More and more of us are travelling for pleasure but we are also traveling for business…
While the Internet has made it a lot easier to attend virtual meetings with global offices or communicate with off-shore vendors, there are still cases when it’ll be needed to travel for business.
We are bringing our phones, tablets and laptops everywhere but…
Can traveling with all of our gadgets be a bit dangerous?
Of course with any kind of travel there is always an element of risk. But now this high tech world brings along a whole new set of vulnerabilities.
These threats are tremendously increased when you are traveling for business, where you are probably using a corporate credit card and could potentially leave sensitive company information and networks open to identity thieves.
Even though our beloved mobile technology offers productivity, efficiency and immediate access to our important documents and resources…these tools are also the weak link leading your company’s breaches of data.
Luckily, there are some proactive measures you can take to help protect you, your people and your organization from travel risks:
- Backup before you leave. Most of us keep “everything” on our laptops.
- Make sure your laptop has a virtual private network (VPN) installed. This creates a secure connection between your local computer and a remote computer (i.e. your company’s network) via the Internet. Any information that’s sent while you’re using a VPN connection is encrypted so that even if information is intercepted by an outsider, it can’t be read.
- Ensure anti-virus and firewall software is installed and up-to-date. This applies to your laptop as well as your smartphone.
- Never leave your laptop or mobile device unattended. Not even if you’re setting it down “just for a second”. Thousands of laptops and mobile devices are lost or stolen at airports alone each year.
- Use password protection during inactivity time-outs. Set a screen saver password which locks your computer whenever you’re using the screen saver. Be sure to enable password protection on your mobile devices as well.
You might also like to think of your hotel as your home away from home, but don’t get a little too comfortable, just take the safety precautions needed.
- Do not publicize business travel plans and dates on social networking sites. Privacy settings on networks like Facebook and Twitter do not guarantee information will not be accessed by unauthorized viewers.
- Check bank and credit card activity from a secure online connection and/or at an ATM at least once during the trip. This will help detect whether you have become a victim of “skimming”.
- Do not loan your device to anyone, or attach to unknown devices such as thumb drives. Thumb drives are notorious for computer viruses.
- Connections in cyber cafes, public areas and hotels can be safe with a VPN, but should otherwise be considered insecure and undoubtedly watched by shady individuals. Physical PCs in such places may contain keystroke logging or other malicious methods to gather your information.
These preparations may seem overwhelming, but they support vital safeguards to ensure data security and privacy while traveling.
Keep in mind that putting ourselves in new situations with unfamiliar places, people and cultures can definitely impair our judgement, our health and our assets!
Regardless of business or personal travel, protect all of your electronic devices with the same level of vigilance because there are no reasonable expectations of privacy in many countries today.
Do you know how to protect your data and intellectual property while traveling abroad?
[themecolor]Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC. We work with successful top executives with a driving ambition to crush their competition. We help CEOs and Entrepreneurs improve alignment, communication and accountability throughout their organization.[/themecolor] www.55Questions.com
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