Even before the pandemic, people would use their work computers for personal files or online activities. But it was easier to keep the separation between work and personal when you left your business PC sitting on your desk in the office at the end of the day.
Since the pandemic has changed where and how we work, the line between work and personal computer activities has become blurred.
A pre-pandemic survey of 6,000 technology users across six countries, including Australia, found that 25% said they regularly used their company devices for personal use. Another survey after the pandemic began found that 70% of employees were doing personal activities on a work computer.
With the move to remote and hybrid teams, it’s been more difficult for businesses to keep up with desktop monitoring, and many aren’t sure how to handle company PCs that have been issued to work-from-home (WFH) employees.
Are you one of the majority of people that use your business PC for personal tasks because it’s easier, the PC is more powerful, or just out of necessity because your family is using the “family” computer?
If so, you’ll want to rethink what you’re doing on that company-issued device. We’ll tell you why.
Never Do This on a Work PC
Save Personal Files
Many users will have a file on their work computer named “my stuff,” “personal,” or something similar where they will store non-work files. This is a bad habit to get into for a couple of reasons.
One is that your work PC is most likely being backed up to a cloud backup system by your company. Cloud backups for all PCs, including those of remote employees are a best practice for IT security and disaster recovery.
This means that your personal data could end up in someone else’s hands because it’s being copied to the main company backup system.
Another reason not to save your personal files on a work PC is that you may lose access to that PC without warning due to losing your job or an unexpected equipment upgrade. If this happens with little warning, you may lose those files when the computer is taken back.
Allow Other People to Use It
When someone has their work PC at home, it’s inevitable before a friend or family member will ask to use it for something they need. It could be writing a homework paper because the family’s main computer is being used by someone else, or just to do a quick web search.
Whatever the reason, it’s never a good idea to let others use your work-issued PC. This can result in a security breach because an unauthorised person may not have access to sensitive information on that PC. Even if they don’t access it, the fact that they could still constitutes a data privacy violation.
Store Passwords for Personal Accounts
Another personal item that you never want to store on your work PC are passwords for personal accounts (banking logins, Amazon account, Facebook, etc.).
If that PC is being backed up by your company, then your passwords could become compromised at some point. Companies also often recycle PCs by donating them to charity organisations. This means that if an older PC you had been using isn’t properly cleaned, a stranger may be able to access all your stored passwords.
Use it for a Side Gig
With the freelance and gig economy exploding, it’s not unusual for someone to moonlight as a freelancer. But using your company-issued computer for a side gig is a recipe for disaster.
First, it’s just not smart to mix work for another job with your “day job” activities on your work PC. Second, if those files are backed up and seen by someone at your company, you could end up losing your main job.
Stream Personal Entertainment When On the Company Wi-Fi
Streaming video or music while at the office, might seem harmless, but it could be causing your colleagues to get bumped off video conferences or to have their VoIP calls disrupted.
There is a finite amount of bandwidth at your office, and if you’re streaming high-resolution entertainment and hogging up resources, the rest of the office is sure to notice.
If you want to stream music on your PC in the background as you’re working, it’s best to get permission from your company’s IT team first.
Visit Non-Work-Appropriate Websites
You can save yourself a lot of embarrassment and potential disciplinary action by avoiding a visit to any non-work-appropriate websites while on your company-issued computer.
These visits are stored in the browser history and could be seen by someone at your company that is doing regular maintenance of the device. Some questionable websites also harbor malware and could cause you to infect your PC and the entire network with a virus, ransomware, etc.
It’s best not to engage in personal online browsing while on a work PC and save online shopping or other activities until you’re on your own device.
Need Help with Remote Device Monitoring?
GKM2 can provide your Sydney area business with easy options for keeping your endpoints monitored and secure, no matter where your employees are working.
Contact us today to learn more. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.