With the advent of remote work and the popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, it is not uncommon for employees to use their personal computers for work.
While this may seem like an easy, cost-effective solution for organizations, it can pose significant risks and drawbacks.
Why Use Personal Computers for Work
1. Cost Savings
Allowing employees to use their personal computers for work can help organizations lower their expenses on hardware and software. Furthermore, organizations can also reduce their maintenance and support expenditures, as employees typically take responsibility for maintaining and upgrading their personal devices.
2. Easier to Use
Due to their familiarity with personal devices and the software installed on them, employees tend to be more comfortable and feel they are more productive when using their own computers. As a result, many employees prefer to use personal devices for work purposes, as they already have a good understanding of how the device operates.
Risks of Using Personal Computers for Work
Despite the convenience that personal computers offer to employees, their use in the workplace poses serious cybersecurity risks and issues that must be considered. Below are some examples of these risks and issues:
1. Security Risks
It’s unlikely that employees will keep their personal computers up-to-date with the latest security patches or antivirus software, making them more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. A solution to this would be to require that personal computers be maintained by the organization’s IT team to ensure all is kept up-to-date.
Another big risk is the employee’s home network. Chances are that home network will have some vulnerabilities such as the WiFi equipment, firewall, or smart home devices. An attacker gaining access to any of these might also find their way onto the personal computer being used for business purposes and from there onto the larger corporate network.
Whether using a personal computer or corporate-owned, without security features like encryption or two-factor authentication, your company’s critical data will be more susceptible to hacking and other cyber threats.
2. Compliance Risks
Personal devices may not meet the security standards required by compliance regulations, such as PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act), the Controlled Goods Program or CMMC. This could result in compliance violations and costly fines.
3. Data Loss Risks
When employees use their personal computers for work, it is likely they will also use them for personal purposes such as accessing social media or personal email, increasing the possibility of clicking on a bad link or opening up a malicious email attachment. This possibility is further increased where a family member or friend is allowed to use this computer.
Additionally, important corporate data may be stored locally on personal devices and not frequently backed up, which could easily cause the loss of this data in the event of hardware failure, theft or another catastrophe.
4. Productivity Risks
The personal computers that employees use may not be as effective as the devices that companies invest in. As a result, it can hinder workflow and lower productivity. Technical issues or the need for software updates may cause frustration and result in downtime, particularly if the company’s IT department does not support personal devices.
Allowing employees to use their personal computers for business purposes may seem like a good idea. It can be argued, however, that the security, compliance, data loss and lost productivity risks outweigh any benefits. If you do decide to allow personal devices to be used, it is crucial to establish well-defined policies and guidelines for how those personal devices are to be used, maintained and protected. This will help mitigate risks to the security of your organization’s data and systems.
If you are looking for reliable and innovative technology solutions for your business, look no further than BSC Solutions Group! Our team of experts is dedicated to providing customized IT solutions to meet your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a consultation with one of our experts.