Do you want to work from home? Don’t watch porn on your company’s VPN

When you work from home, it’s easy to forget that your IT department has access to your traffic if you use your employer’s VPN. Use your company’s VPN only for things you wouldn’t look at in an open-plan office.

Is COVID-19 causing you to work from home? Yes, I am. I’m sitting in my beautiful Manhattan mansion with my dog at my feet, my partner across the room (also working from home), and three laptops running [email protected] because I need to do something to help preserve humanity while I write this. I’m also utilizing the VPN provided by my work to access corporate systems and services, but I won’t be using it for anything else. Especially not pornographic material.

Did you just utter the word “porn”?

I did, in fact, use the word “porn.” Whatever you think of pornography, it is legal, and it is up to individuals to decide how they use their free time. When you’re stuck at home, it’s also a common item to look at. I’m not here to pass judgment on anyone.

What I’m here to do is refresh everyone’s memory on how a VPN works. When you turn on a commercial VPN, it creates an encrypted tunnel between your device (computer, phone, router, etc.) and the VPN’s server. Your traffic then travels on to the vastness of the internet. Because of this configuration, neither your ISP nor anybody else on your network can see what you’re doing. Anyone looking in from the outside won’t be able to see your genuine IP address (and hence your true location), making it difficult to track your movements over the internet.

It’s a little different when you utilize the business VPN offered by your employer. The encrypted tunnel is still created, and your traffic is still sent to a server. People on the same network as you and your ISP are still deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly Outside observers will still be unable to see your genuine IP address and will have a more difficult time monitoring you.

The main distinction is that your employer’s VPN connects you to their network. It’s as if you’re sitting in your office, connecting to your employer’s Wi-Fi or ethernet, when you’re linked to your employer’s VPN. You may be at home in your pyjamas, but you’re on the office network in the eyes of your boss and corporate IT.

It’s the World of Your Boss

I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve been taught that when utilizing your employer’s network, you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You should never seek legal counsel from me, but it seems logical to me that this would also encompass the company VPN. A personal VPN and a business VPN operate in completely different ways, despite the fact that they are technically equivalent.

A business VPN should go to great lengths to ensure your anonymity. When you’re connected to a VPN service, the finest providers go to tremendous measures to ensure that no one, not even the VPN business, knows what you’re doing.

For business networks, however, this is not the case. Your boss may be watching for activities that are against corporate policies, such as downloading BitTorrent files, mining Bitcoin, or watching porn. Employers may be required to store activity logs, which VPN providers should avoid.

It’s simple to point to porn as something you shouldn’t look at in public, but I’d also encourage you to think about what else you shouldn’t do on a corporate connection. Your employer could access unencrypted messages you send, as well as sensitive information you send unencrypted, such as medical data, credit card details, and so on.

I try to stay away from conducting any kind of personal work on workplace networks. It isn’t necessarily because I am distrustful of my employer. I’d like the information not even be available to anyone other than the people for whom it was intended. Although it’s unlikely that our corporate IT team will go hunting for juicy gossip or Social Security numbers, I’d like that information not be available.

Professionalism’s Outward Manifestation

When you’re at work, it’s easy to forget that you’re at work. You’re presumably in a work mindset at your desk, beneath the harsh fluorescent light of your office. You’d act in a work-appropriate manner, dress in a work-appropriate manner, and conduct yourself on the internet in a work-appropriate manner. You’d probably avoid watching porn because it’s a disturbing thing to do at work.

None of this is necessarily true when you work from home. You may leave your pants in the closet and call meetings from the restroom. All of this comfort makes it easy to forget that you’re still at work, and that if you’re using your employer’s VPN, your employer is certainly watching what you’re doing online.

So, if you’re working from home during the epidemic, keep in mind where your internet traffic is going. Don’t utilize your workplace VPN unless it’s really necessary. Before you do something you don’t want IT to see, double-check that it’s turned off. The rest of the time, use a personal VPN to ensure that your connection is secure and private.


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