Your home may be your castle, but just how safe and secure is your home office? As the number of home-based businesses and telecommuting workers continues to grow, so do the number of homes with computers and other equipment that might be attractive to thieves or that could be destroyed in the event of a fire or natural disaster. Consider these tips for protecting your home office:
Today’s alarm systems can do much more than simply notify police in the event of a break-in. They can monitor your home for fire, water damage, and even power failures. Systems can be zoned to offer different levels of protection in different sections of your house. Chimes can alert you to the opening of exterior doors and windows–particularly important if you work alone in a large house. Closed-circuit cameras allow you to see who is at your door before you open it; for even more advanced notice, a driveway annunciator can sound an interior chime when a vehicle pulls onto your property. Fixed or portable panic buttons can be programmed to notify police with or without an audible alarm.
If you decide to install a security system, shop carefully before making a final decision. Though they are becoming increasingly affordable, price should be only a small part of your decision. Find out how long the company has been in business; if they have a local office; how their service is handled; how installers and technicians are trained and if they are insured and bonded. Ask about the system’s warranty, the cost of monitoring, and the length of contract. Get statistics on the company’s history of apprehensions and scare-offs, and ask how many times their system has been beaten. Finally, ask for and check references.