Do you find yourself traveling for your business? Be it for a conference, a series of meetings that require your attendance, or some other reason, you may very likely need to spend some time on the road; time that could be spent on tasks your business needs to function. Despite the lack of a traditional workspace, this time spent traveling doesn’t necessarily need to be time wasted. Thanks to the technology of today, you have the ability to remain productive while mobile.
However, you should still be mindful of your security. Cyber threats are present everywhere, and travelers unaware of security best practices can provide a tantalizing road of sitting ducks for attackers to strike. Of particular importance to a traveling business owner is the utilization of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows you to access the company network on public Wi-Fi. It is important that you adhere to following these often ignored best practices, especially while carrying a pathway to the data critical of your business dealings.
Before departing for your trip:
- Be sure your software is fully updated: An important aspect of software updates is the fact that they aid in reducing the vulnerability of your device, especially those that apply to your security solutions. If your mobile solution’s software isn’t fully up to date, you are leaving the critical components of your business vulnerable to potential attack.
- Back up, back up, BACK UP: There’s a reason that best practices dictate that everything you have on your device be backed up before you leave: how often do you misplace your device at home or in the office? The nice thing about that scenario is you have a reasonable chance of finding it again, but on the road the chances of finding it are negligible, never mind the risk of damaging the device itself. It would be a shame to lose all the work you had accomplished on top of misplacing what is likely a company-provided device. Keeping at least your progress up to that point backed up is a simple method of mitigating the risks of traveling with your device.
While you’re travelling or present at your destination:
- Connect with consideration: Public hotspots are rife with risk factors. A favorite method of many hackers is to set up their own Wi-Fi connections that closely mimic the name of an establishment’s actual Wi-Fi network. For example, if you’re staying at the (fictitious) Motel Morris, and when you attempt to link to WiFi you are given the options of MOTEL_MORRIS_GUEST or MOTELMORRIS_FREEWIFI, it may be difficult to determine which is legitimate. As a precaution, always confirm which WiFi to use with someone associated with the establishment. Additionally, if what appears to be an establishment’s Internet connection claims to require a software update, disconnect and inform management at once.
- The more brief, the better: This one is just simple math: the longer you spend connected to the Internet through public Wi-Fi, the longer a hacker has to detect and infiltrate your system. If you aren’t actively engaged in some task, disconnect and log back in when you are again prepared to accomplish something. As irksome as it may be, it’s better than having your device’s security compromised.
- Keep it to yourself, if possible: If at all possible, use your own data plan and create a hotspot to access materials online, especially if financial matters and accounts are concerned. This will make the prospect of infiltration by hackers far less likely.
On a different line of thought, keep it to yourself and never leave your devices (storage solutions included) unsecured or unattended. If leaving your devices in your hotel room, keep them well-secured, just in case.
Just because you are travelling doesn’t mean you can’t be productive while maintaining a reasonable level of data security. With the proper safeguards in place and the application of a few best practices, you can make sure time is not wasted when there is work to be done.
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