Today’s business travelers don’t leave home without an impressive array of digital aids – smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. These gadgets are indispensable to our very daily routine in the office as well as on the road, and, indeed, we use them extensively to plan, time and carry out our daily schedule of meetings, presentations and discussions. Yet, along with being a great help, digital electronics can become a liability and even a danger to every business traveler.
Ways to Minimize Digital Exposure During Business Travel:
With digital instruments used so extensively to store, transfer and communicate sensitive business data, we need to be constantly aware of the increased vulnerabilities that face us on the road, and we would do well to take proactive steps to minimize our digital exposure, and make sure our secrets remain just that – secrets.
To that end, there are several common-sense steps that we can take before, during and after we travel; these steps will maximize our digital security and minimize the chance of compromising our business and even personal information while on the road.
Before you travel:
- Disable and tape over any integrated laptop cameras.
- Disconnect any integrated laptop microphones.
- Install a privacy screen on your laptop.
- Disable file sharing.
- Disable all unnecessary network connections.
- Backup all necessary data (make sure the backup is encrypted and accessible).
- If you don’t have a proper email encryption system, create a temporary “throw away” email account that can be used to send those emails you must
- Employ encryption and be sure it complies with the laws of countries in which you will be travelling through and stopping.
- Take with you only devices you absolutely must have. If at all possible, use temporary or replacement devices (e.g., a USB drive instead of a whole computer).
- If you do take computers with you, make sure they contain only the data you need for the trip.
- Use a prepaid local phone (especially when on the streets).
- Encrypt all confidential data.
- Change your relevant login passwords. Take time to create complex passwords.
- Upon returning home, change all your essential passwords again.
- Turn off all devices when not in use.
- Assume that all communications, particularly over the Internet, can (and will) be intercepted.
- Encrypt confidential communications. Make sure you have the proper software and that you know how to use it.
- Never put your data on shared computers in cyber cafes, hotel business centers, or devices belonging to other travelers, colleagues, or friends.
- If possible, reformat your computer’s hard drive upon returning home.
- Upon returning from your travels, immediately discontinue use of the device(s) and have them scrubbed.
If at all possible, get all your digital gear scanned by a security expert to ensure that no unwanted hostile digital “guests” were introduced into your data storage and communications devices while on the road. Report any unusual events that you may have noticed while on the road – any performance “glitches”, and any suspected interference with your communications.
A little bit of common sense and planning will go a long way to ensure that your trip is uneventful and, should something go wrong, you will be ready for it. TAL Global’s personal security experts will be glad to provide all the necessary help and guidance to ensure a safe and secure trip.