With everything that work-at-home professionals and home business owners have on their minds each day, it's easy to overlook business security. Here are 6 basic steps you can take to protect yourself, your property and your information.
1. Use Natural Surveillance
Seeing and being seen is critical to effective security. The more visible your home is from the street, the harder it is for a burglar to hide or escape unnoticed. Keep your shrubbery trimmed so that it doesn't obstruct windows or provide a comfortable hiding spot. The same is true of fences, patio furniture or anything that an intruder could use to stay out of site.
Lighting is another important element of natural surveillance. In particular, you should keep entrances well lit at all times.
Natural Surveillance is one of the four principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). CPTED is a set of design principles that security professionals use to make buildings more resistant to crime. These principles can be applied to everything from high-rise office buildings to private homes. You can read more about CPTED in Physical Security.
2. Prevent Break-ins
If you are going to keep intruders out, then you'll have to protect those windows and doors. Security practices you can easily adopt include installing deadbolt locks and keeping your windows locked. Also, be careful not to leave ladders lying down near your house unless you're inviting a burglar to climb in through a second story window.
See also: Building Security 101
If you need to keep a spare key handy, don't hide it under a welcome mat, flower pot or fake-looking rock. Burglars will look in those "hiding spots" first. Instead, leave a back-up key with trusted neighbor.
3. Install an Alarm System
Physical security measures such as deadbolt locks are designed to keep intruders out. If they get in, however, you need to know about it. A monitored alarm system serves two basic purposes: First, it can trip a siren that will scare an intruder away; Second, it alerts law enforcement professionals who can respond to your break-in.
See also: Understanding Your Security System
4. Practice Computer Protection
Experts estimate that an unprotected computer will be infected within 10 minutes of connecting to the Internet. The stakes are high, because computer hacking has grown into a vast, aggressive business. Without computer protection practices, you are leaving your computers and the information they store at risk.
See also: How Cybercrime Pays
At the bare minimum you should use a software firewall, up-date-antivirus software, and strong passwords. And if you every need to dispose of a hard drive, make sure that you destroy it or erase it completely. You can read more about computer protection in Information Security
5. Prepare a Disaster Recovery Plan
The first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 closed 350 businesses. 150 never re-opened. Other events such as widespread illness, vendor shut-downs, floods, earthquakes and fires can shut your home office down as well. The question is, How quickly could you get back to work?
Planning is the key to staying in business. You need to create a document that details how your business will recover from a catastrophic event. All businesses need a disaster recovery plan, but few know how to write one. The best way to get started now is to read Jim Bucki's How to Write a Disaster Recovery Plan.
See also: Starting Your Business Continuity Plan
6. Learn About Key Control
Do you every loan your keys to contractors or workers? Can someone make copies of your keys without your permission? With so much attention paid to high tech threats, it’s easy to forget that those little metal keys can make you pretty vulnerable, too. For this reason, you should be extremely cautious about who gets a hold of your keys. You may also want to consider patented key systems such as those offered by Medeco and Schlage to prevent someone from making unauthorized copies.
See also: Don't Ignore Key Control