I say? Snow, Snow, and more snow coming. Remember a few years back when we didn't get a snowflake all winter? Well, winters is back with a vengeance !

   Today, I'd like to give everyone a long overdue look at our main Web designer, David Davis of DCGWS Internet Solutions. First, just a little look back in time to 2008. At that time, we had been in business for over 6 years, and business was going really well. However, we were operating in the "Stone Age", and we were basically entering in all Ads manually on the website. There was no user control panel, and the lines of communication were getting more difficult as the business was growing.

   I realized that in order to keep growing and to continue to provide quality customer service, I needed to upgrade my site with a database, along with some automatic features to keep the flow of information as timely and efficiently as possible. And so, my search began...6 solid months of looking for and interviewing web designers. In all of that time, the only designer that I spoke with that really "got me" and knew exactly what I wanted was David.

   I have posed a few questions to David for the purposes of this interview, and here are his responses:

Question 1: "David, for the purpose of this interview, can you provide some comments about our website, Lease2Buy.com?":

David: "Lease2buy.com is a real estate listings website powered by Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP OOP (Object Oriented Programming). It is in my humble opinion, the best and most successful website in it’s class."

Question 2: "How far has the site come along since you came on board?":

David: "When I took over the programming of lease2buy.com. the entire website and all its property listings were static pages, meaning all manually added and edited. Rob asked me to completely automate the site and that was what I did. An end user can browse the site, buy an ad or even multiple ads via a major credit card or PayPal, and once the transaction is completed, the ad becomes “live” without any interaction from the website owner or webmaster."

Question 3: "Can you comment on the Security of the Website?":

David: "The site has PHP session based logging, and uses encrypted passwords for both the user back end and site administrator back end."

   David, thank you for a wonderful job. Your work ensures the integrity and efficiency of all visitors to HomeRun Homes (www.Lease2Buy.com), and provides excellent security for those placing Ads on the website. Keep up the good work.

Please post your comments (and Kudos!) to David !

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

Tags: #Linux #Apache #PHP

July 16, 2010

Passed Website Security PCI DSS Compliancy

Good Morning Everyone,

There has been a huge sweeping reform of the credit card industry, and along with it, there have been new rules implemented regarding the security measures that are taken by websites to ensure full security and protection of data that is entered on these websites. For quite some time, the focus has been on the large multi-national corporations, however, the focus has now turned to all websites, including HomeRun Homes/Lease2Buy.com. In May, We were notified about this by our merchant account provider (the company that processes credit card transactions for Ads that are placed on our website), and we were provided a mandated deadline of July 31, 2010.

The full details of this "PCI DSS" mandate, are outlined at https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/security_standards/pci_dss.shtml, which summarizes them as, "...a multifaceted security standard that includes requirements for security management, policies, procedures, network architecture, software design and other critical protective measures. This comprehensive standard is intended to help organizations proactively protect customer account data. "

Well, way back in College, I took Calculus, Advanced Calculus, Integral Calculus, Statistics, and multiple Finance and Economics courses, and this PCI DSS compliance process has truly made those topics seem like cotton candy and fluffy clouds ! What a difficult and stringent procedure ! There was a 200 question exam-type format that we needed to pass, along with a highly-intrusive scan of our website for vulnerabilities and hacker entry points. We can tell you that there were a few minor issues, and nothing that had or would have jeopardized data. My point is that they wanted a fully clean slate, so concurrently, we took advantage of the timing and we transparently moved our site to an even beefier server platform (for all of those techies like myself, it is a load balanced environment to provide stability and redundancy). Thus, more security and a quicker website for our visitors.

The end result?

We have PASSED both the behemoth exam along with our intense website security scan, so, as per Trustwave (www.trustwave.com), the absolute leader in the field of website security, we are now proud to say that we are 100% PCI DSS Compliant (CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE). We have spoken with many of our peers, and they feel as if they will not make the deadline, and therefore, they risk being discontinued by their credit card merchant account, thus, rendering them basically "out of business".

We are glad that we have passed and that we are recognized as fully compliant with all website and data security regulations, and we will continue to be your centralized marketplace for Rent to Own Homes, whether you are a buyer or a seller!

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !!