Secure Data while Traveling
It is a persistent belief that only large and prominent organizations are targets for hackers, however, that’s not the case. Hackers often target small- and medium-sized businesses precisely because they generally have weaker security practices and often have relationships with larger enterprises. The 2013 data breach that exposed the credit card data of more than 40 million Target accounts began when hackers infiltrated the systems of a contractor Target used to monitor its HVAC systems.
Since in most of the small businesses employees work from a remote location it’s important that employees follow the required steps to protect the business data. The different ways that employees can protect the business data are:
- Lock Devices Down
Most smartphones, laptops, and tablets come equipped with security settings that will enable you to lock the device using a PIN number or fingerprint ID. Do this on every available device. While traveling, change the PIN numbers you regularly use. In the event that any of your devices have been momentarily misplaced or forgotten, this will be the first line of defense against a security breach.
- Be Cautious of Public Wi-Fi
The laws and regulations that govern cyber security in other countries are typically not going to be the same as those found in the current working location. Free Wi-Fi access can be very appealing for business travelers but is also particularly vulnerable to security issues. Avoid unencrypted Wi-Fi networks; ask your hotel about its security protocol before connecting to the Web. Be extra cautious using Internet cafes and free Wi-Fi hotspots; if it is necessary to use a network, avoid accessing personal accounts or sensitive data while connected to that network.
- Disable Auto-Connect
Most smart device has a setting that allows a device to automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks as they are in accessible range. While this is a nice feature when used at home, it’s not something that should be practiced while traveling abroad. Before travel, change this setting so that the smart device and laptop must be manually connected each time to access the Web.
- Minimize Location Sharing
It’s very common for travelers to update social networking sites as they move about new locations. The problem with this type of excessive sharing is that it creates a security threat at home. By signaling every location, it easier for a criminal to determine the location, leaving the personal belongings within these areas vulnerable to a physical intrusion. Limit the information that is posted online about specific whereabouts to limit these threats to the personal property.
- Install Anti-Virus Protection
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep personal information, as well as company information, secure while traveling. In addition to using a trusted brand of security, make sure that software is regularly updated as new versions become available.
- Update Operating Systems
Just like the anti-virus software, one should keep the operating system as current as possible. This also goes for apps on the devices; take special care to update apps that are used regularly to conduct financial or personal business.
- Update Passwords
Prior to traveling, change all the passwords used regularly. Similarly, if there is a need to create a PIN for a safe or security box in a hotel room, make sure it’s unique and not something used in common. Don’t skimp on password creation either—a numerical sequence is not ideal. Take the time to create something that will keep a criminal out of the personal property. Once back at home, change all the passwords back as they were before.
- Disable Bluetooth Connectivity
Just like the devices automatic Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity can present problems. Bluetooth signals can come from anywhere. If the Bluetooth is left on, nearby assailants can connect to the devices and potentially hack into the device. Keep Bluetooth disabled as much as possible while traveling abroad.
- Insure the data and devices.
A Digital Asset insurance policy uniquely allows business owners and managers to fully insure the digital assets at a pre-approved indemnity value against incidents that can result in a business losing valuable data and other digital assets.
- Encrypt the Business Data
As a business owner, one of the most important things to protect the business from massive data breaches and financial losses is to invest in complete encryption of the devices and networks. This will help in reducing the vulnerability of the business data and save from potential business losses.
In addition to implementing the above mentioned cyber security tips, by remaining vigilant during the business travels, employees can greatly reduce your risk of suffering a cyber-threat.