When it comes to business travel, nothing about it is ever easy. The lines. The waiting. The potential for theft.
We’ve had years to develop plans for keeping our laptops safe and secure. Now we’re faced with a slew of other problems: our smart devices. Increasingly, people are bringing with them a high amount of valuable data every time they walk out the door. It’s also highly desired. Skilled cyber criminals know this, and they understand the best place to look is a location where a multitude of them congregate every day: the airport. But it’s not just the airport you have to be leery of; sometimes the biggest risks are from the simplest of things.
Physical theft has been around since the beginning of time. If someone wants what you have, they find a way to take it. Most data theft is merely by chance. A phone or tablet is taken because the opportunity is there. There probably isn’t a risk of access to the data; the thief merely wanted the device. But that doesn’t make your pain any easier when you scramble to recover.
Location, Location, Location
Understand where you are going to and what you’ll need to stay safe while you’re there. If you’re traveling to China, for instance, assume you’ll have malware on your mobile device within the first hour you are there. Many organizations have a policy of traveling to high-risk countries with sanitized devices – phones or tablets with only the bare minimum or no data at all.
Never use public computers in a hotel business center, especially for sensitive data. This includes in-room iPads and other devices provided by some hotels. They are fine for checking your team’s scores or watching a late night movie. But never use it to open or access your email, and never use it to get into company accounts or servers. Anything that requires a password is off limits for public use.
Think your hotel room is any safer because your equipment is behind lock and key? Think again. Many phones, tablets, and laptops go missing from hotel rooms each year. They are easy to slip in and just as easy to walk out of without anyone noticing. If you have an in-room safe, stash your gear there. Better yet, pare down the equipment and only bring what you absolutely need.
Use every security measure possible with the equipment you bring.
Always password protect your equipment, your accounts, and your files. Encrypt all data on your device, but understand that encryption is illegal in some countries such as China and Russia. It’s grounds for immediate seizure of your device.
You can connect using a VPN – virtual private network – which offers secure networking protocol as you search. At a minimum, ensure every site you are on uses secure browsing – HTTPS. Where wi-fi must be used, take caution and only connect to authentic articles. Any criminal sitting in the area can open up a rogue hotspot and label it “airport” or “restaurant” – and that gives him immediate access to everything.
Always remember to backup everything you do along the way. That way if something happens, you won’t lose all the work you accomplished while you were away.