Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Keeping your private data off of your employer's systems

Big Company has a variety of programs installed on our laptops. One basically opens are laptop up to share our entire hard drive. This makes me quite uncomfortable loading personal financial data.

A friend mentioned installing applications onto a memory stick and storing the data there. He supposed that no financial data would actually be stored on the computer's hard drive?

What are you thoughts? Does this make sense?

Regards, makingourway

8 comments:

BugZ said...

Thats correct company laptops (most companies) have scaning software installed that collects data on what apps are installed on your pc. It doesn't look at the actual files, bu tI do agree with you that I would not keep personal data on my company laptop. Load the app on the company laptop(thats fine) but then safe your files to your thumb drive(memory stick)

bug-z.blogspot.com

zzz said...

If you have an iPod, this would be one of the best uses of it :) Enable disk use and you can peacefully store a few GBs of your personal data (financial or otherwise).

I have all my personal data in my iPod and this allows me to access my information from any computer. One problem may be if you use specific software (like say Quicken) to track your info. Then it may not be possible to avoid installing software on the host computer. These days, quite a few applications allow being run from a flash drive but most are freeware - you may want to reasearch if quicken or whatever you use comes with a quicken lite version.

Srili said...

Hello makingourway,

There are two schools of thought here.
(1) I have seen people who argue that storing information in their laptop which frequently get sinked with the file servers at work provide them a safety-net (since those file servers are usually backed up everyday or atleast once a week and provide an opportunity to restore if something goes wrong with the data on the laptop). Probably, this makes sense if the directories/files they save are encrypted or atleast password protected. How many do that?
(2) It is a NO-NO to store anything in company laptop/desktop or any other media since that is company property and if for whatever reason something goes wrong with the job, there is a good chance that we lose that data.

Either way, I personally believe that we should have the data stored in our desktops with once a week backup onto a secondary disk or RW DVD disks. With the amount of information we tend to store everyday, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't keep any personal data on a company-owned computer. Unless your company has a policy that states otherwise, any data on that computer belongs to the company.

If a personal computer isn't an option, than sure a thumb drive would be a good alternative.

If you're concerned about data security you might want to google caching for your operating system and version to make sure you're actually deleting all your financial data off the laptop.

Brian said...

You can definitely run several programs from your memory stick. The problem is that if they have access to your computer, they could gain access to the memory stick as well. Here is a possibility if you are looking for privacy when browsing the internet:

http://lifehacker.com/software/privacy/hack-attack-bolster-your-browsing-privacy-at-work-228841.php

Also, here is some info on running apps from your memory stick if you are interested:

http://lifehacker.com/software/portable-applications/download-of-the-day-portableapps-suite-10-windows-216318.php

Terry Lange said...

I do not have an employer provided laptop currently, but have in the past. I would not use a work computer for any personal things because of the possible violation of their IT policy and because I would not want any of my data on their machine.

Check the company's policy first before doing anything. This will save you some grief in the long run..

If everything is okay with the company, then I would do as your friend suggests and use a memory stick.

Anonymous said...

Unless the application is built to run as a portable app , its not going to work.

Please read
http://portableapps.com/about/what_is_a_portable_app
These are apps designed/adhere to an API that prevents leaving personal data on the HOST PC.


The problem with most applications are that they leave data in temp directories , ur windows profile directory or windows system directory.

So even if you install it on an USB drive the app may leave temp files on the main hardrive.

If you really want it to be secure , use VMWARE and install another OS inside ur company PC OS and do your personal work there. Its your responsibility to make sure that the virtual PC is secure.

Tim said...

forget about it. even if your company has lax policies on personal use of business laptop, it is not a good idea to do anything other than work related stuff on it. get a personal computer and use it. simply put, you shouldn't put anything on a work computer that you do not want anyone to know about. you could be fired at any time, you could leave it for upgrades or repairs, your company could see that you have been using it improperly and use it as an excuse to fire you. Computers are very cheap these days, so it isn't worth it.