Tips For Safeguarding Your Data While on the Road

BY Beth Williams

One of the most liberating benefits of modern technology is the mobility and flexibility it gives us. Stay connected on vacation for fun, or even to sneak a peek at office emails if you must. If you’re out of the office for work, you won’t be out of the loop thanks to technology. All you need to do is carry your laptop, mobile phone or tablet and you’re plugged in. However, along with that comes vulnerability and risks.

If you are not careful about how and where you use your devices, you may end up having a vacation data disaster! The data lost may be personal in nature like your family’s pictures on the beach, or it could be business related to your profession. There are many ways you can lose data from your devices when away from home. Data could be simply lost due to carelessness which damages the hard drive. While vacationing, laptops and hard drives can face a relatively harsher climate than what you have in your home or office. Whether you are camping, trekking, doing road trips or simply lying on the beach or by the pool extreme variations in temperature and moisture, exposure to sunlight and sand and mechanical jolts and rough handling all make your hardware prone to crash. Mobile phones and tablets can accidentally get dropped in swimming pools; you get the picture.

Besides different environments which can impact data, theft of laptops and phones is the number one reason data is lost. Laptops are stolen mainly from airports, hotels, restaurants, and crowded locations such as subways and train stations. It is no coincidence that these busy locations are where the majority of thieves target their victims. It’s not only the price of the laptop they are interested in. Sometimes the data inside could be valuable as well. The wi-fi provided in most hotels, and cyber cafes are not secure, and almost anyone can have access to your data if they want. By gaining access inside your hard drive, they can delete and manipulate your programs and access your passwords which could also provide entry to business sites.

So what should you do? As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Don’t let your laptop or phone out of your sight.

Tips on How to Protect Data When Traveling

  • Don’t ever leave your valuables unattended in a hotel room or car.
  • Lock them up in room hotel safe, even if you plan to be out of your room for just a few minutes.
  • Use a portable travel safe to secure them in a vehicle, hotel room or by the pool.
  • Transfer data to a flash drive or portable media device and lock it up.
  • Backup to the cloud regularly.
  • Carry your devices in a travel bag, day bag, or purse with anti-theft features.
  • Wear your bag crossbody style when in a crowd.

Physically protecting your devices is the number one data theft prevention activity. Regularly changing your passwords and updating your antivirus software are also good practices. Encryption is generally more reliable than passwords and should be used if the data is very sensitive to theft. Even if the data is lost, the thief will have a very hard time gaining access to it.

Lastly, before you leave home, make copies of all your important, irreplaceable files and store them safely at home, or even the cloud is now an important option too. A physical document organizer for your passport and credit cards will also come in handy.

Lastly, arrange your laptop and mobile phone data in such a way that it’s easier to backup and retrieve in case of loss like putting related documents in one folder. Make these practices habits and you’ll worry less, and enjoy your travels more.