July 24, 2015
Technology is more interconnected with the workplace than ever, and telecommuting is becoming more and more popular. We are now starting to see the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) workplaces, where employees will bring technological setups and devises from home to do their work in an office setting. While still relatively uncommon, there is no reason to believe that this trend will not rise as it cuts costs for the company and allows employees a greater degree of freedom when it comes to their work.
However, it should be noted that if you are in a BYOD workplace, there are likely data security risks that come with this arrangement. Much like illnesses, you don’t know what other employees might be doing or bringing into the office that can compromise your computer’s health. In addition, a BYOD workplace likely has less of a security framework and security-conscious mentality, so you will need to be alert to what is going on. After all, the data you work with is no less important than any in a normal office setup.
Here are a few things you should do if you ever find yourself in such an environment:
Get a Separate Device
The absolute best advice I could give to anyone starting a new job in a BYOD workplace environment is to go to the store or online right now and buy a new laptop. This laptop will be your work laptop, and it doesn’t matter if it costs a great deal of money because it is a major investment. You are buying this laptop because you don’t want to mix your own personal laptop or device into a work environment because that is not where it belongs.
You don’t know what dangers your personal computer can bring to the workplace, and you don’t know what your work environment can inflict onto your computer. Add to this the fact that your personal computer is implicated in anything your company does from the first time you use it for work, and this means that you should keep every last thing separate. You probably don’t need the very best equipment for your work, and if you do require it, then it is likely your company will help you in some manner or should be providing you with something.
In addition, when it comes time to replace your work computer or change jobs, you will have an extra device you can give to a friend or your children or keep as an emergency for yourself.
Notice the Security of Your Workplace and Adjust Accordingly
What kind of network protection do you get at your workplace? Is it an open network that anyone can just come in and use and possibly steal data from? If so, you need to take the proper precautions and change your settings to the most secure possible. In addition, you should have a talk with your boss about how things could be safer in the workplace.
You might also want to suggest that some security programs be offered (or mandated) for every office computer and have a general security review around the office every few months to make sure that nothing is getting out (or in).
Be Protected While Travelling
Sometimes a BYOD workplace requires that you also take your selected device on the road with you so that you can do your work either while you travel or while you are at a specific worksite. Perhaps you have to bring your device to a business dinner in order to show off numbers to a potential client.
Regardless of the specific situation, it is necessary that you are protected while travelling because it is not only company data on the line but your own personal data as well, and public networks such as those you would be using are likely not secure, leaving you open to attack by hackers.
In addition to changing your settings so that your computer knows you are in public, you will likely want to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN connects your computer to an offsite secure server over an encrypted connection so that no one can see any data you are sending or receiving while using a public network. This server handles your traffic for you and sends you the results of its work as if you were using the Internet normally. This way you can be certain that your work information is secure, in addition to having a great number of other benefits. If your place of work will not provide one for you, you might want to check out some of the best VPNs for personal computers.
Be Concerned About Co-Workers
In a workplace environment, your co-workers are links in a long chain, and if the weakest link broke, there could be a major security breach that damages files, your computer, or leaks a massive amount of sensitive corporate information.
If you see a co-worker bringing something in or acting in such a manner that compromises the security of the company, talk to them about it so that things can improve. It is as much in your self-interest to improve security as it is in theirs due to the inter-connected nature of the modern office.
Cassie Phillips is a writer and blogger who likes to focus on tech issues, the tech environment, and new and useful equipment. Some of her favorite topics to talk about are data and network security, new technologies, and getting ahead in the workplace with new innovations. She is thrilled to have to opportunity to write for SiteProNews. She recommends readers check out this article on business coaching.