Are you looking for the answer to the question, “how to protect my privacy online at the workplace?” Well, we can assure you that your network admins are entirely aware of what you are doing online and to whom you are talking about the company, boss, office colleagues, and your workload.
When your company’s applications are running on your device (whether it be the company-owned device or your one), there is an excellent chance that you are being monitored from every angle in your workplace.
To address this issue of how you can protect your online privacy in your workplace, we have listed a few DIY solutions which you can implement to keep your personal life completely anonymous in your workplace.
Physical Solutions for Workplace Privacy
You might be familiar with a privacy filter. It is an additional layer of the screen you put on your monitor, and whenever someone sees your screen at an angle, your screen appears to be completely black. Only the person looking at the net directly from the front can observe what is going on.
The use of a privacy filter can help you protect your privacy online at the workplace.
Separate devices for work and personal usage
Do not by any means log on to your personal social media channels or messaging applications on your work computer. Keep your devices separate for personal usage. Suppose you use your workplace computer for logging into your social media accounts or send private messages via applications like WhatsApp or Messenger. In that case, there is a chance that your conversations or data are getting recorded.
So, use a separate device for your matters.
Sit somewhere with a Wall behind you
Try to find a place in your workplace that has a wall behind you. No one will be able to look at your screen whenever they get up and walk about in the office. It is an excellent physical solution that you can implement and apply to see how it might help you protect your online privacy in your work environment.
There are several ways via which a company can monitor your activity. They can be counting down your keystrokes on your work laptop/computer, taking screenshots after every 5 minutes via the official application of the company installed on that device, monitor employees’ internet browsing history to track productivity levels.
Digital Solutions for Workplace Privacy
Screen Lock & Sleep Mode
Whenever you are stepping away from your computer in the office, lock your screen. You can also put your device in sleep mode whenever you are going on a break. Don’t forget to apply password security on every device you bring with you or under your usage in the workplace.
So, whenever your lock screen or put your device in sleep mode, a password will pop up if someone tries to access it.
Be careful about what you Open in your workplace
Several offices out there use various types of software to track an employees’ activity. There is no harm in this matter as they are paying people to work for them and don’t want their employees to waste time booked under office hours.
The software can track what website you open, what applications you are using, and whom you are sending your instant messaging. So, be careful not to open those websites and access applications that you don’t want to be caught using at your workplace.
It would be best if you used different passwords for your workplace and personal usage. If you are lazy and don’t want to remember 4 or 5 passwords and use only one password for everything, then this can come back to bite you.
You see, companies monitor their personal to track productivity, and there is no harm in this approach. However, employees (just like you) may not respect your privacy and perform unethical practices to mess with your work/personal life.
The IT department people know about your work email password and other applications requiring a password key to log in. If you use the same password (of your workplace) on your devices, then there can be a chance of your data getting stolen.
Also, do not save your passwords on your work computer. Browsers like Chrome, Firefox, etc., have the habit of saving passwords whenever you log in to some online portal. Use the ‘Incognito Mode of the browser, as it does not save internet browsing history, passwords, and cookies. Write your passwords somewhere on your cell phone and write your passwords daily.
2FA (Two-Factor Authentication)
Apply two-factor authentication to your email. If you accidentally open your email on your work computer, then there is a chance that your password might have leaked. By using the 2FA system, no one with your password can gain access to your email unless they authenticate via the steps you have put in place for logging in.
Go to the settings of your phone and disable/hide notification previews. A person receives several personal messages daily and does not want other people to know about them. If you have notification previews turned on on your cell phone, anyone can get a chance to look at your phone and see what is going on.
Sometimes a person might have to share their desktop screen with their colleagues or employer. If you have your notification previews turned on, it can cause embarrassment, or even a chance of your personal information getting leaked may arise.
Hide your notification previews during your work hours both from your cell phone & computer.
Use a VPN
You can also use a VPN or Virtual Private Network to protect your online privacy. VPN creates a secure encrypted tunnel and sends your online traffic via that tunnel to make sure that no one can monitor your online activity. Most of the VPNs nowadays utilize 256-bit AES encryption. It is still un-crackable, and even supercomputers have failed to crack 256-bit.
VPNs sends your online traffic via a server placed somewhere else in the world and generates you a completely different IP address. Your online traffic jumps through various hoops online, making it almost impossible for anyone to track your online activities.
A VPN will also bypass the firewall set at your workplace and help you access all types of restricted content & websites which you cannot otherwise access, like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
A few top-of-the-line VPN choices are listed below:
By using the tips mentioned above and tricks, you can protect your privacy online at your workplace. If your company has a few rules set in place about what you can and cannot do over the office’s online network, try to abide by them. However, if the company is persistent and is using some untold tracking software, then you have all the right in the world to take some DIY actions and protect your data.