Protecting Your Business Travelers

As a business owner, you take great pains to protect your physical and virtual infrastructure. You installed an access control system to prevent unauthorized access to the office and keep thieves at bay. You put in a secure firewall to control Internet traffic and keep your employees safe on the web. You have trained your workers well and warned them about the dangers posed by phishing and email-based cyber crime.

Those are all good steps, and important ways to keep your employees safe in the workplace. But what about when those same workers travel for business? Are you taking the same kinds of precautions to protect your traveling salespeople and other employees from the risk of cyber crime? Online criminals prey on business travelers because they tend to be easy targets. Travelers often let their guard down, simply assuming the security at the hotel or conference hall will protect them.

Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Hotels are not exactly known for their Wi-Fi security, and business travelers need to be even more vigilant when on the road. Here are some simple tips you can use to keep your business travelers safe and secure on the road.

  • Update all software before the trip. The salesperson who is traveling for business may be taking a laptop that has not connected to the network for a while. Updating that laptop before the trip begins is a vital first step.
  • Download updates only from trusted sites. Cyber criminals often send out fake update notices that in reality are viruses and back doors in disguise. If your software needs an update, go to the vendor website and download it from there.
  • Always insist on a virtual private network (VPN). Connecting to company resources without the security of a VPN is just asking for trouble. Unprotected traffic is easy to intercept, so train your workers to always connect via the company-supplied VPN.
  • Verify wireless networks. Watch out for bogus Wi-Fi networks, and warn your workers to do the same. It is easy for the bad guys to set up a fake Wi-Fi network, so always verify before you connect. Use only legitimate networks provided by hotels, conference halls, and other reliable vendors, and only use networks that are secured with a password.
  • Avoid public computers. It may be easy for the traveling salesperson to sit down at the public computer at the hotel, but doing so could put their data, and by extension the company data, at risk. Train your workers to avoid public computers when traveling and only use company-owned equipment and the authorized VPN to connect to business resources.
  • Pay attention to physical security. All the security measures in the world will do you no good if someone steals your laptop. Remind business travelers to take physical security seriously and never let the company equipment out of their sight.

Traveling for business can be a stressful experience, but that is no excuse to put cyber-security on the back burner. With the right training and procedures, your traveling employees can be just as secure on the road as they are in the office. The tips listed above can help you get started and ensure that your business travelers, and the data they carry, are safe and secure at all times.