Business owners travel a lot, regardless of whether theirs is a big or a fledgling business. Business trips require us to carry a lot of important data with us, which makes it rather important for us to be smart with our data.
The following post is about how to protect your data and all the other critical information that you carry with you when you travel. Some of these might sound slightly over-the-top, but they are only practical if you take into consideration the various factors that affect the security of data these days. It pays not to push your luck when you are traveling. After all, people losing their valuables magically, or getting their phones hacked into isn’t entirely unheard of, is it?
Don’t take ANY non-essential papers with you
If you already have soft copies in your laptop, why do you need to carry hard copies with you?
Eliminating paper not only gives some relief to the environment, but also helps reduce your own clutter and less stuff means lesser things to lose.
If you don’t have any print-outs, you wouldn’t accidentally drop that Excel sheet with last month’s balance printed on it, would you?
Destroy cards, bills, documents that you don’t need
For the same reason as the above, we highly recommend not carrying any redundant things with you that may lead to identity theft.
So that debit card has expired but you haven’t gotten around to throwing it away yet? Well, don’t decide to do that when you are traveling. And if you must, cut it into several pieces, don’t drop it whole into the hotel room dust bin, or just cut into a couple of pieces. You need to cut up the cards and destroy bills and envelopes in a way that nobody should be able to make out your name, address, or any other information printed on them.
Android users, install virus protection in your mobile devices
The Android app ecosystem has more than 700,000 apps, which is great for those who love downloading newer apps to support their productivity or even if just for the sake of fun. But, unlike the iOS and the Windows apps, Android apps aren’t generally tested to be bug or virus-free.
So if you are going to be doing any downloading whatsoever via your phone, you need to first install the AVG or Avast security apps. They will alert you to any fish activity within your phone and you can then proceed to uninstall the offending apps.
Since our phones and tablets are becoming as important and versatile as our laptops, it’s important to extend the same care towards them as we would towards our laptop. Would you ever surf the Internet from your computer without virus protection? Didn’t think so.
Avoid using the phone to store financial details
Mobile banking or shopping is fine, but don’t store your debit or credit card details on the phone. Don’t store any passwords on it either. It may be inconvenient entering that information again and again, but hey, security comes at a price.
We also recommend not to use unsecured wi-fi networks when you are traveling. It’s always safer to access the internet via your phone’s 3G connectivity. Unless you absolutely trust the wi-fi source.
Password protect EVERYTHING
And keep the passwords alphanumeric with special characters. Don’t use the same passwords for all the accounts you own, and preferably keep changing them from time to time.
This process is more than annoying for most people.
We have so many online accounts: email accounts, bank accounts, social media accounts, blog accounts, etc., how many passwords is one supposed to remember?
You can work around this little problem by devising a way to remember passwords. This is best done by changing all the passwords at the same time and changing them in a way that makes sense to you.
For example: If your current Gmail password is CoreyHunt31$, the changed one could read Corey$31Hawk. It’s not completely different to the first one and in the latter you have moved from ‘hunt’ to ‘hawk,’ which to many would suggest a natural progression of sorts.
The idea is for the passwords to have some sort of connect between them for you to be able to remember them, but they type of connect that only you can remember.
Check out a book on limericks, mnemonics, riddles, etc. for more password ideas.
Don’t leave your laptop at the hotel
Would you ever leave your phone behind at the hotel room for any length of time?
If the answer is no, the same criterion should apply to your laptop as well.
Agreed laptops are bulky things and not exactly very convenient to lug around when you want to have a drink at the hotel bar, but since they contain so much important data, and since one cannot be too careful and all that, we still suggest either locking it up in a safe in your hotel room, or simply carrying it with you.
You could switch to a good tablet (for travel purposes) if the laptop’s bulk is an issue.
Don’t divulge your travel details on social media
Social media is to give others an idea of what you are up to in your life, not to blurt out every tiny detail about your upcoming trip. And if you must give out the flight number of the plane you’d be on, or the hotel you’d be putting up at, do so via private messages to those concerned.