Email and Device Use – Blurred Lines

Cybersecurity blog - work/personal lines

In today’s world, we are all melding our personal and work life responsibilities.  Unfortunately, the lines can be blurred in our goal to provide a timely response.  Below are some points to consider when deciding how to respond.

I know, I know, I’m not supposed to use work email for personal use – What is the Big Deal?

Several people, not you of course, use their work email for personal use.  Why? The convenience of checking only one email box. Let’s think about the future – Is it convenient if you accept a job with a different entity?  Your current employer will only keep your email active for a short time after you leave. How many accounts are associated with your work email that you will need to update? Bank, retirement, Amazon, insurance, streaming, etc. Is it convenient for your family members?  How will they access your personal information if you are incapacitated?

For some, it has been a while since you filled out your new hire paperwork.  You might look at that again as it may be against employer policy. Why? If one of your personal contacts is compromised, your work email contacts are compromised which in turn leads to more phishing emails sent to your work contacts’ inbox.  Filters will catch some of it but there are always ones that find their way in and can potentially be clicked on.  It opens the door to more vulnerabilities.

When you send out an email from your work address you are representing your company.  Think about the potential liability that can occur if you use your work email for personal use. Any email can be forwarded, and it can snowball…

Many organizations spend several hours addressing requests due to the Sunshine Law.  Your work email is reviewed to comply with these requests.  Do you want your employer to review your personal emails?

Should I use my personal device for work communications?

Using your personal devices and/or email account for work texting or calling, updating work related apps, or commenting on a work issue can cause complicated legal issues.  A subpoena for “any and all communications” can include your personal devices.  Make sure that you understand your institution’s policies for work related communication.

Using personal devices to communicate with parents, students, patrons, staff, etc. about private information related to a specific individual can contribute to a complicated situation for the institution.

Next steps –

It will take time to change over so start now and eliminate issues for yourself, your employer, and family members.  It is pay now or pay later when you are stressed and under pressure.

Create a personal email account to use on your personal cell phone. 

Save yourself the inconvenience of dealing with the above issues and separate personal and work electronic use.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Work Email for Personal Accounts

Why You Should Never Link Your Personal Email to Work

Are Digital Communcations Student Records Under FERPA and State Law?

Missouri FOIA – Sunshine Law