Why Cybersecurity Should Be A Business Traveller’s Priority
Date: 26 March 2023
Cybercriminals are everywhere, always looking for security vulnerabilities to exploit. Several sophisticated cyber-attacks often start with phishing emails sent to unsuspecting employees. This results in a compromise of confidential information and/or privileged credentials. And this consequently leads to entire business networks being compromised and sensitive information being leaked.
Business travellers, in particular, are always at risk of becoming victims of cybercrime. This is simply because they regularly venture out of the safe cocoon of their office premises and the well-regulated IT infrastructure.
This is why businesses need to do everything possible to ramp up their endpoint security from attacks with proper Cyber Security during travel.
In this blog, we answer two vital questions:
1. Why Business Travellers Must Prioritise Cybersecurity?
2. How to Ensure Better Security for Business Travellers?
Why Business Travellers Must Prioritise Cybersecurity?
- They Must Stay Connected With Their Company: Communication is essential for business, especially for those organisations operating on a global scale. Employees who frequently travel must stay connected with their teams for continuous operations and productivity.
As these corporate travellers communicate using their devices in various settings, they often connect to public Wi-Fi networks. Unfortunately, most of these networks aren’t secure, so hackers compromise them right away.
A small human error like the employee leaving their device unattended on a hotel table, can also lead to a cybercriminal accessing it for sensitive data. Simple mistakes such as these can lead to massive information security breaches which can be devastating, especially for organisations operating in critical infrastructure, banking, healthcare etc.
- They Carry Confidential Data: Executive travellers often have access to sensitive business information like financial data, trade secrets, or intellectual property. If this data falls into the hands of rival brands or malicious threat actors, it can greatly compromise intellectual property.
A recent study shows that a cybersecurity trend includes cyber adversaries targeting 34.5% of polled executives.
But if the corporate traveller follows good cybersecurity practices, they can prevent this from happening. Using stronger passwords or biometric authentication on documents are some simple strategies they can use. Even if the hacker manages to compromise the device, they won’t be able to read through the information or cause much damage.
- Their Jobs Could be at Risk: When employees work for a company, safeguarding business data is one of their priorities. In other words, they’re liable for any data breach that could occur under their watch. And if they’re not careful, they could even lose their jobs.
Fortunately, executive travellers can avoid this with simple cybersecurity measures. For instance, if they’re attending corporate events abroad, they can use a safe virtual private network (VPN) to access the internet.
This prevents unauthorised users from tracking their intellectual property (IP) addresses and accessing information. This way, business professionals can reduce concerns around security risks and ensure that their jobs don’t suffer.
- They’re Vulnerable To Identity Theft: Identity theft is a common cybersecurity issue, which includes hackers stealing information such as names, addresses, and phone numbers through phishing or social engineering tactics. Once they get access to the right credentials, the results can be devastating - think a serious data breach or ransomware attack.
This is why business travellers need to take effective steps to protect themselves from identity theft while travelling. This includes securing their accounts with strong passwords and using two-factor authentication. In addition, all business travellers must install anti-virus software to protect their data from cybercriminals.
How to Ensure Better Security for Business Travellers?
We’ve seen why good cybersecurity practices are of paramount importance for the business traveller. Let’s, now, take a look at what these practices and cyber security solutions can be:
- Keep Devices Secure: Physical security of computer systems is very critical for the business traveller. In case a device gets stolen or even momentarily left behind, it can have severe consequences for the entire organisation’s security.
Basic security measures must be made a priority for the business traveller. These include using fingerprint authentication, using a new and complex PIN for the device. Even facial recognition can be a powerful tool to prevent your device from being compromised.
All devices must also be installed with effective antivirus software. This can go a long way in protecting your system from malware that can ultimately infect your device and steal information.
- Good Password Hygiene: Businesses must have a strong password policy in general but particularly for those executives who travel for work. It is imperative for business travellers to keep updating their passwords and use a combination of alphabets, numbers and special characters that are hard to guess.
One must avoid using combinations including their dates of birth and/or the name of their children as these can be easily guessed by a malicious threat actor.
Using password generators and password managers can be effective in this case.
- Keep apps and Operating Systems updated: Business travellers must make it a point to update the operating systems and apps on their devices before and not during their travels.
The updates usually contain fixes for known vulnerabilities and bugs, and patches for security loopholes. When you leave the office with updated software, you’re basically ensuring you are safer while you travel.
- Avoid using Public Wi-Fi & Keep Bluetooth Off: Using a Public Wi-Fi can be tempting but it must be avoided completely as these networks are often unsecure and unencrypted. This puts any information you share during the browsing session at risk. If you must use a Public Wi-Fi, make sure to use a VPN and ask your organisation to purchase a paid VPN for you.
- Invest in Security Awareness Training: It is also critical that businesses whose executives travel often for work and meetings invest in cybersecurity training for them.
Such training can help them understand their individual responsibilities towards organisational security. It can also elevate their cybersecurity awareness and understanding of basic security protocols that can go a long way in keeping the business information secure.
Cybercrime is rampant today because of the increase in use of digital devices and the internet. Corporate travellers who carry laptops or smartphones while travelling to another city or abroad are particularly vulnerable. And as we all know, it’s often an unintentional human error that causes loss of volumes of personally identifiable information and/or business data.
It is, therefore, very important that businesses recognise this risk and address it immediately. It’s also crucial to have cyber incident response plans and processes in place to effectively deal with an incident that may occur due to corporate travel. A cybersecurity expert such as a Virtual Cyber Assistant can help organisations create and/or refresh their incident plans, policies and procedures.