With schools closed for the season and the heat baking outdoors, summer is fully upon us. With summer often comes vacation. Thus, we’d like to take a moment to review a few IT tips to stay safe while you travel.
Often we find ourselves accessing the internet from our hotel rooms while traveling. While often (but not always) a secured network, it is important to remember that hotels are in the hospitality industry and not the IT industry. Very often the WiFi passwords will be shared or easy to predict. Because of this, we cannot guarantee safety using the WiFi security. In order to protect access to sensitive information, it is helpful to use a VPN. This can be a hardware VPN, for example created by your company’s firewall, or via a service such as ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access. The advantage to using a service is that both personal and business interactions are secured. Keep in mind that either hardware or service VPN approach may require advance preparation with your IT team, for example for IP whitelisting or other policy requirements.
Another common option for internet access while traveling is public internet. To stay safe while you travel, this should be avoided if possible. Essentially, public WiFi has all the pitfalls of hotel WiFi except that it guarantees anyone listening is able to monitor your IP traffic. Open networks such as public WiFi networks are common target for man-in-the-middle attacks or malware downloads through filesharing. If you must use a public WiFi, we strongly recommend a VPN.
While important to remember always, during travel is an especially critical time to keep track of phones, tablets, laptops, or other devices. Physical access to hardware is one of the easier methods of accessing sensitive information. Always alert IT security if any devices go missing at any time.
A few additional simple tips: Be mindful of prying eyes if typing passwords or logins in public places. Do not plug in gifted, found, or unusual USB devices as they may contain and execute malware. While less common in the United States (but still popular in some international locations), do not use public computers, such as at a library or internet café, for any sensitive internet communications (to include any personal logins).
Generally speaking, if you plan on traveling and logging in to any work-related materials, consult your IT personnel to learn about any company specific policies or advance preparations that may be needed.
While too long a list to examine in the context of this article, it is a good idea for workplaces to have policies and procedures in place for remote logins (to include staying safe while traveling). These policies could include and/or address: control for collaborative machines, multifactor authentication, general organizational policies on access (such as IP or Time of Day restriction), controls for remote or otherwise unusual sys admin access, and specific monitoring and logging for remote access.
If you need help with getting your business ready for folks being remote while they’re traveling, CONTACT US and we can help shine a light!