Suitcase: check. Phone charger: check. Boarding pass: check. When traveling, do you make a mental list of everything you need to remember to bring? With any business trip, there's a fair amount of planning involved, whether it's memorizing a conference schedule or booking lodging accommodations. Often, though, travelers forget about IT security, neglecting to properly prepare their devices for departure. 

According to the Kensington IT Security Survey Report, 25 percent of company employees reported IT theft in cars and transportation and more than 15 percent reported devices were stolen from their hotel or at the airport. Are you or your clients practicing unsafe IT habits on-the-go?

Your Travel ITinerary

We've already covered IT security best practices at the office, but what about when you're away? If you can, don’t take your personal devices on work trips. Purchase an inexpensive laptop, specifically for traveling and look into a prepaid business phone as well. But if you have to take your personal devices, here are tips to consider:

1. Bring the necessities 

Be wary of what data you have stored on your device(s). Reduce the risk of losing sensitive data that you don’t need for the trip by transferring it from the device to an external hard drive. Also, minimize the number of logins and passwords, credit card information, social security numbers, etc. you carry on your device.

2. Make sure your software is up-to-date

Be sure your operating system and your antivirus software is current and fully patched. It’s a good idea to check and see the manufacturer’s website to see if there are any software or firmware updates. 

Are your clients practicing secure behavior? Share these cybersecurity tips with them! 

3. Encrypt your laptop

Encrypting your laptop will safeguard your information from being accessed in the event that it is stolen, misplaced, or accidentally left behind. Think about any time you set your computer bag down to grab that much-needed caffeine boost! In the time it takes to collect your coffee, someone could have already made off with your laptop. The same applies to any other digital device, which is why mobile device management (MDM) is another necessary security precaution for businesses. 

4. Secure your devices

Employ strong passwords and turn on your firewall to reduce the risk of unauthorized access. Make sure you have screen lock settings activated as well. Additionally, consider investing in a privacy screen, so when you are working you can prevent “shoulder surfers.” 

5. Connect to trusted WiFi networks

Try to stick to networks that require a password or some form of authentication to join. Of course, people trying to access your information can join these networks as well, but there is less of a risk this way. If you don’t have to be connected to the Internet, turn off your WiFi completely.

6. Use a VPN

If you have access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), use it. VPNs both provide the best security by enabling safe access and allow you to get online while protecting your information.

7. Keep your device(s) with you

Try to keep your device(s) on your person at all times. Unless it contains a safe, avoid leaving your device(s) in your hotel room. Remember if you have to leave your computer, be sure to turn your laptop completely off. This is especially important when going through security check at airports. What's to stop someone from swiping your laptop from the conveyor belt or grabbing the wrong computer bag?

Travel can be a real hassle - the congestion at TSA security checkpoints, luggage that won't fit in the overhead bin, not to mention the inconvenience of living out of a suitcase. That's understandable. But consider how much more of a crisis it would be to suffer a data breach because you didn't practice safe IT security travel habits. Adopt this ITinerary next time you take off, and you'll avoid this unnecessary turbulence. Safe travels!