How do you keep your business data secure while traveling on a business trip?
These days, with digital technologies permeating every aspect of your life, and with cloud services being so prevalent, you find that you always need your data on the go. You need to always carry some devices through which you can access that data. Data is the most valuable commodity whether it is personal data or business data. It is valuable to you and to cyber thieves! The Kaspersky Labs International Travel Report has stated that business travelers are more likely to be robbed of their data than their travel money. Losing your business data can have serious repercussions especially if you work with private or confidential customer information or even confidential proprietary information of your business. This could be customer data, sales proposals, employee payroll data, business financials and so much more.
While it may be relatively easy to be careful with protecting your business data while at the office or at home or even while you are commuting to client sites or other locations, being on a business trip can be a whole different ballgame. You may be in another country where you may not be familiar with normal practices, or you may be in a conference sharing a common Wi-Fi network with hundreds of other people. Following some simple tips and keeping security top of mind can go a long way in keeping your business data secure while traveling.
Here are seven tips that you may find useful to follow on your next business trip:
- Physical security – don’t leave laptops or mobile devices lying around in the room unattended. If leaving the room, be sure to either carry the devices with you or keep them locked in the hotel safe. The Security magazine has reported that theft or loss of laptops is the number 1 threat faced by business travelers.
- Encryption is one of the big recommendations while traveling. Mobile Data Management (MDM) helps in keeping mobile devices encrypted and therefore if these devices are lost, the likelihood of a data breach is low. Check with your company if there is an MDM policy.
- Beware of shared Wi-Fi in public or common areas. Disable Wi-Fi auto connect options if you have them set to automatically connect to Wi-Fi. If you connect to an internet hotspot in a public area, or to the hotel Wi-Fi network, always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Most businesses have their own VPNs or subscribe to one, but if your business does not have a VPN, you can either get a free VPN or it is worthwhile to invest in a paid VPN. There are many options available and are quite reasonably priced.
- Whenever possible, get your laptops and mobile devices updated or patched to the latest versions before commencing travel.
- Backup your data before the trip.
- This seems almost trivial, but do password protect all your laptops and mobile devices.
- Be aware of social engineering attempts while traveling. While using your device or speaking on the phone in a public place or on a flight, be aware of who is around you and who can see what you are doing or typing.
Being alert and conscious of the steps you take to improve your security on the go can help you in preventing a potentially embarrassing data breach.