The Internet of Things – the increasingly connected world in which we live – is rapidly expanding. We love our convenient and fun ​devices – ​like​ ​personal assistants, wearables, speakers, cameras, TVs, cars, home alarm systems, toys and appliances. But it’s important to understand that connected devices rely on information about us – such as our behaviors and preferences – forming an “Internet of Me” rather than just an Internet of Things.

TIP #1
When shopping for a new connected device, determine what data will be gathered and from whom. From you?  Your children? Your company? How will the data be used, shared, and retained? Does the service you are using need the data it collects from you to function?

TIP #2
Manage information wisely that your Internet of Me device uses. Because you have investigated what specific data your device is requesting (Tip 1), you can now check out how the product manufacturer protects and controls data. Does the value of the services gained from sharing data outweigh the value of the data you surrendered?  Is the company or organization capable and interested in governing it the way you would treat your own valuable data?

TIP #3
Beware of online surveys or cold calls intended to steal personal information for possible identity theft or to set you up as a future target for scammers. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions before you answer any yourself.

TIP #4
Bogus offers for freebies often require your credit card, saying it is necessary to cover shipping costs or a deposit. That often leads to unnecessary charges on your bill or a recurring charge you cannot kill—it gets to be worse than zombies. Before taking the bait, check the manufacturer’s or provider’s website. If the offer isn’t stated there, you could be vulnerable to theft. Your credit information is regulated by data protection rules and regulations, even after you share it “publicly” with merchants.  They do not have the right to use it how they please if they are not pleasing you.

TIP #5
Think twice before downloading free entertainment, screen savers, or mobile apps. Some of them are specifically created to hack personal information, passwords, and files from your device. Others create weaknesses to leave a backdoor open so the crooks can use your information or equipment, or just exploit your private images later.

Privacy governance can seem overwhelming but by taking the challenge to heart you can manage your privacy and protect your personal information.

Get Involved

This month we observe Data Privacy Day. It’s a great time to reflect and act on privacy strategy in all aspects of our lives, both professional and personal. You can participate through your social channels in some of the many Data Privacy Day activities Cisco is leading with the National Cyber Security Alliance. Join the conversation!

  • Join #ChatSTC Twitter Chats on January 10, 17, and 24.
  • Weekly Privacy blogs
  • Champion privacy awareness at home and at work with awareness and education activities!

More Information


Privacy Sigma Riders podcast


Michelle Dennedy

No Longer with Cisco