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5 Things to Never Do on a Work Computer

Woman with her head in her hands in front of her work computer

When working on your company computer day after day, it can begin to feel like your very own. And, when sending hour after hour on your work computer, the line between work and personal tasks can become blurred.

Eventually, it happens to nearly everyone.

Maybe the first thing you might do is check your personal email during lunch. Nothing major. Or, while on break, maybe you check your bank account to make sure your last check went through. It all starts harmlessly enough.

Unfortunately, if the line is crossed continually, you might end up using your work computer both for personal use on a regular basis.

According to a survey of over 900 employees, only 30% said they never used their work computers for personal purposes. The remaining 70% admitted to using their work computer for a variety of personal reasons.

On a work computer, people typically perform the following tasks unrelated to their jobs:

  • Reading and sending personal email

  • Scanning news headlines

  • Shopping online

  • Online banking

  • Checking social media

  • Streaming music

  • Streaming videos/movies

But, using your work computer for personal purposes during the day is never a good idea, regardless of how convenient it may seem.

In the event that you fail to follow these guidelines, you may be reprimanded, cause a data breach in your organization, or even lose your job.

Let’s take a look at five things, in particular, you should never do on your work PC.


1. Don't Save Your Personal Passwords in the Browser

It’s common for people to manage their passwords by allowing their browsers to save and then autofill them. While it’s convenient, it’s not very secure, should you lose access to that PC.

Whenever you’re using a computer that isn’t yours, you may lose it for a number of reasons. Upgrades, a repair, or an unexpected termination can all leave you wishing you’d done things differently.

And, it doesn’t even need to be something out of the ordinary or extreme to lead to regrets.

If someone else accesses your device and you never signed out of the browser, that means they can leverage your passwords to access your accounts.

And, remember that eventually, all work computers end up in someone else’s hands, through malfunction, upgrades, mergers, or anything else.

But, not all older PCs are kept in a storeroom somewhere or destroyed. Some companies donate them to worthy causes, which could leave your passwords in the hands of a stranger if the PC wasn’t properly wiped of data.

Person logging into computer - password protection
Related: How to Maintain Password Protection (click image to learn more)

2. Don't Store Personal Data On Your Work Computer

It’s easy to get in the habit of storing personal data on your work computer, especially if your home PC doesn’t have a lot of storage space. But, it’s a bad habit that leaves you wide open to at least two major problems:

  • Loss of your files: If you lose access to the PC for any reason, your files can be lost forever.
  • Your personal files being company-accessible: Many companies have backups of employee devices to protect against data loss. So, those beach photos stored on your work PC you’d rather nobody else see could be accessible company-wide, because they’re captured in a backup process.

3. Don't Visit Sketchy Websites

It’s a good idea to assume that any activity you conduct on a work device is monitored and accessible to your supervisor.

Many companies have cybersecurity measures in place, such as DNS filtering, to protect against phishing websites.

You might also receive an alert if you frequent a suspicious website deemed hazardous to security (as many sketchy websites are).

Here, the best advice is this:

As a general rule, never visit a website on your work computer you would be uncomfortable viewing with your boss watching.

Remote worker operating in the digital workplace
Related: 5 Mistakes You're Making in the Digital Workplace (click image to learn more)

4. Never Allow Friends or Family to Use Your Work Device

If you work remotely and your work computer is permanently installed in your home, it can be tempting to allow a family member or friend to use it. In many cases, work computers are more powerful than typical home computers

They may even contain company-supplied software unobtainable or unaffordable to individuals.

But, allowing anyone else to use your work computer could constitute a compliance breach of data protection regulations that your company needs to adhere to.

The mere fact that your customers’ or employees’ personal information could be accessed by unauthorized individuals can result in serious penalties.

Additionally, a child or friend not well-versed in cybersecurity could end up visiting a phishing site and infecting your work device, which in turn, infects your company cloud storage, leaving you responsible for a breach.

At least 20% of companies have experienced a data breach during the pandemic due to a remote worker.

It’s a problem you don’t want to become a part of.

5. Don't Turn Off Company-Installed Apps like Backups and Antivirus

When you’re trying to get work done, and a backup kicks in, slowing your PC down to a crawl, it’s tempting to turn off the backup process.

But, this can leave the data on your computer unprotected & unrecoverable in the case of a hard drive crash or ransomware infection.

Company-installed apps are there for a reason – usually for cybersecurity and business continuity. You should never turn these off unless given express permission by your supervisor or company’s IT team.

How Secure is the Device You Use to Work from Home?

Whether you’re working remotely and worried about causing a data breach, or a business owner with multiple remote team members to secure, device protection is important.

That said, it’s not always easy. Sometimes, you just need a helping hand.

If you’d like assistance insuring your devices & systems are ready for today’s challenges, we’re here to help.

Ideal Integrations, along with our cybersecurity division Blue Bastion, has experience helping businesses just like yours.

Simply contact Ideal Integrations at 412-349-6680, or fill out the form below, and our IT and security experts will provide a no-obligation guide through any potential problems & solutions your business faces.

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