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Digital safety paramount on business trips

Smartphones, tablets and laptops are among the most popular business traveller companions, but AVG (AU/NZ) has found they’re also the most common items left on planes and in airports.

With travellers leaving more than 11,000 laptops, tablet PCs, smartphones and USB sticks at US airports in the last 12 months and up to seven in every 10 laptops lost at airports worldwide never reunited with their owner, AVG has the following tips to protect your digital devices.

  • Look Don’t leave your smartphone, tablet or laptop unattended. Common sense, right? Yes, but more than 40% of British travellers said their laptop disappeared after asking fellow passengers to watch it for them!
  • Backup all your information regularly — your address book, calendar, phone numbers and anything else you don’t want to lose. More than half the British passengers confessed their private data was not protected — and a similar number said the data on the laptop was their only copy2.
  • Lock — Use your mobile device’s security features. Set a personal identification number (PIN) or password that must be entered before anyone can use it or access voice messages.
  • Label — Clearly label your device with a name and an alternative contact number. Phones and laptops often end up collecting dust in lost property boxes because there are no clear contact details. (A Good Samaritan won’t be able to re-call your last dialled number to find you if your smartphone is PIN or password-protected.)
  • Record — your handset’s IMEI number and keep it somewhere safe. Every mobile has a unique electronic 15-digit serial number. You can get your IMEI by dialing *#06#.
  • Block — Ask your network carrier to block your mobile phone handset if it is lost or stolen, using your IMEI number. You can unblock it if you get it back.
  • Get it back — install security software that helps you locate your device and retrieve or delete the information on it remotely.

“Most mobile devices are packed with valuable, often confidential, potentially irreplaceable business and personal information including contacts, photos, videos, emails, meeting notes, presentations and calendars. That makes it vital for travellers, especially those carrying sensitive company information, to protect their device — and their business — from theft or loss in transit,” AVG (AU/NZ) Security Evangelist Lloyd Borrett said.

AVG found that over half (53 percent) of travellers said their laptops contained sensitive or confidential business information, but just two in every three (65 percent) said they did nothing to protect or secure it.

Losing a laptop, tablet or smartphone with unsecured business data on it could have devastating results in terms of fraud, identity theft, reputation damage and lost business — particularly for small to medium-sized organisations (SMBs) that may not have the same resources to rectify the problem after the event.”

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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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