Mixing Work and Personal Devices

You’ve likely heard the expression, “Don’t mix business with pleasure.” We highly recommend taking that advice in one particular area: electronic devices. Working from home has made this cross-use more prevalent, and it can lead to trouble. Last year, many employees were forced to make a quick transition to remote work due to the pandemic and more than half of users reported using their personal device as a work computer.

Your organization’s data is at risk when you perform your work functions on your personal computer. Your work devices are managed by an IT team whose job it is to ensure all security patches and antivirus software are up to date. Your home computer may not have the same protections. If your personal computer is infected with malware, it’s possible that your work credentials or files could be stolen if inputted or used on that computer.

When employees use their work devices for personal activities, it’s a security risk for the organization’s network as well. Browsing social media and online shopping are risky activities- you may encounter malware popups or phishing links in your DMs. If you click on a malicious link or popup while surfing, your work device and even your organization’s entire network could end up infected with malware.

Of course, mixing personal and work devices may be inevitable for a multitude of reasons, so, if you must do so, be sure to take certain precautions. Consider the use of a virtual private network (VPN) or remote desktop protocol (RDP) to connect to your work network. Using these tools allows you to have a direct connection to your work network, potentially blocking out anything harmful that may exist on your personal computer. For work devices, our recommendation is to limit personal activities to the essentials. If you do have to check email or visit a particular website and don’t have access to a personal device, just make sure you’re on alert for suspicious online activity!

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