Our mobile and electronic devices are becoming more vital than ever in our day to day lives for both business and leisure travel. However with this increased use and dependency also comes risk; from a personal property and also data security standpoint.
Not only are flashy devices at risk of being lost or stolen, but the data contained in these ubiquitous gadgets could be used to defraud us, our employers, or our colleagues and family members. Now more than ever it is increasingly important to take whatever steps are reasonable and practical to ensure data, financial and personal security while traveling. Here are some strategies to help you:
- Before you depart, check the security settings of all of your devices. Remote location and locking are now standard features on all major smartphones and tablets. Familiarize yourself with how they work, change your passwords and if possible specify maximum numbers of failed attempts.
- Ensure you have anti-malware protection installed on your devices.
- Back up all your critical personal and professional data before leaving. Using a cloud-based storage system or a hard-drive you leave at home is ideal.
- Minimize the number of items you have to keep track of. If possible, don’t travel with all of your credit cards at once. Utilize room-safes to store additional personal items.
- Photocopy your identification and essential paperwork. Keep these documents as well as a spare credit card and a small quantity of cash sealed somewhere easy to overlook, like inside a spare pair of shoes or at the bottom of your luggage. This means that if your wallet gets stolen, you can still check-in to your hotel, prove your identity and support yourself while you deal with the consequences.
- Use multi-factor authentication for your devices, and avoid relying on biometric data where possible. A password of 8 characters or more, with at least 1 number and 1 capital letter combined with confirmation on another device is a good option.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi wherever possible. Although it can be useful and convenient when traveling many of them have minimal security safeguards leaving them and anyone using them vulnerable. If you must use them, ensure your anti-virus software is up to date and try to only go to websites using domain names beginning with ‘https’, as these are more secure.
- Check state department recommendations and travel warnings before you leave. Although it might seem old-fashioned, this is still an excellent source of information on what to expect.
- Familiarize yourself with the emergency services of the country to which you are travelling. Although 911 might be the emergency code in the U.S, this number is different elsewhere.
- Consider travel insurance. Although many assume that their credit card or business insurance will cover them, this is often not the case. Having insurance can not only give you peace of mind, but give you significantly more options if things do go wrong.
- Finally when in doubt, consult your FCM Account Manager for best practice and advice before traveling.
Following these simple steps can help you stay safe, secure and relaxed on your next trip, whether for business or pleasure.