7 ways your work computer can betray your privacy


Employees often ignore the fact that work computers should not be treated like personal tools, and in the process, expose themselves to scrutiny that could sometimes be harmful.

As an employee, you must separate your personal online business from work-related ones. It is true that an employer would only be interested in accessing your information if they suspect fraud or feel you are not productive. But it is safe to assune that you are always being monitored in order to be purely professional.

You must understand that your work computer will reveal your internet activity even if you delete improper files and clear your browser history.

Seven reasons your privacy can be at risk:

Employers archive emails indefinitely

Your e-mail may not be as private as you think even if you alone know the password because many organisations archive all employees’ emails indefinitely. There may be a need to search the emails for fraud-related cases or as a result of enquiries that must be attended to secretly.

Your employer is interested in your internet usage

An employer can easily monitor an employee’s internet usage.  Clearing your browser history cannot help you. Usually, all the outgoing network traffic flows through a router or firewall that provides that capability. According to Timothy Platt, Senior Technical Trainer at Amazon Web Services, when you are onsite in the office, your computer is connected to the local area network (LAN). For reasons of security, there is a device (firewall) that sits between the company LAN and the public internet.

You must understand that your work computer will reveal your internet activity even if you delete improper files and clear your browser history

Your phone is not immune to scrutiny

According to Peter Davis, Owner, 311 Media, most companies have an internet filter of some kind installed. These devices, such as Barracuda Web Filter appliance, can track all internet activity from every computer [or] device on the network, including your mobile phone that you connect to the office Wi-Fi.

If you’re a remote worker, your location is visible

There are mobile management products that enable employers to control portable devices closely. In this regard, when your device is stolen, your employer can erase all information on it remotely. They can also install or remove sofware remotely.

The location of your devices can also be tracked through solutions made for such.

Employers can track every word you type

Employers can install hacking programs on employees’ work computers, usually to detect activities that could be harmful to the company’s operations without the employee knowing. They are ethical hacking tools when used legally.

Your productivity could be monitored

Employers, especially those who have a large number of staff must ensure that the time spent on the company’s job is worth the pay and can contribute to increased productivity. They have therefore devised a solution, after a few negative experiences, to track employees’ activities while they are logged in during working hours. Employers track things like time per project, screenshots, and metrics of productivity, among others. In companies where the staff know that such solutions are in place, a marked increase in productivity has been recorded.

Every file you access is visible.

Whatever you do from your company’s server is visible. Your employer would know every single file you have put on the server or pulled out and when.

•References: businessnewsdaily.com, Dr. Arinze Ogwu