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Many companies have an official policy regarding locking workstations. For employees that work with confidential customer information, a locked workstation keeps sensitive information like credit card numbers and confidential conversations away from those who do not need to see them.
Not only does this prevent workplace visitors and unauthorized people from viewing client information, it can also prevent others from tampering with your workstation. A disgruntled worker could easily access your email account or delete critical documents in an attempt to sabotage your career. Not only is locking your workstation good practice, it’s also prudent even when it’s not company policy.
This also applies to those who work from home. If other people have access to your computer, they could accidentally close a document you have not saved, or change critical settings without your knowledge or consent. Even if you don’t use the computer for work, you might not want others in the household to read your emails. For instance, if you have ordered a surprise gift for someone, they could open your email account to find a confirmation email of the sale.
To lock your computer screen in Windows 7 or XP, simply click the window icon key on the bottom row and the letter “L” at the same time. For other operating systems, check your computer’s help files to either create a lock shortcut or set your screen to lock automatically when the screen saver is activated. Of course, this only works if no one else knows the password to your machine. Therefore, it’s good to get in the habit of changing your password every 30 to 60 days.