In today’s digital era, cyber threats are everywhere. While businesses often secure their networks to prevent cyber-attacks, employees traveling for work are especially vulnerable to such threats. When on the move, they might connect to unsecured networks, share sensitive data online, or even leave their devices exposed to theft. Hence, it’s crucial for employees to understand how to protect themselves and protect company data from cyber threats. Here are five ways to ensure cyber safety while traveling for work.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is a secure connection method used to keep data safe from cyber threats. When connected to a VPN, your data is encrypted and tunneled through a secure server, making it much harder for hackers to access. Especially when using public Wi-Fi networks at airports, hotels, or coffee shops, a VPN is essential. These networks are often unsecured, leaving your device vulnerable to attacks.
Before your trip:
- Ensure you have a reputable VPN application installed on all your devices.
- Test the VPN at home to ensure you know how to connect and that it works properly.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi, or Use With Caution
As mentioned, public Wi-Fi networks are often not secure. Even those that require a password, such as hotel networks, can be prone to eavesdropping. If you don’t have a VPN, it’s best to avoid these networks altogether, especially for business-related tasks.
Tips for using public Wi-Fi safely:
- Always confirm the network name with the establishment providing the Wi-Fi to avoid connecting to a malicious hotspot set up by a hacker.
- Turn off automatic connection to open Wi-Fi networks in your device settings.
- If possible, use your mobile data or set up a personal hotspot for a more secure connection.
Secure Your Devices Physically and Digitally
While cyber threats are often digital, there’s also the risk of physical theft. Leaving your laptop or smartphone unattended for even a few minutes can lead to unauthorized access or theft.
To secure your devices:
- Always keep them within sight or securely stored.
- Use strong, unique passwords for all devices and change them regularly.
- Enable two-factor authentication for additional layers of security.
- Ensure your devices have the latest security updates and patches.
- Install and regularly update a reputable anti-virus and anti-malware software.
Be Wary of Phishing Scams
Hackers often use phishing emails to trick users into revealing sensitive information. When traveling, you might receive emails claiming to be from your hotel, airline, or even coworkers. These emails may ask for personal or company information or might contain malicious links.
To protect yourself:
- Never click on suspicious links or download attachments from unknown sources.
- Always verify the identity of the sender if they ask for sensitive information. A simple phone call to the supposed sender (using a known number, not one provided in the suspicious email) can verify authenticity.
- Familiarize yourself with common phishing tactics so you can recognize them.
Backup Data Regularly
Whether due to a cyber-attack, physical theft, or just a device malfunction, losing important data can be catastrophic. Regularly backing up your data ensures that, even if something happens to your device, you can still access your important files.
Tips for backing up data:
- Use a cloud service with strong encryption for real-time backup.
- Alternatively, carry an external hard drive and make periodic backups during your trip.
- Ensure that backup methods are also secured with strong passwords.
Traveling for work can expose employees to a variety of cyber threats, but with the right precautions, these risks can be significantly mitigated. Being proactive about cybersecurity ensures not only the safety of individual devices but also protects sensitive company data from unauthorized access. As always, staying informed and vigilant is the best defense against evolving cyber threats.