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Getting a large scary dog with a loud scary bark might be an effective way to secure your home office, but it wouldn't be conducive to creating a pleasant working atmosphere! For those of us who work from home, finding effective and cost-effective ways to protect our precious work equipment can be a challenge but luckily there are lots of practical things you can do.
Looking at your home through the eyes of a burglar can be alarming, but it can definitely help you to make some simple improvements. Victims of crime can request a visit from Crimestoppers, a division of the police who can advise on changes you can make to your particular property. Go around the garden first, if you have one. Can walls, fences, and hedges be easily vaulted over? Plant high spiky plants to address this. Make sure tools or anything that could be climbed on to reach a window are securely locked away. Make sure all windows and doors have secure locks. French windows should have top and bottom bolts. Don't leave valuable equipment in view. Keep curtains and blinds closed, fully covering the windows, so that people cannot peek in to see your expensive and all-important computers and workstations. Vulnerable entrances, side windows, and doors which aren't overlooked, need extra protection. Consider extra bolts or reinforcing smashable wood and glass. Add a security light by any vulnerable entrances.
It isn't just malicious actions that can lead to irreplaceable equipment or information being lost or destroyed, accidents can all too easily happen. It is well worth investing in external hard-drives and USB sticks to regularly create back-ups on.
Whether you need an alarm code or a password to access a computer, make it as complicated as possible! Don't use your birthday and do mix it up with symbols as well as letters, wherever possible. Of course, complicated passwords can create problems for our leaky memories, so devise a mnemonic to memorise them and save your code or backup reminders on an encrypted USB stick. Change your passwords and codes on a regular basis.
Hidden cameras and other monitoring devices with remote viewers do not only allow you to view your home from afar for the reassurance that all is well, they provide you with backup evidence should anything go wrong. More importantly, they also are proven to act as a deterrent to intruders. It is well worth monitoring the exterior and interior of the building. An outdoor HD night camera will definitely provide peace of mind. A night dome recorder is perfect for surveillance inside, monitoring valuables or doorways. They simply plug into mains or USB sockets and have the choice of motion detection or continuous recording modes. Whatever CCTV or recording device you have, and even if you haven't invested in this yet, do put up signs stating that the property is being monitored this is a highly effective deterrent.
If you're a home worker, you'll probably have rather erratic working hours, which means that anyone casing the joint will find it difficult to assess when the property is empty. But everyone leaves their home office at some point and that is when it will be most vulnerable. You can make the property seem occupied by investing in timed light switches setting them to go on and off as if someone is there to switch them on. You might also wish to leave a radio playing at a volume which can be heard outside.
You can use UV pens or labels to make it clear to potential thieves that your property has been marked. This will make the goods less valuable because they will be harder to sell on, therefore less attractive items to steal.
Monitoring equipment is excellent, but there's nothing like having humans keeping guard and keeping you up to date. Get to know your near neighbours and look after one another, swapping contact details and keeping in touch if anything untoward happens, or if alarms go off.