Safe travels: protecting your intellectual property
When travelling for business, you probably take many electronic devices with you to keep your trip productive. What you may not know is that there are different privacy standards when travelling; your intellectual property could be vulnerable to electronic snooping. Preventative measures can keep you protected.
Before you go:
Prepare yourself and your electronic devices before your trip to avoid any unnecessary complications.
- Prepare your laptop — Install updates and security software that can act as a wall against electronic spying.
- Bluetooth — Check the settings on your Bluetooth device to see what the networking capabilities are. Be cautious about to whom you connect; once connected the user can access your information without authorization.
- Data — Strip unneeded data from your laptop; back up your files. If possible, bring or buy temporary devices, such as a disposable cell phone.
- Passwords — Change all your passwords; use strong combinations that incorporate numbers and letters. Think about installing a privacy screen for your laptop.
Familiarize yourself with the privacy standards of your destination to avoid surprises; every country has different data protection and privacy laws. If you have any concerns, contact the embassy or mission of the country to which you're travelling.
When you arrive:
Once at your destination, there are practices that can keep your electronics secure.
- Keep your electronics with you at all times. Don't draw attention to your devices in public; lock up electronics when not in use.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) on the Internet. Don't allow foreign electronic storage devices to connect to your computer or phone.
- Public places (Internet cafés, hotels, airports) are hotspots for identity thieves; your electronic privacy can be compromised. Disable your Wi-Fi when you're not connecting to the Internet.
When you arrive home, reset all account passwords on your devices. As a final security step, run a malware sweep to check for viruses or malicious software that can be accessed by a foreign entry point at a later date.
The priority on your trip is to achieve your business objectives. While many variables are unknown when travelling, safety practices can keep you on task and your electronic devices secure. For more information on how to protect your intellectual property, check out our copyright and intellectual property section.