What Not to Do on a Work Computer

by | Oct 5, 2021

Working from home has its advantages but can also blur the line between professional and personal time. Plus, employees may grow more relaxed about what they do on their work computer while remote. This article shares things employees should avoid doing on work computers, whether remote or in the office.

What to avoid doing when working remotely

Log in to an unprotected network

Working outside the office means you are more mobile. If you have a business laptop, you could decide to work one day in a coffee shop and the next in a public park. But in doing so, never connect to public Wi-Fi. This is an unencrypted network. Hackers can position themselves to compromise your computer.

If you absolutely must use a public network, add a layer of protection by using a virtual private network. This can help shield your browsing from anyone monitoring your online activity.

Save personal files

You spend so much time on the work computer, and you want to get a few personal things done during the day. You might even start saving personal files on the computer. Maybe you created a “my stuff” folder on the desktop.

This isn’t a good idea, because personal data could get automatically backed up to the cloud with the work files. Cloud backup is good practice for the business, but now you’re losing control of your personal information. Plus, if you leave the job, you lose access to that computer and those personal files.

Let family and friends surf the Web

Working from home changes the office environment. People want to look something up, or kids need to submit schoolwork online. And your work computer is right there! Why shouldn’t they use it?

This could expose proprietary business data or sensitive information. You may think “my 10-year-old won’t know what that spreadsheet says.” Yet, especially in a regulated industry, you could be compromising compliance.

What to avoid doing when in the office

Stream personal entertainment

You have a break, or things are slow, so you decide to catch up on your favorite TV show at work. What’s the harm?

In fact, you could be making it more difficult for your colleagues to do their work. Streaming takes up bandwidth, and there is only a set amount available to your business. So, while you’re laughing at a sitcom, others are struggling. Colleagues could drop from video calls or wait longer to download important files.

Click on unrecognized links or download attachments from unknown parties

This one is well-known. It’s up there with not using simple access credentials such as “password” or “letmein.” Be wary of what links or attachments you click on or download. Cybercriminals constantly leverage human error to gain illicit access to business networks. Don’t be the weak link in your company’s security posture.

Also, avoid visiting non-work-related websites. You are more likely to visit a site that harbors malware if you are surfing the Web for personal use at work.

Download software without first asking IT

You might have a preferred way of doing things, but the business computers don’t have the software you’re familiar with. Deciding to download it to your own computer seems safe enough. It could be a well-known app or piece of software. It’s not like one of those shady downloads from the point above.

Yet downloading software to a work computer can cause problems for the IT team, as they don’t know what’s working on the systems. There could be upgrades or system updates you miss that create a vulnerability. You could also, again, risk noncompliance.

These six things should be avoided if you’re using a work computer. It doesn’t matter where you’re working, you still need to be thinking of cybersecurity and productivity for you and your colleagues.

Need help knowing what your employees are doing with work computers on- or off-site? A managed service provider can help. Learn more about remote monitoring and other helpful tools. Contact us today at 931-542-9327.

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