How secure is your home office?
How easy would it be for someone to steal your laptop?
Would you even know if someone breaks into your home office while you’re in bed?
As the number of home workers increases so does the amount of valuable equipment in home offices that is so tempting to thieves.
FBI data shows two-thirds of domestic burglaries happen in daylight.
Criminals are becoming increasingly skilled at appearing innocuous – in real life, they don’t walk around in ski masks or black-and-white horizontal striped sweaters like they do in the cartoons.
Their tactics for scoping out targets before breaking in are likewise gaining in sophistication. By the time they’re going through your belongings unbeknownst to you, burglars have often already gotten to know your home from a previous visit that was legitimate, or from casual reconnaissance because they live locally. It is best to assume anyone interested in taking your valuables knows where they are and has a good idea of your home security level.
Many telecommuters use a bedroom as their office. A bedroom is a better location than a ground floor room because burglars want to avoid confrontation with residents and need an easy escape route.
Criminals are more likely to meet property owners if they have to venture upstairs, and there are fewer escape routes from up there.
If you use a spare room on the ground floor as an office, this will be more obvious, and entry will be simpler.
Purpose-built garden offices are widely available and offer home workers a cheaper path than a traditional home extension.
Computers, printers, video projectors and other valuable equipment in a room with little more security than a garden shed? Burglars love them.
Even the best locks and windows can be forced with a crowbar. The property owner is never going to notice the sound of a break in. Escape routes are simple, too – just a matter of climbing a wall or pushing through a hedge.
You are required to notify your home insurance company of anything that might affect their risk.
Have you told your insurers about your home office? Have you increased your total contents insurance to include your office equipment?
Insurance is only part of the issue because if a thief stole your computer, you could also lose all of your contacts, contracts and tax records.
Off-site data backups are essential for any business, especially one where the risk of burglary is high. Cloud services are ideal because you can schedule frequent data backups automatically.
Site security is the next major issue.
Outside lighting makes it harder for an intruder to hide. If you use a garden building as an office, you will need to illuminate that area as well as the approach to your home. Use lights linked to motion sensors to reduce energy costs. Modern motion sensors can be adjusted for sensitivity, so the lights don’t come on every time a cat walks across the lawn.
Wireless or Wired?
A wireless alarm system is the best way to secure your home office equipment along with the rest of your home. Wireless systems avoid the need to drill into walls or run messy wires all through the house, which makes them perfect for rental accommodation where drilling walls are forbidden. You can even attach sensors using sticky pads rather than drilling and screwing.
The move towards wireless security infrastructure is also a product of another common issue found in wired setups. Going wireless removes the danger of a criminal cutting your phone line cables to prevent the alarm company being notified. There are several methods of accomplishing this – SimpliSafe, for example, uses mobile cellular tech to communicate between the alarm system components, and with the company’s monitoring center, thereby allowing the flow of information without the use of cable wiring.
Reducing Your Risk
You can never reduce the possibility of a burglary to zero. However, installing a security system and outside lighting will make most criminals look for easier pickings. Using cloud data storage will mean your business can survive the theft of your computer if the worst does happen.