We’ve all been in a situation that called for us to use our work computers for something personal. Life happens, and you don’t always have the luxury of being at home when it does. But putting personal information on your business computer might not just be a matter of professional courtesy; there’s a big difference between running a quick search and keeping sensitive personal documents on your computer for your job. You might be breaching your company’s IT policy or putting yourself at serious risk. Here are three reasons why you should keep the personal stuff on your personal computers.
Workplace IT policy
It’s very likely that your workplace’s computer network comes equipped with its own privacy and use policy. You probably even had to sign an acknowledgment form about it when you got started. These policies can vary, but there are some standards across the board. Your work email, for example, would remain the property of your employer indefinitely (even if you left the job), meaning anything you do on it is theirs. Aside from your employer, your workplace IT professionals would have access to your work computer and, therefore, your personal information.
A lot of people use the same password for everything. Who wants to remember a zillion different passwords for work, school, social media, personal email, and all the other stuff? You really shouldn’t be doing this, but it is common, and it’s one of the top reasons people can have their “secure” sites compromised. If a person can figure out your work password, what are the chances they’d also be learning your personal passwords? And again, the IT people will always have access to your password at work.
It’s a fact of life: we don’t all keep our jobs forever. Many of us move on, sometimes away from our original workplace and sometimes just right upstairs. Either way, there’s a good chance you won’t be using that same computer forever. Whether you change positions, leave the job, or IT replaces those awful, outdated machines you’ve been working on, you probably won’t always have access to what you save on your work computer. This can be especially dangerous (and annoying) if you’re saving stuff like tax information or resumes.
Taking care of personal stuff on a business computer is totally normal, but you shouldn’t make it a habit. Try to avoid keeping personal information on your work devices to ensure your adherence to the IT policy and your own safety. It’s worth it.