Travelling for work or pleasure is stressful enough with the constant threat of crime, but nowadays criminals are often as interested in our information as they are getting their hand on our hardware.
The importance of securing your data
Data security has become critically important for individuals but more so for corporates. It’s now more important than ever to read up on a few travel safety tips.
The constant threat of hackers trying to get hold of your banking and other account information is probably enough to make you want to work from home until you get invited to come in for your retirement party.
According to Locomote, identity theft amongst business travellers was two to four times more likely. Rest assured, there are a few relatively easy steps you can take to reduce the risk to the data you carry around on your devices.
Secure your device
While making your way through airports, coffee shops and hotels your phone is probably the device you’re most likely to lose. If your phone is running Android or iOS, switch on the Find My Phone feature.
Whether it’s forgetting it on your seat in the plane or setting it down while retrieving your travel documents, your phone is going to be the number one candidate for loss or theft.
But the find your phone feature will give you a chance to recover your device, as long as it’s switched on. Some operating systems and third party software will even allow you to wipe your phone if necessary.
Keep track of your devices
You’ll want to keep your devices with you all the time. Don’t let your phone, tablet or laptop leave your sight. And apart from the obvious risk of theft, it’s not impossible that someone could hack your machine and install malware on it.
In the same vein, don’t leave your devices in your hotel room. If you really have to, consider using the safe. However, first prize would still be to keep your devices on or around your person at all times.
Secure your hard drives
Your hard drive should be encrypted. If it’s encrypted already, run as fast as you can and go encrypt it. Now.
You have a password on your laptop, phone and tablet. But in reality, if you haven’t encrypted your data then nothing really stops someone from taking your hard drive or SD card out of your machine and plugging it into theirs.
They will then be able to view the contents of your drive quite easily. Encryption ensures that your data is only accessible when you or your operating system gives it the correct security key.
Secured over public networks
Secure public Wi-Fi doesn’t exist, as simply as that. Treat every public Wi-Fi hotspot like a firearm and proceed with extreme caution. Always assume it’s loaded and able to do you severe damage.
Hackers will commonly try and intercept your data between your devices and the hotspot. If you absolutely have to connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, then you need to use a virtual private network (VPN).
This will encrypt everything you send or receive from your machine. You can also set up a VPN on your phone, tablet and laptop.
Be alert, think ahead
The easiest way to mitigate your risk when it comes to data security is to make sure that you never have to carry any sensitive information you don’t need on your devices.
If your work involves sensitive data, get in the habit of only keeping information that you need for your trip on your machines while travelling.
This will limit the risk, should your computer be lost, stolen or your security breached.