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Protecting Your Personal Privacy at Work: Tips for Confidentiality and Security

In today’s world of privacy, with regulations surrounding PHI/HIPAA, PCI, and SOX, you may be surprised to know that your company is required to keep records of your using their computers — everything you do on their computers. For example, your company likely monitors and records Internet access from any of their computers when you are shopping online, when you are browsing for training videos or research articles, when you are accessing personal Gmail or Yahoo accounts, and even when you are accessing your child’s school website or sending what you believed to be “personal” notes to family and friends.

Okay, so what? You are thinking, you aren’t doing anything “wrong”, so what, who cares, you are only using the computer during lunch or after the end of the day. You might think that, but you really should rethink that. Sure, those records are available to management, and you don’t care.

Predator has his eyes on you
Stalker much?

But here’s the issue. Your records are also available to lawyers and the courts during discovery (going through a divorce?), your records are available to hackers who breach your company’s assets, and most nefariously your very personal records are also available to rogue coworkers who want to “know more about you”. Stalker much?

How can you keep private matters private? Here are a few “privacy safe” ideas!

Personal contact information

Use personal contact information for personal business. Do not use your employer’s email account. Use your personal email, your personal cell phone, and your personal physical mail address. When in doubt? Use your personal contact information.

Personal internet

When you need to access the internet or your emails, use your personal cell phone or wait until you can get to your home computer instead of using your employer’s computers.

Personal devices

Integrating your cell phone with your business? Be careful! Many times, your company has the ability to “observe” your personal data on your personal phone. Why? To catch what is called “data loss”, such as when an employee inadvertently downloads sensitive information to their phone. How to avoid this snafu? Just use a second phone. Simply, either (1) add a phone to your existing cell phone account, or (2) use an old phone and attach via WiFi hotspot to your primary phone. Best advice is to keep business and personal information separated.


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