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4 Great Gadgets to Help Protect Your Home Office To keep your expensive work equipment out of the hands of burglars, try these affordable, DIY security options.

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Security is a serious concern for home-based telecommuters and small-business owners everywhere -- especially in a world where a burglary occurs every 15 seconds or so.

We store expensive, mission-critical work on equipment in our homes. Or we access that work in the cloud via said equipment. Yet, we often fail to properly secure it from burglars' thieving hands. (I learned this hard way: A few years ago, robbers broke into my home office through a cracked window and stole my work laptop, which I left on and right out in the open.)

Related: 4 Things No One Tells You About 'Entrepreneur-ing' From Home

Without our smartphones, tablets, computers and printers/scanners at arm's reach, most of us couldn't make a decent living from home. Simply stashing your electronic valuables and other essential work items (product inventory, proprietary files, etc.) in a dresser drawer when you're away doesn't cut it.

Luckily there are plenty of high-tech, DIY security options available to help protect your home office -- and your livelihood -- without breaking the bank. Here are four:


1. Keep an eye on your office with Piper nv

For keeping a constant digital eye (and ear) on your home office when you're away -- direct from your Android or Apple smartphone or tablet -- Piper nv has you covered. Whether you've gone on a quick Staples run or you're out of town on a business trip, this wireless, all-in-one surveillance system enables you to keep an eye on your home office 24/7.

Related: 8 Essentials to Get the Most Out of Working From Home

The Wi-Fi-connected device, equipped with a built-in 180-degree, 1080p HD camera, allows you to view and control a live video stream of your home, even at night when it's dark. You can choose from three customizable security modes -- home, away and vacation. In the event of a break-in, Piper will sound an ear-splitting 105-decibel siren and immediately notify you via text message or email. At which point you can check the video feed from your mobile device and determine whether to call a neighbor or the police, or hope that it's just your teenager snooping around your office again.

Related: It's Time to Let Go of These Work-From-Home Myths

Another similar DIY home monitoring system is called Canary. Launched recently on Indiegogo, Canary costs $249.

Bonus: Piper also lets you remotely control your home's lights, temperature and appliances. Using its cool two-way audio feature, you can also talk to people in your home office -- employees, perhaps -- through Piper's mobile app. If you have a door or window that's out of the Piper's sight, you can slap a sensor on it and it will notify you when said door or window is opened or broken into.

Piper nv was announced this year at CES and is expected to start shipping later this month.

Price: $269, no monthly service fees


2. Give your door an upgrade with the August Smart Lock

Forget old-school door locks. They're easy to pick and require easily-misplaced and copied keys. The August Smart Lock doesn't. It's a Bluetooth keyless door-securing device that gives your existing thumb latch deadbolt a high-tech upgrade. Stylishly encased in matte aluminum, the device lets you lock and unlock your home office door (or any other door) right from your Apple or Android device.

Related: 5 Great Gadgets for Entrepreneurs Revealed at CES 2015

Even cooler, August Smart Lock offers a visitor feature that allows you to control precisely who can and can't enter the door -- and when they can or can't -- via encrypted virtual "keys." No easy to forget codes necessary. Forget to lock the door behind yourself from time to time? No problem. August will auto-lock it for you. It also automatically unlocks upon your approach.

If you want a lock that completely reimagines the traditional door locking system, consider a Haven smart lock (also controlled via a mobile device). Not your typical smart lock, the sturdy, wide nylon/aluminum/steel interior floor unit stops your door from being opened -- from the bottom, as in literally from the floor.

Related: How to Design the Ideal Home Office

But for simply giving your door locks an upgrade, the August Smart Lock should more than suffice.

Price: $249


3. Lock it up with a Barksa Biometric Fingerprint Safe

Even in the age of digital communications and cloud computing, there are still many kinds of hard-copy documents that are worth hanging on to and carefully safeguarding: Passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, Social Security cards, living wills and the like. The best place to store the most sensitive ones at your home office is in a fireproof safe. But not just any safe -- a biometric lock box that can be unlocked with your one-of-a-kind fingerprints, like the Barksa Biometric Fingerprint Safe.

Related: Protecting Your Business's Assets With a Safe

The 25-pound, bolted black box is big enough to stash plenty of paperwork and valuables in, but small enough to easily hide. It stores up to 30 different fingerprints, which is, forgive the pun, handy if you want to give multiple people access to it. Metal backup keys come with the safe, just in case.

Price: $199


4. Deter theft with the Kensington ClickSafe Keyed Laptop Lock

If you regularly leave your laptop behind in your home office when you're out (or in a hotel room while you're traveling), securing it with a Kensington ClickSafe Keyed Laptop Lock can offer peace of mind.

Related: 10 Data-Security Measures You Can't Do Without

Yes, we're talking inserting this basic, disk-style lock into your laptop's lock slot, then attaching the lock's durable steel, 5-foot, 8-inch cable to an immovable object, like a heavy desk or filing cabinet. Securing the tamper-proof lock is easy, a one-click deal. Two keys come with the lock.

Locking up your laptop this way is lot like locking up your bike. It may not look cool, but it gets the job done -- so you can continue to get yours done.

Price: $44

Related: Protecting Your Business's Assets With a Safe

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

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