Home Office Safety and Security Week starts on January 13th and it’s a good time to review your business precautions. Follow these tips to keep you and your business safe and secure.
Create A Fire Escape Plan
If you haven’t created and tested a home fire escape plan, it’s time to do so. Don’t forget to include the best way to get out of your office if fire breaks out, including an alternative escape route.
Check Electrical Connections
Home offices usually have plenty of gadgets that need electricity. Ensure all your devices rely on properly grounded wall outlets or UL approved power strips. Don’t overload outlets and extension cords with multiple devices. Tuck extension cords away from pathways to avoid trips and falls.
Clear the Clutter
Piles of papers, stacks of boxes, and a desk overflowing with clutter are not only unsightly – they’re dangerous. They increase fire and tripping risk. Store items neatly, away from electronics, and out of pathways.
Install a Lock
If you have children in your household, install a lock on your office. Telling them to stay out often makes them very curious and they could injure themselves if you’re not around. Install a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector nearby too.
Secure Your Data
Many business owners choose free anti-virus protection to try to save money. It might be fine for a home computer, but do you really want to risk your business data?
Paid protection offers cloud backup, current virus updates, and customer support when you need it. Backup data regularly and store confidential files in password protected files.
At the very least, update your anti-virus, firewall, and all software. If you connect to your devices from mobile, ensure they have protection too. Mobile malware is the fastest growing cause of cybercrime.
Change Your Passwords
Yes it’s hard to remember passwords, but they’re also a key security consideration. When you rely on the same password or choose a weak one because it’s easy to remember, you’re inviting disaster.
If you don’t want to continually change passwords, consider a password manager. Input all your passwords into one program and then change the master password easily whenever needed. It takes time initially, but improves security and saves time over the long-term.
Dispose of Data Safely
Even though electronic files dominate the business landscape today, we still have paper documents. Shred old documents and dispose of data storage units properly. Deleting data isn’t sufficient.
The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team describes best practices for hard drive disposal including old cellphones and tablets.
Don’t rely on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for proper business protection. Most residential policies exclude claims for business-related damage or have very low limits for property.
Discuss your needs with your insurance agent. They will tailor coverage to your needs to minimize your expense.
Workplace safety is always important, but particularly when your office is in your home. Follow these tips to keep your business and family safe throughout the year.