Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you’re likely to be packing more than one tech device for your next trip. Phones, tablets, laptops, and even wearable technology carry important and almost always-private data. In addition to remembering those chargers, travelers are increasingly adding a few steps prior to their departure that can help to ensure the protection of their critical personal and professional data. A 2015 report found data security to be the most important emerging trend impacting travel management. Here are 5 quick and easy tips to protect your valuable data:
1) Stay with your devices at all times: Never pack electronic devices in checked luggage. Even hotel safes cannot be trusted with sensitive data. If you can’t keep your device with you everywhere you go and it contains important data, reconsider whether it’s necessary to take this device on this particular trip. Requiring employees to stay with their devices at all times can seem extreme but it’s a great motivator to ensure people pack only what they need!
2) Use a VPN and save the updates for later: Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect your personal and business-related data from hackers. VPN’s encrypt passwords and login information. Your hard drives and flash drives should also be encrypted for another layer of protection. VPNs aren’t hacker-proof so it’s still important to avoid nonessential updates or administrative tasks that could further increase the vulnerability of your device.
3) Leave your device at home: The safest way to protect the most precious data may be to leave a device at home or at the office. Encourage your employer to use loaner laptops, tablets, or phones, especially when traveling abroad. The magnitude of sensitive data available if lost or hacked is often substantially less and the ramifications of a stolen loaner are usually decreased as well. Once you return home, rented or borrowed devices can be cleared until the next trip.
4) Lock down those devices: We all love the convenience of bypassing log-ins and the countless sign-in pages for third party services. Even access to a basic email account, however, could expose your personal, health, financial, and employer information to an endlessly malicious network of hackers. Before travel, ensure all of your devices are locked with diverse and strong passcodes and pins. Clear saved log-ins and change settings to require passwords when the device wakes from sleep mode.
5) Backup your data prior to takeoff: While still on a secure network, complete a full backup of sensitive data. Depending on the nature of your data, an online backup service may be sufficient but it’s best to store multiple backups in at least two distinct locations. Don’t just backup your device on an external harddrive or flashdrive that you’ll be taking with you. If your bags are lost or stolen, you’ve lost both sources of your data.
A few extra steps for a busy business traveler can feel burdensome but you’ll appreciate the preparation when you return home with data intact. We’d love to hear your tips for traveling with tech. Leave a comment or tweet us @SecureData.