Feature: Securing devices on-the-go: cybersecurity practices for travellers

Candid Wuest of VP Acronis Research, lays out some key strategies to keep remote devices secure.

Advancements in technology have revolutionised the way we travel, providing convenience and connectivity at our fingertips. However, these technological improvements have also made travellers—including your clients and employees—increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats.

As an MSP, it is crucial to prioritise security practices, both onsite and offsite. Here are some key strategies to ensure the safety of devices and data, regardless of location:

Implement strong password policies

Encourage the use of strong passwords and PINs that are at least twelve characters long, combining uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. This practice makes it more difficult for hackers to guess or crack passwords using brute force or dictionary attacks. Avoiding easily guessed information (such as names, birthdays, or addresses) is essential.

According to a survey by Google and Harris Poll, 52% of people reuse the same passcodes for multiple accounts, and 13% use the same one to access everything. Make sure your clients and employees are not part of those statistics. Instead, implement password management applications that require everyone to use a unique and random code for each account and device. This makes it easy to ensure every end-user is creating and storing everything securely.

Keep devices up-to-date

Regularly updating devices with the latest security patches and firmware is crucial to protect against known vulnerabilities. Vendors constantly release these updates to address bugs and security loopholes to keep users safe from cyber threats. As an MSP, it is important to stay vigilant and ensure every device under your protection is always up-to-date. Enable automatic updates whenever possible to be sure critical security patches are promptly installed.

Promote responsible sharing

When travelling, your clients or employees may be tempted to post their experiences online with friends and family. However, caution should be exercised in disclosing sensitive information publicly. Remind everyone to avoid sharing travel itineraries, hotel details, or personal contact information on social media or other platforms. Advise against posting photos of boarding passes or travel tickets. Such information can attract unwanted attention from hackers, scammers, or even burglars. Encourage end-users to limit the audience to trusted individuals and reiterate the importance of refraining from sharing too many details of trips (and how long they will be away from home).

Caution against public wi-fi networks

Access points in hotels, conference centres, and public areas pose significant security risks. These networks are typically unsecured, allowing hackers to intercept data and potentially inject malware into devices. Warn everyone (clients, employees, friends, and family members) to avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi and instead use secure mobile networks when possible. Implementing solutions with anti-malware protection help prevent your clients from accessing harmful websites or downloading malicious files, regardless of their location.

Emphasise regular data backups

Data loss can be devastating, especially when traveling. Stress the importance of regularly backing up important files, such as photos, videos, documents, and contacts. Various methods can be employed, including cloud storage services, external hard drives, or USBs. Assess their needs and recommend the most suitable solutions which keeps data properly protected and easily restorable.

Highlight the need for secure device storage

When in public areas like airports or coffee shops, clients and their employees should always avoid leaving their devices unattended. If it is absolutely necessary to step away, devices should be securely locked with a password or PIN and stored in a safe place. There are many anti-theft bags that can be securely tethered to furniture if they must step away momentarily. Ensure that tracking apps are installed or activated on the devices you manage to make recovery easier if theft or accidental loss does occur.

Foster awareness of surroundings

Educate everyone on how to best maintain situational awareness while travelling or out-and-about. Highlight to your clients the importance of being attentive to people around them and how to promptly report any suspicious behaviour to authorities. Recommend or provide locks or security cables for computer bags that can minimise the risk of theft and remind them to avoid using devices in crowded places where others may have visibility into their online activities or credentials.

Travel with confidence

Implementing these essential cybersecurity practices allows MSPs to significantly enhance the security of clients’ and employees’ devices and data when they travel. Through regular newsletters, share tips and reminders to ensure everyone stays informed about the importance of maintaining strong passwords, keeping devices up-to-date, and implementing responsible sharing practices. Constantly remind end-users to avoid public Wi-Fi networks, perform regular data backups, adopt secure storage options, and to always be aware of their surroundings.

MSPs should also consider creating and sharing electronics policies that cover technology use outside the office and developing guidelines to ensure safe and secure remote work practices.

Proactive measures, education, and effective policy implementation allow your clients and employees to enjoy their journeys with peace of mind, knowing their digital footprint (and personal information) will be better protected.

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