The days when a work PC was left at the office are gone for many people. The pandemic has changed the look of the traditional office dramatically and accelerated the rise of the remote and hybrid workforce.
Post-pandemic, as many as 53% of people were working remotely between 3-5 days per week. This has completely blurred the line between personal and work when it comes to a business computer.
It’s not unusual for people to use their business computers for personal computing needs, but this can leave both them and their companies at risk. Without proper PC protection and a clear boundary between work and personal online life, things can get messy fast.
In a survey of employees that worked from home, only 30% said they never used their work device for personal reasons. The other 70% did. Some said it was just more convenient than booting up another computer for personal use.
Others state that their family was already using the “family” computer, so they had no choice but to use their work PC.
Whether you’re working from home, office, or a bit of both, you’re in dangerous territory when you don’t respect that work/home life boundary on a business PC.
Even though it may be a little less convenient to switch computers at the end of the day, it could save you a lot of grief and embarrassment later.
Here are several things you should not do on your business computer.
Don’t Save Personal Passwords
Many users store their passwords in a browser or might store them in an unsecured file on the hard drive. This can cause you to have compromised accounts should you no longer work for the company and that PC ends up in someone else’s hands.
Alternately, your company may just be retiring an old computer, but if they don’t clean it correctly to destroy all the data before donating or disposing of it, your passwords could end up being exposed.
Don’t Use It for Your Side Job
Moonlighting at a freelance gig isn’t that unusual these days, but it’s really bad form to use your work PC to do it. You should keep any work you do on the side completely separate and only on your personal computer.
Beyond it being a bad idea, doing work for a side business on your work PC can mean those files get uploaded to the company cloud backup. You could also end up getting caught and lose your main job altogether.
Don’t Let Other People Use It
When a work computer is being used at home, and especially if it’s a nice machine, it’s inevitable that a friend, child, or other family member is going to want to “use it for a minute.” Just say no if this happens.
It can be a major data privacy breach if an unauthorized person has access to sensitive personal information on your customers. And even if that person doesn’t access any business files, the fact that they COULD access them can be considered a compliance breach.
It’s best to shut down any requests immediately and just say that you can’t let anyone else use your business computer due to security.
Don’t Store Personal Files
Once you begin using a work PC for personal use, you’ll most likely begin saving a file here and there, and then suddenly a lot of your personal files are now on a company device.
If that device is taken back by the company, you could end up losing important data, not to mention having that data exposed to anyone that might get access to that device in the future.
If you happen to be on a work PC and need to save a personal file, use a personal cloud storage site.
Don’t Visit Sketchy Websites
Visiting sketchy websites is generally against company policy for most organizations anyhow, and even if it’s after hours, you should still avoid doing it.
This could lead to major embarrassment on your part should your web history end up being seen by anyone at your company. You could also face disciplinary action.
Don’t Stream Personal Entertainment
There are so many convenient streaming sites these days for music and entertainment. But streaming can take up a lot of bandwidth, and if you’re at work on a company network, the IT department will surely notice.
While you may think it’s no big deal to stream YouTube videos of your favorite songs while working, you could be causing your coworkers to have dropped video conference calls because you’re hogging the bandwidth.
Don’t Connect to Public Wi-Fi Without a VPN
If you’ve been issued a company laptop, you should never connect it to public Wi-Fi without the protection of a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN will encrypt your data so a hacker on the same network can’t spy on your traffic or steal sensitive passwords or other information.
A safer solution is to use your mobile phone’s carrier signal and create a password-protected hotspot that you can use with your laptop.
Need a Way to Secure Your Remote Employee PCs?
Remote workers don’t have to be a security risk. Connect2Geek can help your Treasure Valley business with managed support solutions that ensure your entire team is protected, no matter where they’re working.
Schedule your free consultation to learn more today! Call 208-468-4323 or reach out online.