Coworking Intellectual Property & Privacy Issues

In articles about coworking spaces, data security is always one of the first concerns listed. However, many people think that the data security is their network access points, where in reality, it’s much more than that.  Yes, working on a shared network puts you in danger of someone hacking into your data. Tools like Wireshark and Firesheep allow people to intercept your passwords and data and mascarade as you. Definitely scary and way easier than you think it is.

There’s a no-tech way to breach your security that you should also be guarding against: strangers simply watching and remembering what they see (or using their cell phones to capture critical information).  If you think that’s not a danger, take a look at our documents from 3Ms Visual Hacking studies.  It took the average person 3 minutes to steal a piece of intellectual property with nothing more than their eyes. 


The glass-walled offices of coworking spaces makes this especially easy.  Why glass-walls? It’s because the offices are so small that people wouldn’t work in them if they had solid walls – it would be too claustrophobic. The average single office at WeWork has only about 36 sq. ft. of space.  Having a “private” office with glass walls is a bit of an oxymoron. My partner and I have walked through WeWork locations and seen financial documents, passwords, whiteboards with corporate strategies mapped out, and all sorts of other sensitive company information left completely exposed. 

Some coworking spaces have begun offering frosted stickers for the windows to protect the occupants privacy.  This works in some cases, although I’ve also seen the sticker placed on the window in such a way that I couldn’t see the occupant but I could see their deck. Ooops. That’s not very effective. The larger issue is that while it protects the occupants privacy, it also completely undermines the reason you have glass walls, the abatement of the claustrophobia.  Yuu get light filtering through the frosted glass but you’re still looking at a white wall.

This is where Covert Ink brand privacy shades come in.  Our privacy shades block people from looking in, but still allow you to see out of your office. You can have your view and block it too. (Our version of having your cake and eating it too.)  You also have the option to retract them if you choose to do so. As an additional benefit, our shades allow you to brand your spaces, and when you leave, you can take your printed panel with you. (they are designed to be interchangeable). 

So, protect your intellectual property and your privacy when you’re at a coworking spaces. Stay aware of what the people around you are doing, and if someone looks like they’re doing something odd, alert your security team.