Adrian Esquivel
February 27, 2009

Is it OK to use your personal laptop for business?

I visited a client recently and on my way out I checked out their personal laptop to make sure it was running OK. You can imagine it was full of countless applications from photo apps, to various spyware checkers, and downloaded internet tools to name a few. This thing was running slow, very slow. Now, without going into 'how to take care of you laptop', the question is how much can you rely on your personal laptop to do work?Many people may use their laptop to do work from home, Starbucks, Panera Bread, and most places offering free WIFI (we won't touch the free WIFI issue right now). You might want to run business applications that can include Microsoft Office, VPN, VOIP, Plugins, remote desktop, and virtual office software. If it's a business laptop managed by your company IT support and has policy enforcement on it, then you can have confidence in its reliability to run critical business applications. If not? Then you are going to have some issues. Why? Because the normal PC user doesn't have the health of their PC in mind every time they download and install software or browse their web. Furthermore, it could lack some needed security software and critical updates. How many people cancel the reminder to do the automatic windows update? If that is the case, I wouldn't rely on your laptop much past running excel, word, or PowerPoint. So word of advice, if you want to do be mobile and do work on the run or remotely, get your company to give you a managed laptop. If they can't, submit your personal laptop to be managed by your company's IT support department. It will save you a great deal of frustration and headaches in the future.Whether you use your laptop for business or personal use, use this checklist for taking care of your personal laptop:1 - Have a security suite comprised of Antivirus, Firewall, and Spyware2 - Schedule automatic periodic updates (i.e. Windows Updates)3 - Defragement your computer at least once a month4 - Do not click on potentially hazardous links5 - Stay away from sites that may install malicious spyware6 - Do not install software that you are not going to use