Everyone is likely aware of the huge benefits that a home business brings, such as a relaxing work environment, zero commuting (unless you consider the bed to the desk a commute), as well as the obvious tax write-offs on many office supplies and materials! However, you’re still a business and therefore require professionalism and knowledge surrounding topics such as insurance, physical security, backups, and of course, cybersecurity.
Here is what each and every home business should be aware of regarding the world of security.
The space around you
For anyone who works in an office, there is usually someone else who deals with all the health and safety compliance, but at a home business, it’s all down to you. Not that it’s particularly hard to understand, it’s simply an area which needs some thought to avoid accidents and damaged equipment. Placing expensive and fragile items close to doorways and windows on the ground level is a no-no, as these can be easily damaged either by clumsy humans or the natural elements.
As well, never take a “should be okay” stance on whether a table or shelf is strong enough to support equipment – ensure it’s a “definitely will be fine” stance. Finally, make sure any electrical items, outlets, or cables aren’t within range of potential spillages, such as right next to your desk, as fire is a big threat you’ll need to be aware of.
Security features: locks and surveillance
You might feel that as your business isn’t Apple or Sony, then no one will want to steal anything, but don’t be fooled: people can steal anything from anyone. You’re a business which still has legal requirements to safeguard customers’ information, so this is not an area to skimp on. Sturdy locks on cabinets and doors are a given, but security cameras should ideally be installed in strategic locations, preferably inside and outside your home business. Look into setting up security cameras right away, as it may well be something to prevent thieves.
Different types of insurance
While insurance is never the most fun thing to discuss, it is arguably the most important. General liability insurance is a big one, because if an accident takes place on your premises by a third party, then you might find a lawsuit filed against you. Home and contents insurance is another must-have, as is errors and omissions insurance, but see this insurance list for more tips.
Another insurance to think about is mobile phone insurance, due to the fact that freelancers and small businesses alike are going to be very dependent upon a functioning phone. No small business needs the unnecessary expense of buying a new smartphone, so look into reliable providers like simplesurance regarding insurance for phones, as it might be stolen or damaged even outside your premises.
In the event of hardware damage, software malfunction, viruses, or even hacking, every small business should consider cloud services in order to back up data. As online criminals are a very real threat in our day and age, taking the right precautions to save your own skin and your customers’ data is imperative. Cloud backup options like IDrive, Acronis, and Carbonite all come highly recommended.
Other cybersecurity methods include not giving out details to strangers (especially when you’re not expecting a payment) on the phone or via email, even if they say that they are from a bank or tax office. Unique passwords for all your accounts are necessary and should be changed every three months or so – you could use a management tool like LastPass to help keep track of passwords. Ransomware is unfortunately quite common even for small businesses, so never make it easy for hackers.
Taking all these preventive steps might seem like a lot of effort right now, but they are always worth it in the long-run!