It’s so tempting and easy to use your work laptop for occasional personal use. After all, how can it matter if one does a little online shopping during lunch break? That’s often how it starts. The stark reality is that there are many reasons why it's a bad idea to use your work laptop for personal use.
Your Privacy Compromised
Most company employment rules stipulate that all data held on work devices belongs to the company. Every activity you perform on a work device can legitimately be recorded by your employer and inspected remotely at any time. Your work laptop is liable to be subjected to an audit or unannounced spot check in any organisation with an IT security department worth its salt and it can be performed remotely without you realising it. Personal data is then exposed for management to see.
Work laptops and devices are for work purposes. Using them for personal purposes is simply unprofessional, no matter what your rationale. We also tend to be more relaxed about our taking care with our personal devices than company property.
Breaches Company Policy
Your employer is well aware of the significant risks posed by using your work devices for personal activities. They are not being mean when they try to protect their equipment from being infected through personal use. They provide your livelihood, so take not and act on their well-meaning guidelines.
Shut Off From Emails
Email is probably the worst distraction and productivity destroyer in existence. Personal emails arriving on your work laptop literally steal time that your employer is paying for as well as posing a potential security risk if they contain links. Restrict personal email to your own devices and check during breaks.
Cyber Security Is The Biggest Risk Of Device Misuse
Users represent the single biggest threat to every company’s cyber protection measures. Everything from sloppy password management to using public Wi-Fi potentially unlocks the corporate network to hackers. This is the most important reason why you should take extreme caution to do things ‘by the book’ when using your work laptop or device outside of the workplace. These are the top 3 security risks inherent in improper use:
- X-rated sites are rife with malware. Browsing in general can be highly risky because hackers can set up dummy sites that can fool anybody into thinking they are genuine.
- Tablets, phones and laptops are stolen all the time in broad daylight. If the data on your device is not professionally encrypted, it can very easily be stolen too.
- Personal email accounts are hacked with alarming frequency. A friend can appear to send you a genuine link, which may tempt you to click on it. Do not access personal email from a work device.
Data Leakage When Disposing Of IT Equipment
When devices reach end of life and need to be replaced, great care must be taken to prevent the data they contain from falling into the wrong hands. Following an approved process that utilises the services of a professional asset disposal company is highly recommended.
Download our free guide The 6 Hidden Dangers of Non-ADISA Accredited IT Recycling to discover the potential risks posed by free recycling offers.