Home-Based Business Security Tips

Home-based business security

The following home-based business security tips can help secure you, your home-office and your data while giving you some peace of mind.

  1. Install a security system
    Whether you rent or own your home, buy and use security alarms. Home alarms may not prevent a break in, but they do deter theft and decrease the amount of time a burglar will stay in your home. According to SafeWise “Safety and Home Security Statistics and Facts” homes without a security alarm system are 300% more likely to be broken into, and, burglars will steal more from homes without alarm systems (likely because they can spend more time inside). The article states that the average amount stolen during a break-in from a home with a security system is $3,000 while the average amount stolen from a home without a security system is $5,000.
  2. Make sure your home or rental insurance covers your home-based business
    Don’t assume that your home owner or home renter insurance covers your home-based business equipment and furnishings. Check with the insurer. If home office contents are not covered, find out whether there is a rider you can add to protect home-office belongings.
  3. Consider liability coverage
    Liability coverage is a good idea for all businesses, including home-based businesses. There are three basic types of liability coverage: general liability coverage , business liability coverage and professional liability coverage. Business liability coverage may be more suitable if you own or rent your business offices and have employees. Professional liability will protect you from suits alleging neglect, copyright infringement, or personal injury.  Professional liability is generally more appropriate for home-based business owners that provide services. Some insurers offer packages that combine liability coverage types. Which type of insurance is most suitable for you depends on several factors, including what services or products you sell, whether clients visit your home-based business, and where in the world you provide your services. If you are seeking home or rental insurance, keep in mind that some insurers may deem you ineligible for home or rental insurance if you operate a home-based business and do not have liability coverage.
  4. Always set your computer up with a secure login
    While working from home, you may be tempted set your hard disk and monitor to never turn off and lock you out after an interval of idle time. This may save you some time, but can also have catastrophic results if your home is broken into. Not only can you lose your important data, thieves can steal sensitive client information.
  5. Don’t store client credit card numbers
    For someone that provides services, there is usually no need to keep client credit card numbers. Doing so puts you at risk if someone gets their hands on your client’s credit card information. If a client provides you a credit card number for any reason, write it down, use it, then shred it.
  6. Back up your data
    It nearly goes without saying that you should back up your data. While using your OS’s file backup utility and backing up to your own system is better than nothing, redundant, remote backups are safer. If you have backups of your data ON your system, you are doomed if your system dies. A common scenario is to back up your system and its data to a  NAS (Network Attached Storage) and the cloud (but don’t store personal, sensitive data in the cloud unless it is encrypted). There are many free or low cost backup programs that automate the process. Two such applications are SyncBack and EaseUs ToDo . Read “What’s the Best Way to Backup My Computer” over at How To Geek.
  7. Buy a shredder.
    If you are throwing notes out with your trash or tossing them into your paper recycling bin, stop! While digital data theft is common and what we hear about most these days, document theft is still a cause for concern. Buy a shredder, preferably a cross cut shredder, which makes it nearly impossible to put the paper jigsaw back together again. Get into the habit of shredding sensitive documents.
  8. Be careful what you say and where you say it.
    If you sometimes meet clients at a coffee shop, be careful what you say. If you are discussing the fact that you work from home and mention your business name, you may be giving a would-be thief a loud “coast is clear” message. They know your business name, may be able to get your home address, and more importantly, they know you are not home.
  9. Use secure cloud-based applications.
    Using secure cloud-based applications can help reduce risk. If for example, you store documents securely in the cloud, use cloud-based productivity apps, and small business cloud accounting software like Flare, your data may be more safe if a burglar breaks into your home office.


Your Turn

How do you secure your home-based business? Share your thoughts and tips in comments.

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