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How to Maximize Cybersecurity when You Travel

Security | Oct 19, 2016

Business travel is a fact of modern life. We are all increasingly mobile and carrying an increasing number of devices. This proliferation of connected devices beyond the corporate network is a nightmare for security teams, but there are some simple steps to reduce the risks of data loss or cyberattack when traveling.

First, it’s important to understand that traveling beyond the safety of the corporate network creates increased risks for cyber-attacks, cybercrime, or surveillance. Hazards like unsecured wireless networks, equipment seized at the border, or simply a laptop left in a hotel room, are just some of the situations that can lead to cybersecurity issues during travel. 

Senior executives face even greater risks because they have access to an organization’s most sensitive information and may be required to travel to countries with strong competition, civil unrest, or a prevalence of crime. 

It’s important that all employees, and especially leadership, are trained on the risks associated with travel and how to keep information secure. Listed below are five quick tips to help you keep data safe when traveling for business:

  1. Before you leave, take a few simple steps to secure your data. Ensure that software, including anti-virus, is up-to-date. And if possible, limit the amount of information that is stored on your phone, laptop, etc. By storing less data on your devices, you limit the impact should your device get lost, stolen, or compromised.
  2. TSA can’t keep out cybercriminals. In other words, be especially vigilant in airports.  Public Wi-Fi networks are always risky, but be especially wary with rouge networks and public equipment. If you must connect, use a VPN to protect and encrypt your information and communications.  Keep your devices with you at all times - don’t leave phones, tablets, or laptops in checked luggage.
  3. Hotels offer an illusion of security, but stay vigilant. Like airports, hotels are hotspots for cybercrime. Did you know a hotel business center may often be less secure than a public internet café?  As with airports, always use caution and VPN when connecting to hotel Wi-Fi; and never leave your laptop unattended in your hotel room (e.g., secure in room safe if possible).
  4. Geography is relatively unimportant. Cybercriminals are everywhere. You may be as likely to have your laptop compromised in Las Vegas or New York, just as much as Bangkok or San Paolo. As noted above, while countries with strong competition, civil unrest, or a prevalence of crime may increase the risk, cybercriminals exist everywhere.
  5. While data security for a mobile workforce is a challenge, there are technologies to help mitigate these risks. The Travel Risk Program (TRIP) from Guidance Software provides information security teams with 360-visibility of the state of their sensitive data and risk posture on endpoints before and after travel activities. By integrating EnCase® Endpoint Security directly with your existing travel management system. Guidance can automatically evaluate critical endpoints prior to travel and immediately upon return, to alert security teams to any changes or anomalies that may have occurred. With TRIP, you can provide an extra layer of protection for mobile employees, detect threats introduced when devices are off the network, speed investigations, and quickly remediate any issues to return your devices to a trusted state.

There are always two components to cybersecurity, people and technology. Employees that travel need to understand the risks and policies designed to protect them, and IT personnel need the right tools and technologies to help ensure employees and their devices are protected when accidents occur.

If you have any questions about cybersecurity or for more information on the Travel Risk Program – contact our services team.

If you need more information about cybersecurity for business travellers, check out these additional resources:

JJ Cranford is a Marketing Program Manager at Guidance Software working on forensic security, data risk management, and digital investigations products for Guidance.

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