According to the FBI, a burglary occurs every 14.6 seconds in the U.S. Small business owners don’t have time to deal with the problems that a break-in can cause for home-based business. From filing police reports and insurance claims to replacing computer equipment and attempting to regain an organization system, all of these things simply burden you from working toward your goals. Here are six tips to keep your business essentials safe and protect your home office:
Get a Fireproof Safe
A sturdy fireproof safe is a must-have for every home office. Use it to store important hard copies of company paperwork and tax information as well as for sensitive personal paperwork, such as your social security card, passport, birth certificate and marriage certificate. If you can afford it, a built-in safe in the floor or wall is most secure. However, if you’re on a tight budget, a portable safe is effective as well, though be sure to keep it hidden in another room.
Install an Alarm System
Imagine coming home from a business meeting, only to see your home office strewn in disarray. Your most-dependable workhouse employee, your desktop computer, is missing and your painstakingly organized files now cover every surface. The place has been ransacked by a burglar an d you’re left feeling helpless because you never checked “install security system” off your ever-growing to-do list. Make getting a home alarm system at LifeShield a priority and protect your home so that you can avoid seeing the havoc that a common burglar can inflict on your budding business.
Keep track of all company assets. A detailed inventory is invaluable for insurance purposes in the event of a burglary. Thorough record keeping can help you get your claim settled in less time. Adhere an asset tag to each of your electronic devices. Opt for asset tags designed to be tamper-evident, which will leave a mark on the device if removed, making it harder for a criminal to resell.
Track Electronic Devices
Get mobile tracking apps for your cell phone, laptop, iPad and any other electronic devices. This way, if a device is stolen, you can use an IP address or GPS to track it down. Lookout and Find My iPhone are two free apps that you can use to track iPhones and other smart devices.
External Hard Drive
Invest in a compact external hard drive that you can use to back up important company files on your computer. Create a recurring calendar reminder to back up new files each week or month to ensure you stick to a schedule and minimize the risk of losing important information. When not in use, store the external hard drive in your safe.
A recent article on More.com suggests getting a portable paper shredder for the home office to protect yourself from identity theft. With all of the personal information that regularly flows in and out of your home office, simply throwing paperwork in the trash or recycling bin is much too risky. Someone could easily dig through your bins and find your bank account information or social security number and assume your identity.