More and more of our customers either work from home or bring work home to an office than ever before. Many people consider business security a different animal from home security. However, the presence of a home office blurs this distinction. When we design home security systems, we make sure to ask which areas of the house require special attention. Without fail, customers with home offices ask us for recommendations to beef up security in these areas. In this post, we will share some important methods that we suggest in order to improve home office security.
Add Additional Security System Hardware
Burglars often look for money, electronics, and valuables while inside a victim’s house. This makes office security a special priority for two reasons. First and foremost, offices often contain these items, making them a specific target for burglars. In addition, the presence of such important items means that an office break in would create even more damage than a typical home burglary. For these reasons, we often suggest adding additional security system devices to home offices. A dedicated office motion detector, for example, can provide a closer watch over your office electronics than a centrally located motion detector in a hallway or other central location. Adding window sensors to office windows can catch potential burglars even more quickly.
In addition to making it harder to enter an office, you should also add equipment to track entry to the office even when your security system is disarmed. We’ve outlined several different uses for contact sensors in our post on Unconventional Uses for Contact Sensors. In this case, adding contact sensors to all office doors (as well as on drawers and closets within the office itself) allows you to track people entering and within the office.
This is especially helpful when used in tandem with an interactive cellular dialer, such as ours powered by Alarm.com. Now if anyone opens an office door, you will receive an alert on your smart phone that lets you know. You can also receive an alert if someone leaves the office door open. If you do not receive an alert, you now have the peace of mind that when you go back to your office, everything will be as you left it.
Choose Locks That Add Security
Our post 6 Ways to Improve Door Security should help you hone in on how to make your office more difficult to enter. While that post focused mainly on exterior doors, consider using those same techniques to secure all office entry doors, including interior doors. Adding a doorknob with a lock or a deadbolt makes it so that anyone entering the office now needs a key to do so. This can make it harder for guests or anyone already in the house to intrude on your home office. It also helps add security in the case of a break-in. Burglars do not like to spend more than a few minutes in a home. Any bit of security that makes their next move more difficult can minimize the damage done by a break-in.
A keypad smart lock adds additional office security and tracking information. In addition to making office doors more secure, these locks can track which code was used to unlock it, and when. You can also use your phone to unlock these doors. This is very handy if you want to let someone in the office for a brief period of time, but do not wish to give out a code. No matter what type of lock option you choose, we always recommend adding locks to office doors to provide additional security.
Install a Safe
Safes can hide and shield the things that burglars covet most when they break into an office. People often use safes to keep money, important records and documents, and valuables such as jewelry or antique coins out of the wrong hands. Because offices often contain these items, many of our safe installations take place in offices. Make sure to follow our 10 Best Practices for Safes while choosing and installing the safe as well. Many people make mistakes during this process that hurt office security more than helping it. For example, buying a safe but failing to bolt it down to your floor simply invites burglars to walk off with your safe in hand. Doing this ensures the loss of both your safe and your valuables with potentially very little effort on the intruder’s part.
Of course, the presence of a safe in the room can attract immediate attention. If you plan on storing relatively small items in your safe, consider purchasing a wall safe that burglars will not be able to easily locate. To install a wall safe, we cut a square hole in the drywall and install the safe itself between the wall studs. You can then use a picture or mirror to cover the safe. This setup makes the safe both hard to find and hard to steal without a great amount of effort. Other safes have their own specific purposes. Fire and burglary-specific safes, for example, are designed with exactly those threats in mind. Some safes offer security against both fire and a tool or torch attack by a burglar. When choosing a safe, keep in mind both what dangers you wish to guard against and what items you wish to lock up.
Use Monitored Fire Detection in Your Office
You can surely imagine the devastation a fire would cause at your home or your place of employment. If you have a home office, a home fire would affect your life in an especially profound manner. In a way, a home office fire is two disasters in one, affecting both your home and work life in one fell swoop. We recommend monitored smoke detection to help combat this threat. If you are away from home, a fire will now create an automatic response from the fire station. This can mean the difference between losing and saving the valuable materials stored in your home office. More importantly, these detectors can save your life if you are caught in a burning home.
In addition, adding monitored fire detection usually comes with a home insurance discount. Having monitored smoke detection in your home does not usually add any cost to your monthly monitoring fee. Therefore, the only cost to add this detection is the cost of the equipment itself. In some cases, your additional home insurance discount pays back the equipment cost within just a year or two. After the equipment is paid off, you are actually saving money by adding monitored fire detection. The combination of additional safety and economic efficiency make this decision a no-brainer.
Keep Watch Over Your Office with a Camera System
Cameras can add security to your home in many ways, which is why we included them among our Important Security System Add-Ons for Your Smart Home. Adding cameras to watch your home office has multiple benefits. A home office surveillance system will keep an eye on your most valuable equipment, records, and valuables at all times. If anything does go wrong inside your office, you will have the ability to see exactly what happened and when. Furthermore, we can connect your surveillance system to your home’s internet network. While away from home, you can always use your cameras to look at your office in real time. Any computer, smart phone, or tablet will provide this ability at any time.
In addition, your camera acts as a theft deterrent. Whether inside or outside of your office, cameras do a great job scaring away potential thieves. Of course, preventing a crime is very much preferable to helping solve one that’s already been committed. Cameras can certainly help prevent a burglary, and if worse comes to worse, help you catch those responsible.
Creating a Complete Home Office Security Picture
This post should help you determine some specific steps you can take to improve your own home office security. If you wish to implement any of these ideas, or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will perform a free site survey to diagnose any vulnerable areas in your home office. From there, we will work with you to create a plan for maximizing office security. Whether you work from home full-time or just occasionally bring work back from the office, now you can do so knowing that you are not sacrificing any security by working from the comfort of your home.
Cover Photo Credit: Jeremy Levine on Flickr. Used under the CC BY 2.0 License.