Cybersecurity might seem daunting to you, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of steps you can take to ensure your work devices are as secure as possible as you travel.
You don’t need to have techie expertise to follow our checklist for business travellers. When you’re travelling for work, you have so many different things to think about – don’t let data security play on your mind.
Switch Bluetooth off
Switching Bluetooth off when you’re not using it is something you should make a habit. Although you might use Bluetooth infrequently – perhaps to connect headphones, your keyboard or mouse, the chances are, you keep it switched on wherever you go.
There’s an airborne hack called ‘BlueBorne’, which leaves over 8.2 billion devices vulnerable to hackers. And that’s regardless of whether you’re using Windows, iOS, Android or Linux. The hacker doesn’t have to pair with your device and doesn’t require you to click on a link or download an item like with other hacking processes. Malware (software designed to cause damage to your device) can be spread through your device just because your Bluetooth is turned on.
How can you make sure your device is secure from BlueBorne? Turn off your Bluetooth when you’re travelling anywhere. Only turn your Bluetooth on when you need to use it.
Update your devices
Whether you’re travelling with a laptop, tablet or smartphone, you need to make sure it’s operating on the latest software. Many of us put off installing the latest software update – we get it, it takes time out of your day, they can take ages, and in this time you can’t use your device.
But if you don’t take time to update your software before your trip, you’re increasing the risk of cybersecurity issues. Usually, providers issue a software update to fix bugs and other feature issues. So even if your device doesn’t present a security risk, you might not be able to connect to wifi or utilise other apps on your device.
So, for usability and security reasons, you need to update your work phone or laptop.
Consider purchasing a privacy screen
Let’s say you’re at an airport and you decide to catch up on some work while you’re awaiting your flight. Getting your laptop out in a pretty public space (even if you’re in a business lounge) can mean unwanted spying eyes on your laptop screen. If the work you’re working on is sensitive, you might want to consider a privacy screen.
Privacy screens or privacy filters are relatively inexpensive, with removable and fixed options; you can protect your data on the go. Keep working on your flight or the train without prying eyes.
Use a VPN instead of a Wifi connection
When travelling, it can be tempting to use any wifi hotspots you come across, but you should consider using a VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network and using one while using the internet can provide you with anonymity and encrypted connections. This means any data transmitted while you use the internet to send emails, browse or shop online, for example, is secure.
Unless you’re able to access a secure, password-protected wifi network, using a VPN is a must when you’re travelling for business.
Failing that, you could always use a dongle to access the internet. A dongle is a USB-sized stick you can plug into your laptop and access the internet. No signal or network required. You can only use a dongle with a device that has a USB port, so you can’t use this to access the internet on your phone or tablet.
Change your passwords regularly
It would be best if you changed your passwords regularly to keep on top of security concerns, particularly when travelling. Changing your passwords to contain symbols, capital letters and numbers as well as letters can help you keep your accounts secure.
You can change your passwords back once you get home, but as you’re travelling, make a deliberate effort to change your passwords. Avoid simplistic or obvious passwords, such as numerical sequences or birthdays.
Please note this advice is not professional security advice. For professional security advice, please consult a specialist.
Now you’re all set from a cybersecurity perspective, why not read our tips on staying safe and healthy on the road?