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How To Secure Your Home Office For The Holidays

By Mark Landsbaum

 

‘Tis the season to get ripped off, if you’re not careful.

Home offices are notoriously security challenged. There are no armed, uniformed guards. No sign-in, sign-out routines or employee passes. Barred windows are atypical.

Yet, your home-based business has much – perhaps everything – to lose. During the holidays, increased visitors and disrupted schedules only heighten the vulnerability.

Burglars have more incentive during the holidays, with folks out of the house shopping and gifts stacked in closets. Holiday parties attract strangers. Children have the run of the place, with their friends.

What’s a beleaguered home office worker to do? What precautions can you take? The answer is, do what you should do all year round, except more so. Follow these guidelines:

DON’T
  • Don’t signal that you’re thief-friendly. If you close your home business, don’t pepper the Internet with e-mails announcing it.

  • Don’t change your voice mail message to, “We won’t be here for a week, come on in!” Try a message such as, “The holidays are extremely busy, and it may be a few days before we can return your call…” The larceny-minded won’t risk busting in if they think someone is home. Burglars prefer easy pickings, not guessing games.

  • Don’t flaunt goodies that tempt thievery. When holiday parties are in progress, close off the office portion of your home to conceal tech equipment.

  • Don’t heap up holiday packages under the tree.

  • Don’t leave garage doors or fence gates unlocked.

DO

  • Stop mail and newspaper delivery if you’ll be away for a while.

  • Use steel cable systems that anchor computers and equipment. They’re inexpensive and effective. They can’t be removed without damaging equipment.

  • Consider using an electronic home security system that monitors doors and windows. Some connect to a private security company’s computers and even local police.

  • The poor man’s option – don’t spread this around – is faux decals printed up cheaply for windows announcing, “This house is protected by such and such security system.”

  • Mount dummy cameras above entry points, visible from the ground, to give the effect of video surveillance. The suspicion that they’re under surveillance can be all that’s required to deter burglars.

  • Use automatic timers to turn on lights and radios to give the appearance that someone is present in your home and your home office.

  • Ask delivery services not to leave packages on the stoop, or open an account with private services such as Mail Boxes Etc.

  • Close and lock windows. For a dollar or two, you can get steel window-locking mechanisms. Finally, holiday season or not, a big dog is always effective.

LEARN MORE

Find out how to protect your home office all year long with the free online Success Skills Seminar “Make Your Home Office Secure.” It’s online now at www.EntrepreneurialConnection.com. You’ll learn about:

  • Conducting a security audit

  • Securing your premises

  • Installing alarm systems

  • Securing your data

  • Insuring your home business

 

Mark Landsbaum is a freelance writer, author, journalism instructor and avowed pack rat. He has every document he’s ever written, touched or read filed not-so-neatly away in the eventuality he may some day need to retrieve them.