Keeping Corporate Data Safe
By Lia Robinson
Mobile devices are increasingly the keys to our personal and professional lives—they track our interests, record and post our activities and monitor our location. With this in mind, it is important to protect those pathways to our data, especially during business travel. According to the 2019 Cost of Data Breach Report, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and IBM Security, a single data breach can cost a company $3.92 million US on average. Cybercriminals are increasingly able to digitally eavesdrop on our devices or able to steal them outright. “Always be prepared to have the device taken away from you,” says Chris Dodunski, CEO of CyberHunter Solutions. “Assume someone could be listening, watching and recording everything you do.” By considering the worst-case scenario, company employees can take the necessary steps to protect their data. “Every company should have a cyber security policy for travel,” advises Dodunski. Such a policy can be as simple as a travel checklist to educate and remind employees of the risks. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this handy reference.
Data Security Checklist for Business Travellers
- Use a strong password on all devices, including USBs. Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN); data in transit is encrypted.
- Update software and security on devices; older software is easier to compromise.
- Only bring the files you absolutely need to complete your work. Back them up to a secure cloud so you can access them if your device is lost, stolen or taken at a border.
- Use a wall outlet to charge your phone; USB chargers at airports can be infected with malware.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi in cafes, airports and hotels and turn off the auto connect option. If possible, turn off any Bluetooth functions or devices as they are easy to access by hackers.
- Rather than connecting to hotel Wi-Fi, consider running your laptop through a mobile hotspot. You may use more data, but it is the more secure option.
- If you use a hotel safe to store devices, pick a PIN you wouldn’t normally use. If you are concerned, or the safe is too small, speak with the concierge about locking up your device.
- Avoid using location-based apps and social media while travelling for work. The less visible you are, the less likely you are to be a target.
- Destroy any used boarding passes and luggage tags—they can be used to build an identity profile.
- Do not leave your devices unattended anywhere. A stolen device puts all data at risk.
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