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Is Your Job Placing Your Privacy at Risk?

7 Minute Read (648 Words)
By: Doug Petrie
In the current business climate, you’ve probably had to disclose your personal mobile phone number to more business contacts than ever before, but do you realize this practice may be putting your personal privacy at risk?
Many people avoid the problem by carrying two phones but, if you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking, “I don’t want to carry a second phone”. Thanks to exciting new technology, you won’t have to. Before revealing one highly innovative new option, let’s briefly explore some of the privacy risks and issues you’re exposing yourself to when you use your personal smartphone for both business and personal communications.

Issue 1: Work Imposing on your personal time

As we all know, working from home means you’re busier than ever. Work-related demands on your personal life are increasing, including receiving calls at inconvenient times. While your sense of duty drives you to take such calls, (even though they may be beyond your job description) shouldn’t there be a simple way to reduce work-related impositions on your personal time?
With the proliferation of smartphones, professionals are disclosing personal mobile numbers to business contacts more than ever before, increasing the odds of compromising their work-life balance.

Issue 2: Establishing Clear Boundaries with Colleagues and Clients

While it’s common to interact socially with business contacts, casually disclosing your personal cell phone number naturally increases the chances of you exposing yourself to unwanted social advances. Let’s face it, no one wants to expand their social circle to every business contact, so boundaries are important, but should doing your job mean sacrificing your personal boundaries?
Disclosing your personal number to business colleagues can lead to situations that are stressful and complicated to manage. A dedicated business mobile number that allows you to choose who gets your personal number, helps you set boundaries on the type of relationship you would like.

Issue 3: Protecting your personal information (Texts, Voicemails, Images, and Data)

Whenever you use your personal phone number for business, you commingle business and personal records on your smartphone. In most cases, this may not be consequential, but if you manage sensitive information, or become entangled in a business-related legal dispute, the impact may be sobering.
For example, a legal hold notice from your company will obligate you to preserve your phone’s records. Subsequently, a forensic collection expert will commandeer your phone for a few hours while they collect all required data from it. If this is a surprise, it may be a good idea to read your company’s policies governing personal devices used for work, because most companies retain extensive rights to access all data on your device.
A legal hold (also known as a litigation hold) is a notification sent from an organization’s legal team to employees instructing them not to delete electronically stored information (ESI) or discard paper documents that may be relevant to a new or imminent legal case.
The problem for your company – and you – is that there is no easy way to identify business data independently of personal data on your phone. Lawyers will have to review contents manually, so all data on your phone will be collected – yes, all data. Once collected, business and personal content is often separated by a legal professional tasked with reviewing your personal pictures, text messages, communications, and other personal content to determine relevance to the legal matter. Does exposure of your personal information to a complete stranger fee like a violation of your privacy?
While confidentiality agreements with vendors and law firms protect you and your company, smartphone data collection of personal texts, images, and related data, could put you at risk.

So, What Does a Solution Look Like?

At first glance, one might think the ideal solution would be to use two phones.
Technology however, has thankfully evolved to the point where software can address the problem using your existing mobile phone and the Tendant app for iOS™ or Android™.

What is the Next Step?

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*vCard, also known as VCF, is a file format standard for electronic business cards. vCards are often attached to e-mail messages but can be exchanged in other ways, such as Multimedia Messaging Service, on the World Wide Web, instant messaging or through QR code.
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