There are few things you’ll do that are more important than choosing a security system for your business’s home office. All of the concerns you’d have about protecting your home are coupled by the absolute necessity of keeping your business safe and sound. Working where you live and living where you work come with amazing benefits–but it also doubles your security concerns.

Follow these guidelines when choosing the system that’s right for you.

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A modern alarm system can protect your home and business from most threats and emergencies.

1. Prevent Crime

Unless your business computer contains Google’s secret algorithms, chances are a burglar wouldn’t target your home office just to get at your company secrets. If you are burglarized, it’s likely that you’ll fall into the same category of the overwhelming majority of break-ins: crimes of opportunity.

One of the best ways to prevent a crime before it ever happens to have a visible, unmistakable sticker on your window, sign in your yard, or both, indicating that your home office is protected. Criminals, above all else, don’t want to get caught. If they see the sticker, they’re likely to move along to a softer target instead of testing the mettle of your alarm system.

2. Alert the Authorities

For your home office, a system that alerts the appropriate authorities for you in case of an emergency is a must. A monitoring center receives a call that a break-in or a fire or some other issue has arisen; they call you to see if you accidentally tripped the alarm, and if you don’t respond, they let emergency services know what’s going on and where.

If you’re asleep, not home, or unable to get to the phone — which is the case in so many burglaries or fires — your security system has failed if it hasn’t notified first responders for you.

3. Laptop Tracking

For your home office, your computers are your world. Even if it’s thoroughly backed up, a stolen computer brings an infinite number of headaches and security breaches. Everything from sensitive payroll data to plans for future expansion to private email correspondence are now exposed — not to mention the monetary loss.

Some home security systems offer laptop tracking the same way that some cars come with vehicle-recovery homing systems. Secretly embedded into your computer, the thief will have his every move tracked by the security company until the cops can zero in on him.

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A dog and a gun — or all the locks in the world — can’t help you if you’re not home. Get an alarm system that will alert the authorities for you.

4. Water Damage

Water detection is one of the main extras that people opt out of when purchasing a home security system. Often seen as an unnecessary expense, many homeowners feel more than comfortable going with a system that protects them against fire, carbon monoxide gas, and burglary.

Water damage is a horribly underrated risk and expense. It happens more than most homeowners think, and it can be as expensive to repair as fire damage. This has never been more true than with a home office. Computers, disks, files, papers, documents, supplies, and everything else it takes to keep your business going is susceptible to water damage. Modern systems can detect rising water from both floods and internal sources like broken pipes.

5. Motion Detection and Cameras

As previously stated, the best alarm system is the one that never gets used. One of the top preventative measures are motion detectors and visible cameras. Alerted by a bright light, the spooked burglar looks in the direction of the light and sees that not only is it shining right on him, but there’s a camera next to it. If for some reason that doesn’t scare him off, recorded video footage is without question the best evidence you can hand to the police who come to investigate.

It’s doubly important to protect your home office. You live there and you earn your livelihood there — keeping it safe must be placed at the top of your to-do list. You have a lot to protect — security is not an area where you can afford to cut corners.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about business, how to choose the best Arizona home security system, and more.

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