The issue of security has come up several times in our discussions about our home based studios and as 57% of the community earn an income working from home we thought it would be helpful for each of us to outline what we do about security.
My studio is in a converted bedroom in the house. However my insurance essentially defined what solutions I needed to take. They asked for 5 lever mortise locks to be fitted on all outside doors, window locks on the windows. I chose to fit a fully monitored alarm system in the house. This has movement detectors in key places in the house like the hall, landing, as well as other places that unwanted guests would have to move through to get anywhere in the house as well as in the studio itself. Whilst the alarm system was going in we also chose to add 3 smoke detectors, including one in the studio, and a panic alarm button too.
Rather than have an alarm system that just made a noise, I chose to have a monitored alarm system, which is connected to the alarm companies own monitoring station so that if the alarm goes off things happen. If the smoke detector is activated the alarm company will call the house, if there isn't a reply they will call the fire brigade. If the panic alarm is pressed they will call the police. If the alarm detects unwanted guests then the alarm company will check with a keyholder to check if all is OK and then if necessary call the police.
This system gives us the security to know that if something does go wrong professionals will be dispatched to resolve the problem.
The studio is in a building at the rear of our garden with the appropriate locks on the doors required by our insurance agreement. I did the whole CCTV thing in my last studio that did catch a theft in the act. The current studio doesn't have the CCTV installed as we don't feel comfortable having the cameras on display inside or out of the studio building as it would look as though valuable items are inside. The house is 15 meters aways from the studio and we have a dog in the house that barks whenever someone is on our property. As much you would think this would be irritating we find it useful - so we keep the dog's bed next to the back door of the house.
Studio? What studio? This is I find one of the best security measures you can make. If people don't know that the studio is there then there is less chance of you having any "security issues". My studio is commonly referred to as "The Shed" even by my wife and I. That way even if one of us says to a neighbour "James is in his shed" it's not an odd thing to start a line of conversation over.
The Alarm. Yes, I do have a separate alarm system for the studio. This is the bells and lights kind and it is monitored, meaning if it goes off the monitoring company are notified and they call the Police (and me) directly. There is a cost to this but it's worth it.
Gate. Like Dan my studio is a building at the bottom of my garden. Other than over three 6ft fences you get to it via my garden. You can either go through the house or through a passage that me and I neighbour share. There is a gate into my garden but there is also a gate at the start of the passage way. Remember "most" break-ins are done by opportunists, so by making it as difficult as possible to get to your studio you are reducing the chances of any problems.
Lights. If someone does get in the garden they will be flood lite by 2000 watts of security lights triggered by a PIR (passive infra red) sensor. When they go on birds start to wake up thinking it's morning it's so bright.
Like a lot of the team, my studio is not obvious to the outside world. I don't even list my full address on my website. As I'm on the first floor of a mixed business / residential building in Hackney, I am behind several layers of security. The front door has two high security locks, the first floor entrance is behind two further doors, with high security locks and an alarm system, then my servers are behind two further locked doors, and my control room is behind yet another locked door. Both of these rooms are at the other end of the building from the entrance. In order to get to my servers or control room, intruders would have to keep an incredible amount of fuss quiet. I have some CCTV in place, and at any time can "dial in" to my studio.
Basically, I don't draw massive amounts of attention to my facility - there are no film posters in the windows, no mention of the word "sound" even on the door buzzer, and plenty of physical barriers between my studio and the outside world. I agree with the rest of the team - stealth is security.
As I'm going last on this please forgive the repetition, so here goes. My studio is in a converted brick built garage to the rear of my property in the garden. Here's the several stages of security, I'll try and do them in order.
Privacy Everyone including the builder has been told to not tell people theres a studio sitting in my back garden. If delivery or trades people visit the house then we simply tell them I have a home office and play down the sexy expensive studio gear.
Locks and Bolts The gates to both the front and rear of our property are shut at all times and locked at all times. The front gate had a lock that could be opened from the outside once you were in, so an additional padlock has been added to that so if you are in the grounds and you don't have keys then it is harder to get out.
Gravel It may sound simple but the studio is surrounded by gravel and when you walk on it then it makes a noise. It may seem silly but every little helps.
Lights You have to get past 4 PIR lights to get to my studio which start at 50' from it and continue as you get closer. There's also a light that stays on all night on the outside of the main studio as an additional light.
Entry Point There is a single entry point to my studio via a door that has deadlocked 5 point locking, apparently the bad news is that if I lose the key then I can't get in either! The other window has no opening and is sealed, as is all the glazing, in such a way that you can't remove the glass from the outside unless you smash it. The doors can't be lifted from their hinges either.
Camera I invested in a Canary security system. Whenever anyone makes access to the room then it sends me a notification on my phone. It also records video footage directly to the cloud so even if someone got in and stole it then I'd still be able to see them on the back-ups. It's HD quality and also shows live feeds on to my phone so if an alert goes off I can check to see what is happening. It has an inbuilt siren that I can sound at any time - it's very loud and would scare the dead!
Alarm Finally there's a complete alarm system with sensors on the doors, windows and rooms that covers the entire property.
In summary there's no such thing as failsafe security but I've done as much as I can using a variety of approaches to at least deter the casual scumbag looking for an easy score and made the job for a seasoned criminal pretty hard.