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Five ways to protect valuable data on-the-go

The BYOD trend as well as the rise of cloud computing and remote video teleconferencing have meant that securing sensitive data on-the-go is becoming a growing challenge for SMBs. Here are five tips for every business owners to consider when travelling.

The Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) study conducted by the Verizon RISK team found there were 855 data breach incidents in 2011, in which 174 million records were compromised.

According to the report, 98 percent of breaches stemmed from external agents, internal employees were implicated in just under 4 percent, and fewer than 1 percent of breaches were done at the hands of business partners.

SMBs might be able address data security hot spots inside their business, but many of these measures fall away when travelling for business. When overseas, lost laptops and mobile devices as well as unsecured wireless networks can all lead to the loss of data.

With this in mind, here are five data security tips from Kroll Advisory Solutions for every business traveller to consider:

1. Ensure your mobile devices are travel ready

For travel purposes, remove sensitive material from your mobile device. This should be done in addition to standard precautions such as encryption, disabling of file-sharing, peer-to-peer communications and vulnerable ports (for laptops and other devices) as well as various security and antivirus programs.

2. Don’t check in

Location-based tools are rapidly increasing in popularity, thanks in part to the pinpoint accuracy of geolocation technology found in today’s mobile devices.

When users “check in” on a location-based social network they’ve broadcast to the world vital information as to their whereabouts, which unintentionally provides vital information to a competitor. Competitive intelligence is increasingly valuable and there are companies that have caught on to using the information freely available from social networking tools to their advantage. When in doubt, think before you post.

3. Don’t forget about paper

Given the proliferation of mobile devices and electronic data, it’s easy to dismiss sensitive paper documents as no longer being a concern, but make no mistake: the data that travellers carry with them is not all electronic in nature.

The physical security of these paper documents needs to be taken into consideration. Never leave documents unsecured in a hotel room or rental car; keep them in the room safe when not in use or keep them with you in a locked briefcase.

4. Know the latest and greatest scams/threats

As we continue to hear of more scams specifically targeting travellers, it’s important to be aware of the most current threats.

Social engineering schemes seem to dominate, particularly at hotels. Sensitive business data aside, it’s important for business travellers to recognise and minimise their risks. Organisations like the BBB, travel agencies or the U.S. Department of State frequently publish information on the latest scams targeting travellers’ information.

5. Be extra vigilant during international travel

According to the FBI, cyber-espionage is a growing problem for corporate entities doing business abroad. In many countries, the laws protecting your sensitive data may be quite weak, making it easier for opportunistic cyber thieves to steal data.

In other instances, foreign competitors may aggressively target your corporate travellers in an effort to steal valuable intelligence.

Michelle Sammut

Michelle Sammut

Michelle Sammut is an intern at Dynamic Business. She is completing a Communication and Media degree at The University of Notre Dame majoring in Journalism and English Literature. She likes news and community radio, writing and quiet time.

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