Editorials

Data Protection on Your (and Your User’s) Travel Times

Some really interesting posts coming out about proper caution when you’re connecting to networks as you travel about for the holidays. Of course, it really applies all the time, in all cases. But at this time when travel is such a key part of the year, some good reminders.

One of the things I’ve personally seen more and more are hotspots cropping up at hotels, at airports, at public spots. These hotspots, when they’re sanctioned and controlled, are a great tool for staying connected. BUT, in many cases, it’s pretty clear these are mobile hotspots, not associated with the location. I’m sure not all of them are nefarious.

It’s important though, to understand that any of them could be.

Be cautious of connecting to any hotspot you can’t be certain of, and of course, no, the fact that the splash screen looks legit probably isn’t your best judge of the character of the connection.

Here’s a link to information provided by the FBI.

This being a data site, you know there is a tie-in here too. There is always an uptick in people packing up their stuff to take on the road around these times. People that may not travel as much, or may have unique requirements while they’re gone for year-end, etc. Why is this important?

There is often an uptake in the numbers of USB drives, packed with all sorts of information, that are being dragged around. From disk drives to USB keys and more. This is something to be singing from the rooftops about in terms of caution. Teaching (and re-teaching and reminding) people about the protection of those drives, that information, is never out of place here.

Teaching people about encryption options, from encrypting and protecting the drive to simply saving the worksheet with a password, is a very important thing to be doing. Showing them how to protect that data that is all of a sudden mobile is critical.

One final note – around Thanksgiving, there were also alerts that were being issued that warned about connecting to those charging stations you see throughout airports. Why? Because there were bulletins that could potentially be used to connect to your phone, pull information from there for access, passwords, history, contacts, other information on the phone. It’s an easy thing to connect to get some charging done and forget that that’s a 2-way USB connection to your phone.

Phone hot-spots are a great way to connect if you need to. Batteries are a great way to charge your phone if needed or plug into your own power pack and into the power outlet.

Be overly cautious, overly secured, and educate those that might not have as much experience or exposure to the security requirements for protecting data and information.

No one wants to have the “um, I lost my USB key with the payroll information on it” conversation. Ever.

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