Home-based enterprises account for almost half of all small businesses in the United States, and they provide several benefits such as lower rent and commute costs, as well as various tax breaks. And, in the event of a pandemic, a home-based company might be especially useful since it allows you to exercise social distance while making a living.
However, when you’re busy operating your business from the luxury of your own home, it’s easy to neglect a critical component like security, which can keep your firm safe from theft, vandalism, and cyber assaults.
Why Should You Protect Your Home Business?
The majority of small companies have physical assets such as merchandise, equipment, and furniture, as well as digital assets such as computer data. If your house is not secure, you may be exposing your company’s or personal property to theft. Rather of creating such an opportunity, ensure that all outside doors are secured with deadbolt locks and that all windows are securely closed. In addition, solar-powered or motion-activated lights can be used to brighten the exterior of your home.
Consider putting a security system throughout your home to discourage criminals from targeting your belongings. Those with such intentions typically wish to escape discovery and will avoid a house equipped with a security system for fear of setting off an alarm or activating a motion-activated surveillance camera. Many home security systems, in addition to burglar alarms, contain smoke detectors, which can help preserve your house from fire damage by sounding an alert if a fire breaks out.
How to Secure Your Home-Based Business, Step by Step
1. Putting up a Home Security System
Once you’ve decided to safeguard your house, you’ll need to select what kind of system you want. Security systems can be wired or wireless, professional or do-it-yourself, monitored or unmonitored. You may either engage a professional security firm to install a wired or wireless system, or you can do it yourself. The sort of system you want is determined by your budget and the value of the property you wish to safeguard.
Consider if you have the time, interest, and technical competence to install and maintain a system yourself when deciding between an installed product and a DIY system. You should also think about whether you want to sign a long-term contract.
Several of the following components are found in many security systems:
- Motion sensors: These are devices that detect unexpected movement. Also used to turn on cameras and lighting.
- Cameras: These can be indoors, outside, or both. When the motion sensor or the doorbell button is pressed, the doorbell camera is activated.
- When a door or window is opened, intrusion sensors are activated.
- Glass break detectors: These devices are activated when a glass door or window pane is damaged.
- The keypad is used to control the system.
- Some security firms sell extras like panic buttons, key fobs, and smart locks. The pricing of your system will be determined by the choices you select. For example, Simplisafe sells a simple DIY system for approximately $200 and charges an additional $14.99 per month for monitoring services with no obligation. 2 If you want a longer-term commitment with a higher initial investment, you may get an installed wireless system from ADT, which costs a minimum of $1,613 to $2,477 over a three-year contract and includes 24/7 monitoring.
With a home-based business, the level of protection required at your house rises. Consider implementing the following to safeguard your company’s (and home’s) valuables:
- A simple intercom system. Speak with an employee in another room or a customer at the door.
- Alarms for intruders. With 24/7 business security monitoring, business alarm systems safeguard your assets at all times, whether you are at home conducting business, on vacation, or out on a trip.
- Carbon monoxide detectors, fire alarms, and water detectors are all available. Protect your personal possessions and business equipment against environmental threats like fires and floods.
- IP cameras are used for video surveillance. Video surveillance systems provide an extra set of eyes in areas/rooms containing valuable or fragile equipment and papers (e.g. computers or financial data). Storing video documentation on a local network video recorder (NVR) or remote storage, such as a Cloud-based system, is critical to ensure that you have the information when you need it.
- Control of the system via a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Control your security systems and gadgets from the road or another room in your house.
If you opt to have a system installed by a professional security firm, make sure to properly read the contract before signing it. It may encounter unexpected surprises, such as a significant penalty for early termination.
2. Keep Your Information Safe
You, like other company owners, most likely use a computer to communicate and receive data from customers as well as to store electronic documents such as invoices, sales receipts, and tax statements. It is critical to safeguard the information on your computer, especially if it contains personally identifiable information (PII) such as customer names, addresses, and credit card numbers. Because PII is important to identity thieves, you should take extra precautions to protect it.
Verizon discovered that small companies are the target of 43 percent of all cyber assaults in its 2019 data breach report.
Take the following simple steps to safeguard your company against vulnerability:
- Invest in good security software to prevent viruses and malware from infiltrating your computer.
- To protect your internet connection, install a firewall.
- Backup your computer files on a regular basis to the cloud or an external place.
- Ascertain that your Wi-Fi network is safe, encrypted, and concealed.
- Speak with your bank or processor to confirm that they are utilising the most reliable and verified technologies and anti-fraud services.
Small companies should take the following steps to avoid being hacked, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC):
- Install firewall, antivirus, and malware software, as well as execute regular updates, to keep computers clean and working smoothly.
- Encrypt Wi-Fi connections and sensitive data so hackers can’t interpret important information.
- Back up physical files to the cloud.
- Make strong passwords that you update every three months.
- If you have workers, make sure they are well-versed in security best practises, especially if they work remotely.
- Consider hosting corporate and personal devices on different networks. If only one network is compromised, attackers will not be able to access both corporate and personal information.
3. Examine Your Insurance
While a security system can discourage thieves and hackers from breaking into your house or company, it cannot prevent events such as fires and windstorms from causing harm to your property. For these reasons, you should insure your home-based business. Don’t assume that your homes insurance will cover your business-related activities and property. Speak with your insurer to see if you require additional coverage.
Many insurers provide a reduction on premiums for houses and businesses that have security equipment such as deadbolt locks, burglar alarms, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, and fire alarms.
Your homes insurance provider may be prepared to insure your commercial operations by including endorsements into your policy. If not, you can get an in-home business coverage or a business owners package policy. The ideal choice for you is determined by your company’s size, nature, and complexity, as well as the cost of coverage.
In addition, ask yourself questions like:
- What are the most valuable assets in my company?
- How often do I work from home as opposed to a remote office, coffee shop, or client’s office?
- Are clients or workers coming to my house on a regular basis?
- Is company data kept at home or at a remote location?
- Is the location of my home more vulnerable to theft or robbery?
- How many staff, if any, do I have?