Monday, July 28, 2014

Tip of the Day: Information Security is a "Must" for Today's Business Traveler

Are you destined abroad and work for a global company that has trade secrets worthy of protection, please seriously consider how you pack for your trip.

What is ever-most in the minds of the majority of business travelers in today's gadget-packed world? Hotel internet access! Laptops! Smartphones! Hotel business centers!

Yet, all four of the foregoing items bring with them serious collateral business risks.

Have you considered the importance of data security, protecting trade secrets and sensitive information? If not, potentially, your continuing to be employed could be in jeopardy.

Of all nations, China and Russia, particularly the latter, in light of the July 17 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, couldn't be more vigorously hostile, if that's even possible, despite continuing to diplomatically "play nice."

Let's discuss your smartphone, for example. For years, both Russia and China have targeted smartphones carried by foreign businesspeople.

The truth be told, hostile foreign governments can generally download a foreign businessperson's phone in a matter of minutes, so I strongly suggest that foreign business folks not even take their smartphone to either country.

What do you do? Simple. Do what I just did! I bought an unlocked, quad-band GSM iPhone 4G  with 32GB through Prime for $299.95, including a keyboard and case: 

OK, here's what you need to do to prevent you business data, trade secrets, laptop, peripherals, etc. from being compromised while abroad.

If you stick to this plan, your "stuff" will remain safe. Please follow these precisely:

1.  Carry a laptop no larger than 13.3 inches; Your back will thank you;

2.  NO "auto-logo-ons" for corporate intranets. Period;

3. Print off your contacts from your office phone, BUT remember, the copy goes ONLY on a flash drive that you have on your person at ALL times;

4. If you speak another language, use that language to give your "contacts" an innocuous title for your contacts file; 

5. I know it's a pain, but carry a portable shredder and leave NOTHING in your guest-room. Give the shredded data to a staff member WITHOUT identifying yourself;

6. If you're a Windows user, ensure that your laptop has up-to-date anti-virus software (Avast is good), a firewall through, Super Anti-Spyware and Microsoft Security Essentials;

7. If you have a Mac, consider the below link:

8. Use VERY difficult passwords;

9. Carry NO hard-copies or E-copies of sensitive files;

10. NEVER have a hotel business center make copies for you;

11. Never insert a flash drive or CD that has been used in a hotel business center in YOUR laptop;

12. If you have encryption software on your laptop, use it for all files that you don't carry on your person;

13. NEVER leave work-related passwords in your GUEST-ROOM;

14. NEVER make notes on a hotel guest-room pad that contain sensitive information;

15. Search your guest-room upon checking out to ensure that you've left nothing proprietary behind; 

16. If you can AVOID taking ANY electronic device to a high-risk, hostile nation...DO SO;

17. If you work for a government agency or are a defense industry contractor be prepared to be"tailed"; and

18. Engage in NO personal behavior that could place you in a compromising situation for which you could potentially be blackmailed.