If you use a work-issued PC, laptop, computer or mini pc it’s smart to assume you are being monitored. Whilst your probably mindful that you shouldn’t look at “adult” content, here are some less obvious things that you (probably) shouldn’t be doing.
Don’t store personal files on your work-issued computer
Most IT experts agree that this is a big no-no. If you are terminated from the business, the first thing they take is your work-issued computer and anything they find on there to use against you is fair-game. On top of this, if the business is attacked by malware, the security measures put in place to get rid of the malware may delete your files.
Don’t use company software or other tools for anything you don’t want your boss to see
Since most business productivity software is now cloud-based and, on the internet, it’s easy to assume that it can also be used for private use. However, you should think twice before you use your company-issued drive to store personal information.
Admin users (users with “God” mode) can search for specific phrases in an employee’s email and documents just as they can when looking for emails and documents. Employers also can set up regular searches for suspicious behavior. A common trick is a system where your employer saves drafts of your emails even though you may have deleted them, so it’s better not to draft an email saying how much of a banana your boss was in the staff meeting.
Don’t over-do browsing the net
Your employer is watching your internet traffic, but contrary to the usual office gossip, they’re not that reprehensible (unless it’s adult content, obviously). However, if you’re not getting to your job, be certain that your boss is going to ask for a roll-out of your data consumption and if copious amounts Facebook browsing is on there, you might be in trouble.
Think you can beat the system with a VPN? Think again. Most businesses should have full end-point protection that picks up when something like a VPN is installed on a machine.
Even if your employer has a more laid-back approach to browsing the net, it’s still best practice to avoid doing any side hustle work or hobbies while at your 9 to 5 job. Although you don’t have to be paranoid about everything, you can pay your bills!
Don’t be negligent with your work PC in public
You really should treat your work PC as you would anything you own. This means more than making sure it’s not stolen – you should also be wary of what Wi-Fi networks you connect to. It’s best practice to use a VPN when connecting to any public Wi-Fi system.
Always lock your computer when you step away from it. Next time you see someone in public leave their laptop unlocked – try to get onto it and see how much information you can get, you’ll be quite surprised.
How to check what’s monitoring you on your work PC
When you use company-owned equipment, your privacy rights are non-existent. However, that doesn’t mean that your company shouldn’t tell you what they are watching and how they are watching it.
Your employee handbook or induction pack should include this. If it doesn’t – ask HR or your IT guy. If both aren’t an option – you can find the information easily as the software is installed on your computer. If you find the list of all applications installed on your machine – a simple google of the ones you don’t recognize should tell you what they are.
The bottom line is – it’s not unheard of for employees to do a little bit of personal stuff on their work machines, but if it’s anything unprofessional – don’t do it.