How to Secure Your Home Office

Home security systems can secure your home and family as well as your home office. Ask the operator of a home business what they worry about, and the odds are good they’ll tell you it’s making it to the next payday, finding new clients, or just keeping the kids from driving them crazy during the workday. What these small entrepreneurs have forgotten is that their home business needs security, just like a business operating in a more commercial setting. Imagine what would happen if a burglar took the computer you keep all your client information on, or took the file cabinet containing your tax receipts and forms – on April 14. Even the loss of a relatively minor item like a printer or fax machine can throw a wrench into a business that could take weeks or months to recover from. Home Security Systems with 24/7 monitoring are an economical way to secure you home office.

The first step in securing a home office is to get control of the perimeter. If you do not have a home security system in place, then definitely consider adding one, with special emphasis on the part of your home dedicated to your business. Depending on your needs, it might be possible to alarm and secure only the business part of the home, but that often isn’t practical. Security begins with the physical – check the doors and windows of your home office to ensure that they are heavy duty and up to the task of preventing intrusion. Hollow-core bedroom doors are no obstacles to anyone serious about breaking and entering. If your office is on the ground floor or basement, it’s worth investing in a high-quality window lock and/or a barred security system. Home alarms and home alarm monitoring are also a worthwhile investment. Don’t forget smoke alarms and, depending on your budget, fire suppression systems – a fire can wipe you out just as easily as a burglar can. Check your electrical systems to ensure you aren’t putting an excessive load on electrical circuits meant for a lamp or a TV, but which are instead supporting two color lasers and four PCs.

Once the physical environment is taken care of, make your home business more robust and trouble-proof. Ensure that all of your critical electronic files and documents are backed up to a secure offsite location. Web sites that will maintain your file libraries remotely have excellent unattended backup software; this investment of a few dollars a month could literally save your business after a disaster. Remember that a backup system that isn’t used is no better than no backup system at all – automate your backups, and periodically check to see that your backups are actually being written to the remote location. Store copies of paper files in an offsite location – you can do this cheaply by boxing up copies of your critical paper documents once a month and swapping storage space with another home business owner in the same state. (Don’t use someone in the same town or even worse, neighborhood – you don’t want one natural disaster to take out both offices.)

Have a backup plan for disaster, whether a burglary, a fire, or a flood. This can be as simple as having an emergency credit card and a standing reservation at a neighborhood office building that offers temporary rentals, or can be a complete and sophisticated emergency recovery plan. Remember that failing to plan is planning to fail!

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