Every time you or one of your employees slings a laptop bag over a shoulder and hits the road for a business trip or remote working session, your company tempts disruption.
Why? Because study after study confirms the human element continues as one of the largest risk factors involved in Business Continuity, the processes and procedures surrounding restoring critical business systems after some sort of catastrophic failure. A host of human behaviors and blunders can provide more opportunity for system failures and network downtime than a horde of cyber villains ever could. Anything from dropping a laptop to losing a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, can become an occasion for loss, data breaches, malware, viruses, etc.
We have covered cybersecurity aspects of working from anywhere – home, hotels, cafes, coffee shops, libraries, lobbies of commercial buildings, etc. But how about transit time? Getting from here to there poses particular challenges to business continuity, as laptops and mobile devices move in and out of vehicles and hotel rooms, on and off of planes and trains, and into and out of various Wi-Fi networks.
Info-security experts, frequent traveler and Computerworld columnist Kenneth van Wyk recently posted backup and security tips for fellow road warriors on CIO.com. Here’s a digest:
- Consider Designated Travel Hardware – Instead of carrying your main laptop with you everywhere, consider buying another one just for traveling, especially long trips. Plus, carry a designated removable hard drive specifically and exclusively for backing up your systems and data.
- Keep a Minimalist Configuration – Before leaving your home or office, copy only the business files you need for that trip to your travel system, which should only have core applications and data necessary for typical work. And upon your return, be sure to update files on your company server, securely removing them from your travel system.
- Encrypt Everything – Use a backup tool that allows you to encrypt backup files and your traveling hard drive. Also, full-disk encryption for your travel laptop, which requires an additional password. Use complex passwords and passphrases that only you would recall easily – and never store this information on your travel laptop or other mobile device. You want to prevent your traveling hardware from becoming the key that unlocks your other devices – and the rest of your company’s systems.
- Shutdown Whenever You’re Not Working – Want to worry about the security of every app, interface and transmitter loaded onto your laptop while you’re relaxing, recreating or just plain taking a break? Of course you don’t.
- Set Firewalls to Block Everything – Configure your travel system’s firewall to block all incoming connections.
- Always Use a VPN – Enable your VPN whenever connecting to the internet whether via hotspot, a wireless carrier or over a hotel’s Wi-Fi.
- Separate Traveling Hardware – Take advantage of the removable feature of your backup hard drive by detaching and separating it from your traveling laptop when not in use. If a hotel safe is available, store the hard drive there, even when you’re in the room. This minimizes the possibility that laptop and backup can be lost or stolen at the same time.