By Alice Williams
Operating a home business offers some great advantages, but it can also carry great risks. As a business owner, you assume responsibility for the safety and security of your company. Any accident or break-in threatens not only your personal items and finances, but also the stability of your business.
The potential dangers are both physical and digital: in 2014 there was an average of one burglary every 18.2 seconds and more than 250,000 reported cases of cybercrime. According to Kataku Technology, 62% of cyberattack victims are small- or medium-sized businesses. If you work out of your own home, you can’t afford to get caught by surprise by the myriad dangers targeting your business.
To help you better protect yourself, we’ve recommended six tech tools to secure your home business.
1. Antivirus and Cybersecurity Protection
One of the first things you’ll want to do when setting up your home business is purchase an antivirus software package. Hackers often target small businesses because they have more access to sensitive data than individuals but tend to implement fewer cybersecurity measures than larger companies. Antivirus packages made specifically for small businesses are more robust than packages made for personal use and include additional features like email protection and added security for mobile devices.
2 Home Security System
When your home doubles as your business, the stakes for keeping your house secure are doubled. You’ll need to protect your physical assets as well as your digital assets by protecting both your home and your business with a security system. Home security systems offer a range of features, from motion detectors to professionally monitored indoor and outdoor cameras. Depending on your specific needs and budget for security, you’ll need to decide which options are worth having and which you can do without.
3. Smart Lock
If you have a room dedicated as your home office, you may want to consider investing in a bit of extra security for the room itself: try a smart lock that limits your family’s—and others’—access to your place of business. This can be especially helpful if your home office has a separate entrance that you want to protect. Most smart locks can be controlled via an app on your smartphone and allow you to control who can and cannot enter your office with encrypted virtual keys, keeping your sensitive company information safe from prying eyes.
4 Laptop Lock
Whether or not you add a smart lock to your office door, you may want the extra security of a laptop lock—it’s a low-tech way to deter physical theft of one of your most important devices. Most PCs have a built-in slot for attaching a lock, making it easy to secure your laptop in your home office or on the go. Choose from combination locks, key locks, or even secure docking stations.
5. Fire Resistant Safe
While it may seem a little low-tech, we highly recommend investing in a fire-resistant safe to keep your money, records, tax documents, and other important papers as secure as possible. There’s no such thing as a fully fireproof safe, but you can find safes rated up to several hours of fire resistance. We recommend investing in a safe with a fire-resistance rating of at least 30 minutes—any less won’t provide adequate protection against a home fire. Look for a safe that is secure and large enough to fit your current and future storage needs.
6. Paper Shredder
Even if you do most of your transactions online, you’ll still have hard copies of receipts, invoices, statements, checks, and other documents with sensitive financial information. Don’t risk compromising your account information or that of a client—invest in a paper shredder to keep sensitive documents safe from thieves, dumpster divers, or nosy neighbors. Always shred your tax documents, credit cards, and other sensitive information before throwing them out.
Running your own business is hard enough, don’t take unnecessary risks with your livelihood. Investing in these items will help to keep your business safe and secure.
Alice Williams has written in-depth on a wide variety of topics which include business, technology and social media. She has a masters degree in Communication Studies from San Francisco State University. Follow her at @1alicehw.