Working from home or in an office can blur the lines between personal and professional tasks. The more time you spend working at a computer, the more likely you will become emotionally attached to your desktop computer.
This can eventually lead to personal tasks being performed on a work computer. At first, it may be as simple as checking personal email during a lunch break. However, as the line gets crossed, it can lead to someone using their work computer for personal reasons just as frequently as they do for work.
Only 30% of employees polled in a survey of over 900 said they never used their work PC for personal purposes. Some 70% of those surveyed admitted using their work computer for personal reasons.
On a work computer, some non-work-related activities include:
- Keeping tabs on the latest headlines
- Online shopping and online banking
- Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Playing music online
- Streaming movies/videos.
Even if using your work PC for personal tasks is more convenient, mixing business and pleasure is bad. You could face disciplinary action, be held accountable for a data breach, or lose your job.
On your work computer, avoid doing the following.
1. SAVE YOUR PASSWORDS IN THE BROWSER
Many people manage their passwords by saving and then auto-filling them in their browser. While this is convenient, it is not very secure if you lose access to that PC.
Computers that are not yours can be taken away for various reasons, including an upgrade, repair, or an unexpected termination.
If you never signed out of the browser on the device you were using at the time, someone else could potentially use your passwords.
Older PCs aren’t all buried in a vault or disposed of in a bonfire. Donating computers to good causes can leave your passwords in the hands of strangers if the computer has not been properly wiped.
2. SAVING YOUR PERSONAL PASSWORDS
If your home computer does not have a large amount of storage space, you may find it convenient to store private information on your work computer. This, however, is a bad habit that exposes you to several serious issues:
- There’s no guarantee that your files will be saved if you lose access to your computer.
- Many businesses maintain backups of employee devices to avoid data loss. In other words, those private photos of the beach that you don’t want anyone else to see can be accessed by everyone at work because of a backup process.
3. TAKE A PEEK AT SKETCHY WEB PAGES
If you’re using a work device, you should assume that your boss can see everything you do on it. Many businesses employ security measures such as DNS filtering To protect against phishing websites.
Your office computer is outfitted with software that can send an alert (as many dubious websites do) to prevent an employee from accessing a questionable website that could jeopardize their safety.
You should never use your work computer to access any website you wouldn’t want your boss to see.
4. LET FRIENDS OR FAMILY USE IT.
When you work from home and your work computer is a setup in your home, the temptation to let a friend or family member use your work computer is strong. Working with a company’s computer is likely to give you access to software that you wouldn’t have access to if you were at home.
Allowing someone else to use your computer at work may violate your company’s data protection regulations.
You could face a significant fine if your customers’ or employees’ personal information is accessed by someone who is not authorized to do so.
As a result, you could be held responsible for a data breach if a child or friend who isn’t familiar with cybersecurity visits a phishing site and infects your work computer.
There have been data breaches in at least 20% of companies due to remote workers during this outbreak.
5. DISABLE COMPANY-INSTALLED APPS SUCH AS BACKUPS AND ANTIVIRUS.
The temptation to turn off the backup process when getting some work done can be strong. Your computer’s data could be at risk in the event of a hard drive failure or ransomware infection.
Apps installed by a company are usually there for security and continuity reasons. These should never be turned off without explicit permission from your supervisor or the IT team at your workplace.
THE DEVICE YOU USE TO WORK FROM HOME IS SECURE, BUT HOW SECURE IS IT?
Working remotely and being concerned about data breaches is one thing; running a business with multiple remote employees and needing to ensure their devices are safe is quite another. Check the security of your device now.