In the first series of the Small Business Success GIO presents instalment nine: ‘Securing the Home Office for less than $100.’
Working from home as part of a small business, or remotely operating for a company from a home office can be beneficial for a number of factors: home/work lifestyle balance, managing family commitments, cutting commuting time and costs, and working more productively overall. It is estimated that almost 70 percent of Australian and U.S. businesses are home-based, pushing the need for more discussion around protecting the environment of the home office and treating it as a vulnerable space to thieves and burglar.
Business owners need to treat their home office as they would any other business premise; safekeeping sensitive documents, theft-proofing their site, and employing common sense tactics to ensure their livelihood and intellectual property is protected from thieves. For those budget-conscious owners, there are a number of ways to safe-proof their home office cheaply and diligently. GIO, leading Australians in small business insurance presents a guide for small, home-operating businesses wanting to safeproof their office premises within the home – and all for less than $100.
- Cost Free Measures
The last thing business owners want is to unknowingly showcase their electrical goods as a shop front display, with laptops and mobile phones in full spectrum. For key rooms make sure mobile electrical items, such as laptops, are stored away and removed from desks and bench tops. If blinds are open make sure ‘big ticket’ items are not in view from the outside; for instance high end digital production and printing equipment.
Regular external house upkeep will make the home look occupied. If there has been a recent purchase of an electrical or large expense item, be sure to conceal its original box if outside. A new Mac Pro cardboard housing resting next to the bin is an obvious welcome sign to thieves.
- $1 – $20
Fake Security Stickers
Calling the bluff of the thief is best preventative measure – if it’s possible to ward off entry into the house then the rest is secondary prevention. Replica security stickers for home windows can be bought for as little as $1 on eBay and can be placed on target windows and doors around the home.
An extremely cheap and mobile security device which can be bought online for under $10. The alarm is designed to be wedged under a door and has a sensitivity reading to screech when pushed. It is the same size as a normal, plastic door wedge and is cheap enough to use throughout the whole home.
These should be fixed to sheds, gates, letterboxes and anywhere where there is a passageway to goods or an external area of the house. Ensure that locks are high security padlocks that cannot be easily removed and do not corrode easily. With the increase of identity theft it is important to lock the home mailbox as sensitive documentation, such as company banking, can be taken easily.
Imitation Security Camera
This is a step above the replica security sticker measure but is designed for the more central entrance areas of the home and can be bought to look very authentic with an LED light. These can bought in a variety of styles online from eBay for less than $20.
- $20 – $50
Door Security Bar
These range in style and price dramatically. A simple model, designed to barricade a door through a latch mechanism, can cost around $50. Suitability is aimed at dwellings positioned on main roads or high risk break-in areas.
This is a secondary measure but is still important in terms of preventing thieves pawning goods which have already been branded with owner’s details. These items also become easier to trace by police once stolen. The Australian Police service recommended creating a personal code based on the first and last initial of the individual’s name, DOB, and state of residence, ie John Smith would be JS01011975Q.
- $51 – $100
Dead Latch & Bolts
Similarly to security bars, dead bolts and locks can vary in price and style considerably but an average brass, circular lock can be bought for around $50 – $60 for standard door fitting. When latches then move into the double bolt size this is when the price can jump beyond $100. Bunnings offers a free online guide on ‘How to Install a Deadbolt Lock’ simply and cost effectively.
Investing in a fireproof safe is a secondary preventative measure but could be a wise investment to safeguard essential business items such as cheque books, petty cash or float, spare fob and keys, sensitive documentation, and backup drives. It also acts to protect your personal documents during a fire and can cost up to $100.
A microdot is about the size of a grain of sand and is used as an identification thumb print to deter theft on high risk items such as jewelry, bicycles, tools, and mp3 players. A home microdot technology kit can be bought for $75 which details 15-30 items and can be bought from DataDotDNA
A security light is ideal for rear doors prone to thieve movement and can range in design and price. A Guardian two tier motion-censored light can be bought for $70 as a basic preventive theft measure.
Basic Security System
For those on a budget, a basic home security system can be bought online for under $100, operating as a wireless device and can be installed easily by the owner.
With a growing number of people working from home there is even more need for workers to safe-proof their offices, as they would for the rest of their home. Small, home-based businesses operate with expensive equipment; laptops, mobile phones, monitors, and digital cameras are all hot ticket items for thieves. Small preventative measures like applying security stickers and dead bolts could protect your business assets.