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Vacation Checklist: How to Relax and Protect Confidential Data

Posted  July 11, 2017  by  Lynn Brown



Can’t wait for your summer vacation to begin?

Before you head out, don't forget to consider mobile data protection and other security safeguards.

Just because you take a holiday, it doesn't mean thieves will - and security experts suggest that confidential data is probably more at risk at this time because everyone’s guards are down.

Here’s how to have a great vacation – and keep confidential information secure.

PLANNING

  • If shopping for holidays online, don’t be fooled. Many cyber criminals create fake websites and describe them for search engines with keywords like ‘summer travel’ and ‘holiday vacation’. On the website, visitors are lured into sharing identities and other personal information.  
  • Don’t share vacation plans on social media. Criminals often use this information for different crimes such as making fraud attempts more realistic.
  • Patch and update operating systems, browsers, and anti-virus programs on all mobile devices you plan on taking (such as laptop, tablet and smartphone).
  • For cyber security, update applications you will need while you’re away so that accounts including payment information are configured. Enable two-factor authentication if supported.
  • Power down desktop computers, and lock away mobile devices you aren’t taking. Turn off and secure unnecessary Internet of Things devices too.
  • Clear the desk, and file or put confidential paper documents that are no longer needed into locked consoles for secure shredding. A Clean Desk Policy in the workplace is great guidance.
  • Be sure that office staff members are aware of information security best practices. Hang up or distribute security reminders

PACKING

  • If you use your own mobile device for work remember that even if you delete confidential documents, they will not be permanently removed from the hard drive. Ask yourself - does the device really need to go on holiday with you? If you do bring mobile devices, record and safely store the serial numbers. 
  • Take only the confidential documents that are absolutely necessary, whether hard copy or electronic. Make sure these important documents, such as passports, are stored in a secure location that you can easily access at any time (such as in a purse, briefcase or carry-on with secure inside pockets.) 

ON HOLIDAY

  • Keep all mobile devices with you or safely locked away (but not in checked baggage).
  • Keep confidential paper documents close. Don’t leave boarding passes behind, for example, because personally identifiable information is hidden in the barcode. 
  • Use public Wi-Fi only for basic browsing and applications that do not involve confidential data. Consider getting a Virtual Private Connection VPN, which will protect data with an encrypted connection.
  • Don’t download apps indiscriminately. Trust only official app stores, and avoid third party vendors.
  • Don’t charge devices on USB outlets provided by hotels – you never know what they might contain. Instead, bring your own phone charger, and plug it into a regular wall outlet.
  • In public places, protect your screen, keyboard, and paper documents from prying eyes.  
  • Don't dispose of documents containing confidential data unless you can verify that it will be securely shredded; if needed, bring documents home and store them safely until they can be securely destroyed. 

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