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Jeff Poe: Seven things you should never put on your work computer

More and more employees are using their work computers or e-mail addresses for personal use.  Accounting and finance expert and co-founder of Platinum Professional Training, Jeff Poe, has good advice for anyone that juggles their personal and work lives from one device. While some employers allow staff to use work tools for limited personal use, Mr Poe encourages all employees to fully understand their company protocols on what can and can’t be accessed from a work computer. As a premier training expert, Mr Poe also trains people on workplace ethics and the ‘dos and don’ts’ in the workplace.   According to Mr Poe there are seven things you should never put on your work computer.


“A good failsafe is to keep all work and personal computing separate; i.e. different devices for professional and personal use,” Mr Poe said earlier today.


“If you find you have to use your work computer for personal use, be sure to keep a USB drive on you and save everything to that device. Make sure you get prior approval from your workplace to do this. This could save you a world of trouble later on.


“Aside from the fact that work computers are typically the sole property of your employer, this is a good avenue to save you from any embarrassment.


“This way you won’t have any concerns about sending a colleague, or your boss, into your files while you are away on leave or off sick to chase anything up for you.


“You never want to be open to any potential liability later on so it is key not to save any personal information including photographs, music or videos on a work server or device. If you lose your job and had to leave straight away, there would be no way for you retrieve them and you run the risk of losing them. 


“Second, you should never have anything inappropriate saved on any work devices. You hear nightmarish stories about colleagues or employees who get caught with less-than-savoury material on their hard drives. More often than not your IT department will already know about it so you really are not fooling anybody!


“Third – no inappropriate humour.   A good rule of thumb is; if it’s material that is potentially too distasteful to share in the workplace then it is not a good idea to store it on a work device or server. You never want to get caught with any material that could upset someone!

“Fourth – never store anything to do with any other job you may have.  This is a tough one because many people juggle various jobs in order to pay their bills, but keep this quiet from employers.  If this is the case then stay away from saving anything to do with the second job on a work server because it is a good way to get yourself in trouble.   If you do have another job, make sure you have informed your employer and if necessary sought clearance first.  


“Fifth – no video, online gaming or computer games.  There is never an excuse to keep these on your work computer because if anybody ever saw it, your boss included, they would think you are lazy.   These sites are always notoriously bad for spreading viruses and infecting devices with other problematic software.   By accessing or storing these things you are potentially putting the integrity of your employer’s computer system at risk.


“Sixth – corporate intelligence.   Do not store anything that is top secret or highly confidential.   If you have received or have access to highly confidential materials, do not save them unless you have authority to do so.   If you are storing something haphazardly it can lead to a big issue later on so in order to save yourself any future problems, it is better to just get rid of it or make sure it is stored securely (i.e. in a password encrypted folder).


“Last but not least, do not save passwords on regularly used apps and websites including banking, social media, travel and healthcare sites, etc.   While it is probably convenient, it not only puts your own personal security at risk, it also more than likely breaches workplace security requirements.  


“Work is work and your personal life is your personal life.  My best advice is to keep them separate and be respectful of your employer’s computer system.   Don’t put your employment, reputation and personal security – or your employer at risk due to laziness or bad choices.”


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