Things you should Never Do on your Work Computer

comp & phoneIt’s routine for many companies to present employees with a variety of work accessories, from smartphones to laptop computers and even tablets. Company IT departments typically set them up with your login specifications and a selection of required apps, enabling you to productively accomplish your work.

Somewhere around day five on the job is usually when we start modifying the device with our own particular preferences: setting the screen saver to an image of our pet, logging into our Spotify account to queue up the perfect “working late” playlist, checking Facebook for the headlines of the day, and so on.

Personal Data files on your Work Devices May Create Challenges

However, cyber security experts point out that weaving your personal and professional lives together on work computers is hazardous business, for you and the company.

Research studies have shown that nearly two-thirds of IT pros believe that the most recent high-profile violations were brought on by employee recklessness and is regarded as the leading threat to company security.

Not Just Concerning a Cyber Risk

While we’ve all be cautioned to stay away from NSFW (not safe for work) websites or links on our devices, there’s more than just naughty photos to avoid while taking advantage of company-issued resources.

Common Practices to Avoid

As a refresher in cyber security and practical professional practices, experts advise us these six things should never be undertaken on our work computers.

1.  DON’T: Save personal passwords in your work device keychain.

Many of us use our work devices for eight or more hours a day. They come home with us and eventually end up being our primary devices, even sometimes used more consistently than our personal devices. As such, it’s easy to click the button when prompted to “save password in keychain.” But not so fast …

Many companies have a clause in their computer, email, and internet use policy that makes storing personal passwords a potentially dangerous move. It reads something like:

“E-mail and other electronic communications transmitted by [Company Name] equipment, systems and networks are not private or confidential, and they are the property of the company. Therefore, [Company Name] reserves the right to examine, monitor and regulate e-mail and other electronic communications, directories, files and all other content, including internet use, transmitted by or stored in its technology systems, whether onsite or offsite.”

It’s extremely important to read your company’s policies and procedures as they relate to internet use and equipment. Know what you can and cannot do.

2.  DON’T: Make off-color jokes on messaging software.

JokeAs chat rooms like Slack, Campfire and Google Hangout become ever more commonplace for team collaboration, it’s easy to use them just as if you were in the office break room chatting with a teammate while raiding the snacks. However, those messages are being archived on a server somewhere and are equally as retrievable as emails.

Most companies have easy access to each of your chats and any internal communication you may not want public, including private conversations. Remember to be very deliberate about what you share and don’t share on chat room networks.

3.  DON’T: Access free public wi-fi while handling sensitive content.

With many of us working remotely or sending a few work emails over the weekend from a cafe, it’s attractive to grab cafeyour laptop and log on to free public wi-fi. After all, it’s just about everywhere and the boss isn’t planning to wait until Monday for an outline of that project. However, locations that provide free wi-fi like the neighborhood coffee shop, the airport or the hotel, can open you up to trouble.

You should never start to browse your email, online bank, or credit card accounts when on public wi-fi because con artists have the capacity to set up fake networks that appear like the real thing but aren’t.

4.  DON’T: Allow friends or non-IT department colleagues to remotely access your work computer.

Remote access software is easily accessible, providing the potential to give almost anyone you know easy connectivity to your computing device from outside the workplace. Since you wouldn’t have your friend saunter into the office and take a seat at your computer without first checking with your boss, it’s only good reasoning to be conscientious of doing the same thing virtually.

5.  DON’T: Store personal data.

personal dataIt’s so easy to have a “personal” folder on your desktop loaded with all of the cute photos your spouse transmitted of your children or to save that receipt from the electrician, but it’s important to remember that a work device is not your property, it belongs to the company.

Think about if your company suddenly went out of business. Beyond the loss of your job, there would be concerns about what would happen to personal data like tax returns or photos on the work computers. When the company closed down, securely erasing personal data from the work computers may not exactly be a top priority for management. None may know what happens to the computers or the personal data left on them.

Another point to remember is that if you ever get released from a company, common HR policy is to have you leave promptly, so you quite probably won’t have time to remove those files. Instead, contemplate keeping a USB wand on your keychain to reserve any personal data.

6.  DON’T: Work on your side job while at the office.

Many of us have second or third jobs that we do as hobbies or to make extra cash. Make sure not to blur the lines while you’re on company time. As pointed out previously, everything you do on your work device can potentially be legally recorded by your company and is as quick and easy as IT pulling your data. Be careful about taking advantage of your company devices for outside work. It may seem innocent, but can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in a discussion with your manager or a dispute with HR.

If you’ve decided to leave your job and you have another one lined up, congrats! If you don’t, consider contacting a professional staffing agency to find your next position. And if you’re in IT and looking for work in Dallas-Fort Worth, Maxsys Solutions is one of the area’s exceptional IT Staffing Agencies.