Can your employer see your private emails?
You see a job posting that looks perfect for you, so you quickly send an email with an attached résumé from your smartphone.
Later, realizing you also use your phone for work matters, you worry: Could my boss see that application?
“As long as you’re sending from your personal email account,” explains Clarissa Horowitz, spokesperson for MobileIron, a Mountain View, Ca. mobile device security firm, “your employer can’t see your emails. That’s because your personal email is going through a server for that email account. Work communications go through their [your employer’s] server. They see the emails and attachments going through their server.”
A recent MobileIron survey found that 84 percent of some 3,000 workers in the U.S., United Kingdom and Germany use their personal smartphone for work purposes.
Regardless of whether a worker is issued a smartphone by his employer or uses his own, “Once an employee accesses the company’s computer system – to transmit email, send text messages, surf the web or post social media content – the company has the ability to monitor,” adds Nancy Flynn, author of “The ePolicy Toolkit” (Pfeiffer, 2012) and executive director of The ePolicy Institute.
The MobileIron survey found that 41 percent of workers are sure their employer can’t see anything on their mobile devices.
Firms in certain industries, like healthcare or financial services, are actually required to monitor all written business communications, says Flynn.
In fact, if you do land a new job or leave your company for any reason, your employer may ask to wipe your phone of any confidential data it contains, she explains.
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