5 Strategies to Keep Your Business Data Safe During Travel Edit Title

Travel is a necessary part of business, but failing to optimize your data for travel can pose some significant security risks. Working outside of the office throws us all for a little bit of a loop – we often take for granted the security measures that have been implemented in our office environments and don’t always recognize that these same protections don’t stand while we’re abroad. Data breeches can seriously compromise a business, making it crucial that preventative measures are understood before employees even receive their plane tickets.

1. Password Protect All Devices

This is a simple measure that can be taken both at home and in a new location. Password protecting your devices helps keep data out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have it. If your smartphone falls out of your pocket in a cab, there’s no guarantee that it will be found by someone who will hand it over to the cab driver in good faith. Create a strong, unique password for every device, or use fingerprint identification on devices that offer the capability.

2. Never Rely on Public WiFi

You never know who or what is lurking on public WiFi. Anyone with a device can use these networks, and hackers can take advantage of that in order to intercept confidential information. When you’re away from secure office WiFi, you should always rely on something like a virtual private network. Websites like VPNCompass can help business people find reliable networks while they’re away.

3. Don’t Bring Paper Documents

Paper documents are just one more thing that can inadvertently be left in a vulnerable place. You probably won’t have a paper shredder in your hotel room, so you cannot safely dispose of these documents when you’re done with them. Instead, securely store electronic documents on the Cloud. You’ll be able to access them from wherever you’re at. If you have physical paperwork that needs to be signed, consider only bringing the signature page and virtually forwarding the rest of that information to the intended recipient before you leave.

4. Never Use Other Devices

No matter how tempted you may feel to use a computer at a library or internet café, you should overcome that urge. You don’t know what kind of spyware, viruses, or malware might exist on that computer. There’s no way to guarantee that the security protections are up to date on a communal device. Even logging into your work email once from one of these computers can open you up to a whole host of vulnerabilities. Never chance it. If you need a laptop, bring your own.

5. Don’t Be Too Prepared

This might seem counterintuitive, but bringing more than what you need can actually increase the risk that something will go awry. It’s more data you’ll need to keep track of, and you already have your hands full. If you need to bring internal documents with you, condense them all onto a single encrypted thumb drive. It’s only one piece of equipment you’ll need to keep track of, and if it falls into the wrong hands, it’s already protected against unauthorized access. If you need something that you don’t have, it’s better to contact your office and have them securely send that information directly to you.

Stealing data has become a lucrative business for shady people, and you can never be too careful. Always make sure your antivirus software is up to date on all of your devices before you leave. Hackers are smart, and you need to be smarter.

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