There is often a blurred line for employees when it comes to using their work computer for things other than work. You’re on a break, and it’s just more convenient to check your social media from the PC you’re already on.
Or some employees will go even farther and have their company-issued device moonlight as their personal device for freelance work or school purposes.
This blur of personal and business use of a company computer has become even fuzzier during the pandemic while employees are working from home. Some might use their work PC for all their personal needs because it’s more convenient than fighting for computer time on the family device.
A survey taken after the pandemic began found that 70% of employees were doing personal activities on a work computer.
While you might wonder, “What’s the harm?” When it comes to using your work PC for your own needs, especially if it’s sitting there in your home office, this mix of work and personal life comes with risk.
These include not only a security risk for your company’s network, but also a risk to you, your personal data, and possibly your continued employment.
That Work PC Can Be Taken At Any Time
You might be so comfortable with a work device that it nearly seems like it’s yours. Only, it’s not. A company device can be taken from you at any time.
A company might take your computer because of upgrades the company is making to improve productivity and they may swap it for a new device. Or the company may need to have your device serviced and come to take it into the shop.
The company may also go under and in which case be picking up all their equipment to sell or dispose of.
Any of your data is at risk the moment you save it to your work PC because the device isn’t yours. For example, if your company is upgrading the device, they may end up donating your old PC. And if it hasn’t been properly scrubbed, the future recipient could access all types of data and personal accounts that you may have created on the device.
Security Risks for Companies & Employees When the Work/Personal Line is Blurred on a PC
Loss of Your Personal Files
Any personal files or photos that you save to a work device could be lost forever should that device be taken back by the company.
And if you have an account like iCloud syncing with your computer, that means once files are deleted from the device, they could also be deleted from your synced cloud storage and be irretrievable.
Your Browser-Stored Passwords Being Accessible by Someone Else
It’s common to save passwords in a browser so they don’t have to be remembered. But if you are still logged into the browser when you lose access to a work PC, it means anyone else using that computer could easily get into sensitive accounts, like your online banking or Amazon account.
Having Your Social Media Accounts Taken Over
Most social media accounts stay perpetually logged in. So, if you don’t specifically log out of an account, anyone else with access to your work computer could easily be logged in as you and manipulate your account for spam or phishing.
Having Personal Photos & Files on Company Cloud Storage
It’s best practice for a company to back up all their devices using a cloud backup system. This is often an image-based backup that captures a snapshot of the entire device, applications, settings, and all files.
If you’re using your work PC to store personal data, your data could end up in a centralized company cloud storage, giving other people access to your sensitive information.
Causing a Data Breach of Company Files
You can inadvertently cause a data breach if you don’t practice good data security when using a company computer for personal needs. And if you allow someone else in your family to use the PC, like a student with a broken laptop, they could easily open an infected file, causing a data breach of corporate data that the device has access to.
Infecting the Company Network With Ransomware or Other Malware
Even personal web surfing on a company computer can be risky. If you visit a phishing site by accident, you could end up infecting that computer and the entire company network with ransomware.
Web history can easily be searched by an incident response team to locate the fact that your personal web browsing was the cause of the incident.
Keep Business PCs Protected Properly With Cloud Care Pro™
Cloud Care Pro™ is an all-in-one plan that keeps your devices protected from threats. Pro Tech Guy can help your Framingham or Natick business enjoy 24/7/365 remote monitoring and management that maintains and protects your business PCs.
Contact us today to learn more. Call 508-364-8189 or reach us online.