Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure this summer, if you’re taking your computer or any other device that stores information you’re probably traveling with confidential information. That means you’re exposing yourself to the loss or theft of data through unsecured networks, easy to lose USB sticks or the prying eyes of your flight seatmate. What are you doing to protect yourself and your information? Aside from the potential for a border search, unsecured networks, easy-to-lose USB memory sticks, and theft all add up to potential data loss while traveling.
Here are five steps for protecting your confidential information on your next trip:
1. Seek out SSL protection
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encrypts your information before it is sent over the Internet. This prevents hackers and malicious parties from eavesdropping on your communication. Most professional services, including Google Apps, LinkedIn and Exchange Servers, will have SSL sites you can access by using https:// instead of https:// in the site’s URL.
2. Connect to your own hotspot whenever possible
Find yourself joining wireless networks at airports or coffee shops? Be careful what you click. Hackers can use busy spots such as airports or coffee shops to set-up monitored or fake wireless (WiFi) networks, filtering the content for passwords and other sensitive data. Avoid these traps by using a personal hotspot.
3. Store confidential information in a secure cloud
Worried about someone accessing documents on your stolen or confiscated device? Storing files in the cloud provides you with an alternative that not only protects your information, but also negates the need to have files stored on your computer. Cloud computing is also beneficial for travelers, giving you the freedom to access your data regardless of location.
4. If your must use a storage device, choose an external hard drive
Thanks to poor internet connectivity, storing your information in the cloud isn’t always possible. If you’re seeking a portable storage solution, consider an external hard drive. While still vulnerable for theft, their larger size may make them easier to keep track of.
5. Avoid public computers
Need to quickly check out the business hours for a tourist site or which subway line to use? At times like these, you may find yourself accessing a public computer in an airport, library or hotel lobby. Never use these computers to check your email or access confidential information.
For these tips, and five more, on how to protect your data while traveling, download our checklist.
Do you have any tried and tested security tips for traveling? Let us know in the comments section below.