The computer provided by the employer does not boot up. But urgent project work is on the agenda. The idea of using the private notebook quickly comes to mind. After all, it is an emergency. But is data protection right?

Whenever there is a hurry

How could it be otherwise? At eleven o’clock, the concept is supposed to be at the head of the department, but the PC that the employer has provided for the work in the home office does not start. There are only two hours left until the deadline. Actually, the use of private IT devices is not permitted for home work. The employer has therefore purchased special PCs and had them delivered to the employee’s home. But now a kind of emergency has occurred: The company computer doesn’t want to work, so you could use the private device. At least that’s the idea that pops into one’s head. After all, the private notebook was expensive, it is already very professional, one must say …

The PC strike and the consequences

If you simply use the private notebook to finish the concept, you may meet the deadline set for submission – but you violate the guidelines set by the employer for working in a home office. Don’t assume that the „deadline“ justifies all means. True, the concept may be on time with the department head. But the confidential concept with the customer data ended up on a private device. You edited it there and emailed it from there. The employer did not simply prohibit the use of the private device. There are good reasons for this. The employer has no overview

  • whether the private notebook has all updates,
  • whether the security software on it meets the requirements,
  • whether mail is being sent securely, or
  • whether the private notebook is set, for example, so that all files on it are automatically transferred to a cloud for data backup, which does not comply with data protection requirements.

Ask first and ensure protection

If you deviate from your employer’s security guidelines without consulting them, you can expect trouble, even if the concept is urgent and you wanted to make an exception for an emergency. As a matter of principle, always secure yourself and ask your superiors whether you are allowed to use the private device as an exception in this case. But then also think about securing the data. For example, the employer should only approve the use of private IT, also known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), if at all, if the security and data protection measures for the device are right. There must be the same high level of security as if you were using the company PC. If the employer approves the exception, all protective measures must be taken to secure access to the company network and ensure that no company data is left behind on the private devices.

If exception, but not the rule

Once the employer has allowed you to use your private device, however, this must not develop into a rule because, for example, you would prefer to work with your private notebook.