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Business trips are fantastic opportunities to meet new people, see the world and explore new cultures and ways of working. But they’re also big opportunities for data thieves and hackers keen on purloining your personal information. Here’s how to stay safe while travelling with work.
Your security arrangements should start way before you get to the airport. While you should arrange travel insurance whenever you travel, travel insurance specifically for business travellers could save you a lot of hassle should anything go wrong on your trip.
With business-specific cover, you can ensure your business equipment like smartphones, laptops and tablets are protected in case of theft or damage. Some providers also give you money towards hiring replacement devices, so you’ll still be able to work.
What if you fall ill and you can’t attend a meeting? Some business travel insurance policies will pay the travel and accommodation costs for a colleague to take your place. Delays, flight cancellations, possible legal expenses and your personal effects are also covered. As are medical and financial protection for employees and their families.
Once you arrive, chances are one of the first things you’ll do is look for a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can catch up on work. But wait! Unsecured hotspots might be very convenient, but they are vulnerable to hackers looking to steal your data.
You should stay wary even once you arrive at your hotel. Last year, security firm Cylance found that 277 hotels around the world – including those in the top 10 chains – were susceptible to having their Wi-Fi networks hacked because of a critical vulnerability. Hotels seem a particularly tempting target for hackers. A study by Trustwave’s SpiderLabs showed that of 218 data breach investigations across 24 countries, 38 per cent of the attacks occurred on hotels.
Of course, a hacker could simply create their own Wi-Fi network, call it ‘Hotel Wi-Fi’, and wait for people to log on. Then they would be able to read everything a guest does online, unless they encrypt their information.
To stay safe, avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots altogether. Or encrypt your data using a virtual private network (VPN) which scrambles all your information so it can’t be read by hackers. Failing that, connect to the internet by tethering your device to your phone. Admittedly this will use a lot of data and could incur big roaming fees if abroad, so make sure you’ve accounted for that.
If you can, you should avoid online banking while abroad to make sure your details aren’t harvested. If you have to log in, use the bank’s dedicated mobile app and use your data connection rather than a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Keeping your device’s software up to date will make it less liable to malware, so look to install anti-virus software. Following these simple steps will ensure you and your employees are covered for any eventuality.
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