As our world becomes more connected than ever, information security is becoming more and more important to businesses. It is an especially pertinent concern for business travellers, who want to balance accessibility with the security of their business information.
Many businesses can be intimidated by the prospect of securing their information, due to the potential cost and a lack of expertise. However, there are a lot of small steps that businesses can take to protect their information, from using passwords on your devices, to keeping information in a safe environment, to keeping your software up to date.
Here are our top tips for business travellers who want to protect their information security.
Information Security for Business Travellers Rule#1: Get a Real Password
The odds are, your password is probably incredibly easy to guess. Even more likely, you use the same password for more than one device or account. Unfortunately, this puts your information at risk. Even if your colleague from down the hall can’t guess your password, a hacker would not have to work hard to launch a successful brute-force attack on your system.
Passwords containing easy to obtain information are not good. Using your company name, or its founding date for a password puts your business information and the information of your clients at risk. At best, you will be subject to some embarrassment on social media. At worst, private information could be leaked, leading to a long list of financial and legal consequences.
It is well known that there is no perfect password system. Even randomly generated passwords, from services such as Norton’s password generator come with their own problems. They usually have to be written down somewhere less secure, voiding the advantages of a complex password.
The best advice for business travellers would be to use different passwords on different devices (and even on confidential files.) Use a password that is easy to remember, but hard to guess. Here is an idea that a friend passed along: combining an important date with a person. Example: if your first kiss was named James, and it was in 2004, a good password would be J2a0m0e4s. Easy to remember, but hard to guess.
Information Security for Business Travellers Rule #2: Anti-Theft Software
Confession: in the past year, I have managed to lose my phone twice. Not only have I managed to recover it both times, but I had no concerns about the information on my phone being compromised. Why is that? My favourite application: Cerberus.
Cerberus, an app for Android, allows me to track my phone remotely through its web service, automatic updates to my email, and even SMS through an approved phone. And like its mythical namesake, this puppy has fangs. Cerberus has features that allow users to wipe their device remotely, turn on the phone remotely, take pictures from both cameras, and resist a factory reset.
iPhone users who want something similar, but more robust than Find My iPhone have several options, including Prey. There are also many options to protect your computer, including those offered by Norton and McAfee. With a variety of customizable programs for different businesses, it is easy to find the best package.
Our top tip? Talk to your IT department about what options are best for you and your business.
Information Security for Business Travellers Rule #3: Keep Information Physically Safe
Create at least one backup of your important information. Once this is done, you will need to keep it up to date and keep it safe. That way, you will have no problem with remotely wiping a device that has been lost. The loss and wipe will be inconvenient, but not devastating.
Some companies prefer to avoid keeping any information on any device. Some do this through internal servers, or through cloud-based systems like Google Drive. However, the latter comes with some serious risks as one user could compromise the entirety of the information.
It is a good idea to have a backup drive with important files. However, this drive must be kept somewhere safe. This could mean keeping the drive somewhere safe offsite or keeping it in a secure, fireproof, safe. Whatever you do, please do not leave it beside your computer on your desk, or in an unlocked closet. Should your office suffer a break-in, smart thieves will be sure to grab any unsecured drive.
Information Security for Travellers Rule #4: Be Wary of Free Wifi
Free Wifi seems like a great way to connect without worrying about the fees of data while travelling. Companies are always looking for ways to cut costs, but it should never be at the expense of your business’ information security.
Whether at the coffee shop, airport, or hotel, there are a plethora of concerns that arise from using free wifi. You run of risk of being targeted for snooping, man in the middle attacks, unencrypted networks, and malware distribution.
The best way to avoid these risks is to simply avoid using free WiFi, by using your own connection to create your own hotspot, or by staying somewhere that provides WiFi secure to you, as Corporate Stays does with its apartments.
However, sometimes you need to use that free WiFi connection. There are a few things you can do to lessen the risks of public WiFi: ensure that you log out of all accounts once your are done, disable file-sharing, and use a VPN.
Above all, the most important thing to use to ensure the security of your information is common sense. Take only the devices that you need. Keep a close eye on all of your devices and documents while traveling.Only exchange sensitive information with persons you trust through secure connections. And if you are looking for somewhere to stay where you know you will have a reliable internet connection to yourself, take a look through the Corporate Stays website for the ideal apartment.