Today’s business professional needs to stay connected, in and out of the office, in a safe and secure way. In a recent survey commissioned by 3M, makers of computer privacy filters, more than 80 percent of all respondents who work outside of their home or office on a laptop computer expressed concern about Internet security. However, half of all respondents admit feeling that there is not much they can do about staying completely secure.


One of the most surprising results of the survey was that more than 50 percent of respondents have entered credit card information or social security numbers into a computer while working outside of their home or office.


Another finding from the survey was that more than two in five (44 percent) respondents admit to sneaking looks at others’ screens while in public places. Of these respondents, one in five (21 percent) say they always or often take such peeks when an opportunity arises. When asked what steps people take to shield their screens when they notice others staring, one-third (33 percent) said the only preventive measure they take is “giving a dirty look” to the offender.


There are two simple tricks that are much more effective than giving someone the evil eye. First, if you are working in a public area, choose your location carefully and make sure you are sitting where others can’t see your screen – spots in the corner with your back to the wall usually work best. Second, use a privacy filter from 3M that darkens side views so prying eyes can’t see what’s on my screen.


While more than 85 percent of all respondents are concerned about Internet security in public places, a sizable portion does not take steps to protect themselves on a regular basis.


• It’s a two-way street: People look at others’ screens in public areas and also notice others looking at their screens:

• More than one in seven (15 percent) people admit they became interested in what they saw on other people’s screen.

• Four in five (80 percent) of these “prying eyes” say they saw work-related material on another person’s computer screen – and 6.7 percent say that they have discovered confidential or secret information that they should not have seen. Likewise, over one-third (40 percent) have noticed strangers looking at their own laptop screen.

• Changing sitting positions (82 percent), or hiding computer screens (52 percent) is the most widely used methods of preventing others from seeing their computer screens.