Summer Vacation is Here: Tips for Keeping Your Information Safe When Using the Internet on the Road

Business.com / Technology / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

If you're traveling this summer and working on the road, you could be exposing yourself to unsafe internet. Tips for staying safe ahead!

Thanks to advances in technology, working remotely is more possible than ever.

But when you’re on the road, you are at the mercy of public Wi-Fi networks—and that means you face unpredictable browsing speeds and security threats. While you don’t need to worry as much about Internet speed, you should ensure you aren’t putting every bit of your personal and professional secrets out for all to see. 

Mobile employees are a security risk – those unfamiliar faces at the airport might not be peering over your shoulder, but you really never know if they are trying to steal your data, files or personal information. 

This risk applies to every person, even those who aren’t traveling for work. You can be a victim even while reading a text message at the store or while browsing Facebook while enjoying a mocha at your local coffee shop. Many people have no idea that tapping in online can set them up for disaster. Here are 8 things to remember while traveling for business or pleasure to keep your information safe. 

Related Article: McAfee Estimates Cyber Security Losses at More Than $375B in 2014

Install Updates

Prior to leaving, be sure to update your antivirus software and operating system.  All security applications and software, including anti-virus, firewall and anti-spy software should be up to date to ensure that the most recent security measures are installed. 

Don’t Download Large Files

Large documents downloaded via email can be the culprit of all kinds of issues. If you're on the road and need to download something large or from an external source, the best cource of action is to access your document via the cloud, i.e. Dropbox or Google Drive. These platforms have been are more secure many internal servers and are accessible every hour of the day, from any location in the entire world. They're also extremely fast and free up to a certain size threshold.

Consider Business Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber liability insurance has been available for the last decade, but it's not something most people think to take advantage of. It generally covers data breach/privacy crisis management, extortion liability, network security, and multimedia/media.

CNBC reported that "clients purchasing cyber insurance rose 21 percent in 2013 from 2012, according to Marsh Risk Management, a global risk management and insurance broker. Clients who bought cyber coverage of $100 million or more also rose significantly last year compared to 2012, according to a recent report from the company."

Backup All Your Devices

Backup all of your devices before you travel so that all of your information can be retrieved if lost, stolen or in case of an emergency. If there is any critical and highly confidential information on your device, we recommend deleting it and keeping it backed up at home and in the cloud, just in case.

Use a Variety of Passwords

We shouldn't have to remind you, but it's unsafe to use the same passwords, and this is especially true when traveling. Create a strong, secure temporary password for travel purposes. Using a service like LastPass can help you keep the passwords safe and unique to every login.

Keep in mind that identity thieves are patient and sometimes wait weeks before they steal your information; so make sure to change your password when you return to your home too. 

Store Critical Information in Another Location

It’s a good idea to store any critical information in a different location temporarily. Consider using a flash drive or mobile device. As mention before, the cloud is a great way to access sensitive data due to its security, simplicity of use and constant availability.

Enable Your Computer’s Firewall

A firewall prevents hackers from breaking into your system, keeps viruses from spreading to your computer, and safeguards outgoing traffic from your computer created by a virus. Make sure you enable your computers firewall. 

Related Article: Fraud is Now a $5.5B Business—Are You at Risk?

Only Use Encrypted Wi-Fi

According to OnGuardOnline.gov, most public Wi-Fi connections are not encrypted.  If a network does not require a WPA or WPA2 password, it’s likely not encrypted. Look for https at the beginning of the URL to figure out if a website is encrypted. The “s” is for secure. Mobile apps do not have an indicator, unfortunately.

Remember that cybercriminals can access your information in no time, so make sure you do your best to prevent it from happening. Take the necessary precautions to keep your information safe and secure.

How do you safeguard your data, files and information while traveling for business?

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