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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

Traveling for the Holidays? Tips for Keeping Your Office Secure

Are you a small business owner looking forward to visiting with your family over the holidays? Or, perhaps you're going on a hard-earned vacation. Whatever your reason for traveling, if you're leaving your business unattended, it's important to make sure that both your physical and your virtual office are secure for the duration of your trip.

Business owner entering their office security code.

Secure Your Premises

  • Ensure adequate lighting. Bright internal and external lighting —especially near windows and doors —can deter burglars and other criminals, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Instead of leaving the lights on 24/7, it's advisable to put them on a timer to simulate normal business activity.
  • Check the locks. Make sure that all window and door locks are strong and functioning properly. For external doors, deadbolts are preferable. Before you leave, double check that all windows and doors are properly locked.
  • Power off all devices. Instead of leaving computers, printers and other devices on standby, power them down. In addition, password protect computers, laptops and any other devices that store data so that in the event anyone does break in, it will be more difficult for them to access information.
  • Install a good security system. There are security systems that monitor your premises using sensors and cameras, allow you to access the video feed remotely and send automatic alerts for breaches. Depending on your budget, you can also hire a security company to monitor the premises for you. Note that if you position the security cameras in a way that they're easily spotted, their presence alone can be a deterrent for burglars.
  • Install a safe. Forbes advises installing a heavy safe that's concealed and bolted to the floor. That will enable you to store sensitive documents, money and other valuables in a place that's challenging for burglars to locate and access.
  • Ask neighbors to keep an eye out for unusual activity. Often, criminals scope out a business for a few days before actually breaking in. Ask neighboring business owners to alert you if they see anything out of the ordinary, such as someone observing your business from a car or trying to look in the windows.
  • Don't publicize the fact that you're away. Whether it's a note on the door or a message on your social media page, announcing that you're out of town can encourage criminals to target your business.

Secure Your Virtual Office

If you're like most business owners, you'll bring your laptop and phone with you while you're traveling —and if they contain any business data, you need to protect them, too.

  • Minimize unauthorized access to your devices. Lock and password protect your devices. If possible, enable two-factor authentication.
  • Enable encryption. It's wise to encrypt your devices so the data stored on them can't be deciphered without the password.
  • Use a VPN service. Instead of using any public or untrusted Wi-Fi networks, invest in a VPN service that ensures an encrypted, safe connection whenever you're online.

Properly securing both your physical and your virtual office while you're traveling will go a long way toward protecting your business. And that, in turn, will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your trip so you can return to the office rested and relaxed once the holidays are over.

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