Tips for mobile workforce to stay secure

by CXOtoday Staff    May 31, 2010

Today’s workforce is one that is increasingly mobile and networked. Executive and entrepreneurs often trot the globe for business purposes. While they do so, they carry with them their laptops and other mobile devices, which contain sensitive business data. When they travel, they move out of their organizational information security firewalls. Research shows that free wireless public networks located in airports and other public places are ripe for exploitation by hackers, thus putting business and personal data vulnerable to breaches.

AVG Technologies suggests tips for travelling executives to stay safe on their business and leisure trips:

Security Settings:
1) Make sure your system is updated with robust anti-virus software that includes a real-time web scanner, firewall and e-mail protection.
2) Ensure that you clean your devices of any spyware and malware before every trip and periodically do so even during the visit. This will reduce the risks of attacks in unsecure zones.
3) Guarantee that the security settings (including firewall settings) on your devices are set on high and on maximum prevention.

Wi-fi and High Speed Internet Zones:
1) Be very careful what information you share in public locations. Even seemingly innocuous logins to Web-mail accounts could give hackers access to get into your more important data, especially if you’re like most people and use the same password - maybe with a few variants - for almost of your online accounts.
2) Turn off shared folders. If you unwittingly connect to a malicious network, a hacker could easily transfer a malicious spyware agent onto your machine that could follow you and track your online activities even after you leave the public location.
3) When at hotels, airports or restaurants make sure you use the secure connections offered by them.
4) As far as possible, while travelling, avoid logging in onto any financial websites or using your credit cards to conduct any transactions online especially when in Wi-Fi zones.

Data on Your Device:

1) Ensure your laptops and PDAs are protected using hard drive password locking systems. Another effective tip to avoid outsiders from accessing your personal files is enabling screen-saver passwords. This will ensure that even if someone gets hold of your devices, they won’t be able to access any information and data.  
2) Ensure that you create back-ups of all your work and personal data that you have on your devices before your expedition and keep it in a safe and secure place.

Physical theft:
1) Avoid carrying written copies of passwords, credit card numbers and other PINs, which can easily be lost or stolen and fall into the wrong hands.
2) Use locks, combinations, chains and other devices to avoid thefts.
3) Avoid saving any personal data or confidential data on your laptop, mobile phone or PDAs so that the information doesn’t fall into the hands of criminals in case of thefts.
4) If your laptop, phone or other portable device is stolen, make sure that you report the theft to the local police.