Many people use all sorts of gadgets these days for their work laptops, tablets, phablets, smartphones, desktop PC’s…etc. In fact you would be hard pushed to find a job now that did not require some piece of tech to enhance work efficiency or productivity. Many of these devices are portable and so they are taken home every day… mostly for work purposes but also for personal purposes.
Picture this… you did not get your important presentation finished in the office so you decide to take your work laptop home. You get home, and after dinner you get the presentation done. You decide to catch up on some social media and watch a film on Netflix so you grab the device which is closest to you which is your work computer. No problem right?
These devices have been provided to employees for work and not for leisure. Using your work device for any other purpose other than can potentially leave employees, other staff and business assets open to security risks.
Employees often store personal information on their computers such as family pictures and videos, personal login details and even bank account details. Not only is this the wrong thing to do and against your work security policy but it is also very unsafe. This type of employee behaviour may lead to data breaches and put the company and general public data and assets at risk.
In IT Governance states…
4 of the top 5 causes of data breach are caused by human behaviour
- Loss or theft of paperwork – 91 incidents
- Data posted or faxed to incorrect recipient – 90 incidents
- Data sent by email to incorrect recipient – 33 incidents
- Insecure web page (including hacking) – 21 incidents
- Loss or theft of unencrypted device – 28 incidents
4 Things you should never do on a work computer
1 – Never Save Passwords – People become very comfortable with their work devices and slip in to bad habits of using them for things like social media access. Often they click prompts without reading and save passwords to many popular platforms which contain valuable personal data. This can be catastrophic to the person and to the business should the device fall in to the wrong hands. Some best practice would be to never store passwords on your machine when prompted and change your password regularly. A personal favourite of mine is to install a password manager such as LastPass, or KeePass
2 – Never save personal information – It is so convenient to store pictures or personal data on your work device. You’ll often see people in the office setting their screen savers to pictures of their kids or families… their hard drives may have the picture folder filled with personal images and even photos of invoices and receipts. Even though the work computer is provided for work purposes only often people will choose convenience over policy and use their devices for reasons such as personal online banking and important personal transactions or online shopping. Not only is this against work policies but if for some reason the computer got in to the wrong hands for example left on a bus or train or in a coffee shop then this is potentially putting your personal data at risk.
3 – Never go on Social Media – Social media has become second nature to most of us now… you lift your phone and without thinking you are scrolling aimlessly through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter . If you are logged in to social media on your work device you may have notifications appear when you are working which are a nuisance and a distraction. It is highly recommended to stay off social media completely on your work device and in fact many companies have banned social media access. If your job is in marketing or you are a social media manager then obviously a large part of your day will be taken up working on social media. In this instance It is best practice to keep all work and business social media accounts separate.
4. Never Use Public WiFi – The are a lot of risks that go along with connecting to public wifi particularly with business devices. Often Businesses such as hotels, coffee shops, shopping centres provide a free public WiFi service however hackers are exploiting these services to steal personal and business data. Norton have provided a good guide on the Risks of Public WiFi.