Are you concerned about how much of your personal information is available online and potentially vulnerable to theft or misuse? Online privacy is a critical issue. There are steps you can take to manage and protect your financial and personal information when visiting your favorite social media, news, and entertainment websites.
Since the beginning of 2020, there has been a massive global shift toward working from home. This has resulted in a convergence in the use of personal and work devices, raising privacy and online security concerns.
Why is it important to protect your online privacy?
Almost everything you do online with computers and mobile devices, whether it’s working remotely, shopping online, booking a vacation, chatting with friends and family, searching for information, or downloading an app or game, leaves a data result. This data includes personally identifiable information (PII), as well as browsing and purchasing history. The most important aspect of online privacy is preventing your data from falling into the wrong hands.
Is working from home risky?
Is it risky to use office computers for personal reasons? Because many of us work from home, we now use company-provided computers and phones for personal purposes. Our work devices, however, may not be as private as we believe.
People who use company-provided computers or phones for personal purposes frequently wonder if their employer can see what websites they visit via their home Wi-Fi, or if their employer can see what websites they visit at home.
Employers could theoretically install software to monitor what you’re doing on a problematic laptop or desktop. In more vigilant workplaces, this can also include keyloggers, which record everything you type, or screenshot tools, which monitor your performance.
Size of the Company
At this scale, larger organizations have more resources to monitor. Employers can see the files you access, the websites you visit, and the emails you send even if your every online activity is not tracked. When it comes to online privacy, it’s best to assume your work computer is being watched and act accordingly.
Bring your own device (BYOD)
In addition to the security risks associated with using work equipment for personal purposes, there are corresponding security risks associated with employees using personal equipment for work purposes. These risks are increasing as employers implement bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.
Allowing remote access to organizations via devices that are not under their control increases the risk of corporate information being copied, altered, shared with competitors, or simply made public. Homeworker computers can gain access to corporate networks and communications, as well as customer communications, which can result in data protection inadvertently.
While working on their computer, a recently downloaded or already activated social networking application may access the business contact database and share identifiable customer information without their consent. Employees who work in public places and send files over unsecured Wi-Fi networks risk exposing potentially sensitive data to hackers attempting to gain access to business-critical systems.
Corporate data under threat
A homeworker using their computer may install applications from untrustworthy sources without being aware of the dangers. As a result, corporate files may become vulnerable to malware attacks. A device that is not updated (patched) can also be vulnerable to security threats. Employees can leave their devices unattended or lend them to friends and family.
Alternatively, the device could be misplaced or stolen. If sensitive corporate information is present on devices in these scenarios, cybersecurity breaches are possible. Employees who leave may still have mobile access to corporate apps unless the company takes steps to prevent this.
How simple is it for them or anyone who has access to their device to return to the app or system? Will businesses be able to identify the device as the source of a security breach? Installing security updates for a set amount of time.
Simple steps can help in maintaining your online privacy and losing it. To avoid and restrict the hassle of security devices, look out for the most efficient and easy practices to maintain safety with the below-provided resolutions cum solutions:
- Lock your device, when your system is not in use.
- Install apps only from reputable app stores. If the device is lost or stolen, notify the company right away. It does not allow you to root or jailbreak your phone.
- If your company has one, it’s a good idea to review its BYOD policies to understand the rights of both parties. Look for the policy in employee materials such as a manual, contract, training materials, or a specific BYOD agreement.
- It’s simple to create a personal folder on your desktop that contains personal photos or documents (such as tax returns), but keep in mind that your work device isn’t your property; it belongs to the company.
- These files are accessible not only to the IT team but also to other employees. It’s worth noting that some businesses use security tools that begin deleting files as soon as a breach is detected. If your computer is infected with malware, the security measures used to resolve the issue may delete your files.
- Instead, consider storing personal data on a USB stick in your keychain. Many people use work computers to access their accounts. However, you run the risk of disclosing personal information to the IT team.
- Keep in mind that encrypted transactions are not completely secure. Hackers can quickly gain access to your data if they have the necessary knowledge and tools.
As chat rooms like Slack and Google Hangout become more useful for collaboration, it’s simple to use them in the same way you would with colleagues. These messages, however, are saved on the server and can be recovered in the same way that emails can. It is important to note that the employer can see not only what you typed in the company chat, but also the entire chat log.
You are under Surveillance
Many employers monitor their employees’ internet usage. Even if your employer doesn’t pay much attention to your online habits, it’s still a good idea to avoid doing personal things on your company’s computer, such as part-time work.
Mean only business with official tools
Treat your work computer as if it were a rented computer, and that’s all there is to it. Consider whether the content you are viewing will be acceptable to your employer. If the answer is no, don’t use the company’s equipment.
The threat of nearby hotspot
It can be tempting to grab your laptop and connect to free public Wi-Fi when working remotely. However, free Wi-Fi hotspots, such as the cafe next door, can expose you to scams. This is due to cybercriminals’ ability to create fake networks that appear real but aren’t.
Opt for a VPN
It is recommended that you use a VPN and follow security precautions when using a public Wi-Fi network to ensure your online privacy. In the field of human resources, it is best practice for employers to be open about the tracking software they may be using. The Employee Directory is an excellent source of information. If your manual lacks specifics, the information is usually easy to find.
Don’t uninstall the corporate security tool
Although such software does not run on the taskbar, many of them remain in the Add/Remove Programs section. They will appear as an application or service on a Mac. It is not advisable to attempt to uninstall software that may draw attention to you.
Keep official devices for your usage
Remote access software, which allows others to control the machine, is frequently used by IT departments to provide IT support. Prevent anyone other than IT from managing your device.
Antivirus goes a long way
To keep malware from compromising your job and your employer’s systems, use a good antivirus software solution. A comprehensive internet security program can help you detect threats and protect yourself from malware.
Keep up with updates
To improve security, make sure your programs and operating system are up to date. To protect your systems, enable automatic updates. Encrypting your network will improve the security of your Wi-Fi. This is a good place to start if your Wi-Fi requires a password.
If not, go to your router’s settings to make the necessary changes. Accessing router settings with default passwords can be a weak link in Wi-Fi and network security. Change the password on your router if you’ve never done so before. An attacker can gain access to your devices via the router.