The internet is an extremely convenient place to buy or sell goods and services. It’s so convenient that many people don’t think about the security implications of retaining personal data online when on the go. When your business data is loaded onto a device and then synced with your pc regularly, you need to consider whether you want to protect it from those who may attempt to access it while abroad. Here are eight cybersecurity traveling tips to help you protect your business data while traveling:
1. Lock Devices Down
While you may feel safe when traveling with a laptop or smartphone, these devices are a great place for malware to hide. Before leaving on your trip, it is essential that you create a baseline of how the device functions and then install patches to protect against known weaknesses in the system. If you are using a business-issued device, you will want to speak with your company’s IT support team to help you implement these security measures.
2. Be Cautious of Public Wi-Fi
An old saying “if it’s free, it either comes with a catch or is dangerous.” This adage applies to public internet connectivity. While you may feel secure using a public hotspot, you should avoid doing so for long periods. You also want to know who else might be connected to the same hotspot and what they are doing. Some devices can be easily compromised through malware or phishing emails while on public WiFi.
3. Disable Auto-Connect
Most of the data breaches occur because an employee connects to a corporate device from a personal hotspot. While this is a convenient way to access your email or download files, it’s also easy for hackers to piggyback on the connection. If you want your data to remain secure and private, don’t enable auto-connect when connecting from a public hotspot.
4. Minimize Location Sharing
As convenient as modern technology is, it often invites unwanted attention from others. As soon as you enable geo-tracking on a device, you make it easier for others to find where you are and your daily routine. This can be both dangerous and embarrassing. Disable geo-tracking if you don’t have a legitimate use for it on your cell phone or another device.
5. Install Anti-Virus Protection
Although your IT team may have installed an anti-virus app on your device, it is wise to install this on any computers you bring on a trip. Avoid downloading and installing the same apps that your company has previously installed. This can provide attackers with access to your system.
6. Update Operating Systems
While you may feel more secure installing an update that your IT team has already finished, this can make your system more susceptible to being compromised. Numerous updates are released daily and offer security enhancements for the operating systems. It is best to be a little behind in your hardware and software fixes and take advantage of updates instead of avoiding them.
7. Update Passwords
A hacker will easily guess your password if they have access to your wifi, personal email address or social media account. It is best to change all the passwords on your devices and those used for security systems like email and bank accounts.
8. Disable Bluetooth Connectivity
Even though as a business traveler your device may not be connected to a wireless network, it will still be able to connect with other devices. While this connection doesn’t need to be turned on, you should at least clear out the data stored in the device. This can include a lot of information about your everyday life, such as your most common locations and nearby businesses.
As you can see, there are numerous cybersecurity tips for business data safety, no matter where you are in the world. While traveling with a company-issued device is relatively safe, that doesn’t mean you should risk exposing yourself more than necessary if your company has strict rules against working on a personal device while on a business trip; you should still follow these cybersecurity traveling tips to protect yourself and your employer.