Plenty of people use the same phone for business and personal purposes, and while this is convenient, it does raise concerns regarding privacy.
Let’s talk about how this applies to modern mobile users, and why this matters even if you trust your employer and your commercial contacts.
Your network activity may be recorded
A smartphone isn’t just for making calls, and in fact most of what you do with your device of choice probably revolves around its internet connection.
In the case that your phone is part of your employer’s BYOD scheme, perhaps even integrated with MDM software, you can assume that your network activity will be tracked to a lesser or greater extent, according to TechRadar.
Even if there’s no software installed for central monitoring and management of personal devices used for business purposes, being connected to your office Wi-Fi will invariably mean that the traffic to and from your device is under scrutiny.
Personal data should be kept out of reach
Aside from the network monitoring issues, what your employer won’t be able to do is spy on the data you store on your device, including any pictures you add to your camera roll, any contact info you save, and any events you add to your personal calendar.
The confusing state of data privacy laws does muddy the waters somewhat (more details here), but generally speaking if it’s a handset you own, or even one that’s supplied by your employer, personal data shouldn’t be open for anyone else to access.
Keeping your personal number private
There are a few ways to ensure that when making and receiving calls from your phone for business purposes, you aren’t exposing your personal mobile number to anyone outside of your social circles.
For example, using OpenPhone to get a second phone number that routes through to your handset using VoIP technology is a good option, and one which helps you to protect your privacy without compromising on your contactability.
You could also choose a dual SIM handset, which can support two different SIM cards simultaneously, and two numbers along with it.
Managing notifications outside of office hours
If you don’t have a separate phone for business and personal use, then one of the downsides is that you can have your privacy invaded even when you’re supposed to be enjoying some downtime, whether that’s in the evenings or at the weekend.
The persistent trend for employees to be expected to respond to work-related communications, whether in the form of emails, text messages, instant messages or video calls, outside of office hours is a real problem from a work-life balance perspective.
It’s also a concern because we have a compulsion to check our devices constantly, having been trained to do so by social media. So even if your employer doesn’t have such a problematic policy in place, you might still be disturbed during your downtime. Even mobile brands are guilty of this.
The solution is to make a concerted effort to disable notifications for work-related communications when you’re not on the clock, and also to put an out of office alert on your email so that respondents won’t be expecting a reply if they get in touch when you’re supposed to be relaxing
Privacy when using your phone for business is not something that you’ll be able to achieve without a fight.
Even if you are self-employed, there is still the likelihood that your device will be a gateway to allowing your professional responsibilities to interfere with your personal life in some way.
Being aware of the pitfalls you face is the first step to overcoming them, so hopefully you’re now in a position to improve your privacy.
Last Updated: November 22, 2022