Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

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If you’re laid off and let go today, are you going to lose all of your personal data on your computer at work?

January 8th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Almost everyone I know who got laid off was notified and let go on the same day. Some of them even didn’t get a chance to send out a farewell email.

Do you think they had enough time to back up their personal data on their work computers, save contact addresses, and remove personal/private data from the computer? Probably not.

You might argue that we should never use computer at work for personal stuff. But, for most of us who spend our entire day in front of a computer at work, it’s virtually impossible. The chances are you will use your computer at work to check your personal emails, surf a few sites, pay your bills, etc.

You need to be prepared. You need to protect your privacy. You need to make sure important personal data are saved.

Here is a list of tips to protect and save your personal data at work:

  1. Use one browser for work, and another browser for personal use: most IT departments support both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox browser. I suggest you to use one browser exclusively for work, and the other one exclusively for personal tasks. 
  2. Configure your personal-use browser setting to protect your privacy — below is an example using Firefox’s privacy setting as an example:
    • when you’re in Firefox, go to Tools -> Option. Click "Privacy" tab and configure the following settings:
      • Check  "Keep browsing history" and change it to 0 day
      • Uncheck "Remember what I enter in forms and the search bar"
      • Uncheck "Remember what I’ve downloaded"
      • Check "Always clear my private data when I close Firefox"
      • Click "Settings" under "Private Data", and check all of the boxes.
    • then click "Security" tab, and uncheck "Remember passwords for sites"
    • If you’re let go or quit your job on your own, before you give the computer back to the company, you should click "clear now" to clear all of the privacy data.
  3. If you have to download files to your work computer, you should delete the files afterward. It’s even better if you carry a USB Keychain Drive and always save your personal files to the USB drive.
  4. Instead of using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel or other Microsoft Office tools, open a Google Doc account. You can create documents and spreadsheet on Google Doc. And you can export them to other file formats such as PDF, Word, and HTML format. Try to avoid using Windows Office at work to create personal documents. Plus, all of your Google documents will be saved online. You don’t need to worry about backing up files.
  5. Contact addresses: most companies use Microsoft Outlook for email, meetings, and contacts. To make sure you keep a copy of your important work contacts, you should sync your Outlook contacts with a free online services (e.g. I sync my Outlook address book with my Yahoo email accounts.) This way, you’ll always keep an updated copy of your business contacts online for your own personal use.
  6. Avoid using your work email address for personal purpose. Use Google or Yahoo email to communicate to your family and friends.

Tags: Beat Recession · Tools & Tips

1 response so far ↓

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