Personal Use of Company Technology

Q. I have a company issued phone and tablet. The written policy states the equipment is company property and to not store personal data, but everyone does. I have pictures, videos, personal emails, my resume, as do most of my friends. Is it really an issue? Are these secure and confidential?

A. Is data security your concern, or whether you are misusing company property? Company equipment is provided to employees to help them perform the duties of their jobs efficiently. Employees may get one or many from a selection of devices and equipment including phones, desktops, laptops, printers, iPads, credit cards, cars, cameras, etc.

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Most organizations have written policies which state the equipment provided to employees is company property to be used for the completion of work, and not for personal use. At the same time, many companies understand that employees will use some equipment for personal use. While this isn’t condoned, it is often overlooked – until it becomes an issue.

Other companies agree that some equipment is shared. They may cost share a cell phone recognizing some use is for work and other personal. Discuss the policy and the practice with your manager.

Some of us know people who continue to carry two cell phones, as they have chosen to follow a very strict policy of using company issued equipment for company business only. While you may think that is extreme, it sends a very clear message.

The information on your company equipment is as secure as the company can provide. The company doesn’t want your information, and they don’t want it to interfere with the security of the work related data. It is in your best interest to minimize your dependence on your company equipment. Keep a personal email address. Have photos, videos, personal emails and your resume filed on your home computer. And if you don’t have one, invest.

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