Cyber Hygiene for International Business Travel

International business travel requires a lot of preparation and planning. As your team preps for their next big meeting, cybersecurity while traveling abroad should be taken into consideration. As with all cybersecurity measures, international cyber hygiene is all about risk management. The following security best practices will help your organization be confident in the security of your data, even as your team travels the globe.

Do your research

Just like with physical safety, traveling to some countries is riskier than travelling to others. Though cyber threats are everywhere, international travel to countries known to sponsor hacking efforts, such as ChinaIran, and Russia, poses a bigger risk to your information. Additionally, certain industries, like energy, finance, and tech, make juicier targets for corporate espionage. 

When conducting business in high-threat areas, your organization should be aware of the specific cyber threats and defensive challenges of that area and implement security controls accordingly. Many countries have different laws surrounding digital privacy and cybersecurity, and it is critical for the safety of both your data and your employees to be aware of these regulations. China, for example, restricts the use of VPNs– a common cybersecurity measure in much of the world.

Bring a burner

Consider having designated travel or “burner” devices at your organization. There is no need for employees to bring the entirety of their work– including sensitive documents– every time they travel. Designating devices for travel, and wiping them after each trip, helps minimize the potential damage in case of a compromise.  

Use a VPN

Hopefully your organization already mandates that employees use a VPN when accessing corporate data on any unsecured networks. This is especially true while traveling. Even password-protected Wi-Fi networks at hotels or internet cafes can pose a threat to your data. Using a VPN will greatly reduce the risks associated with unsecured Wi-Fi. However, it is important to be mindful of local laws regarding the use of VPNs.

Turn off Bluetooth when not in use

Bluetooth allows for short-range wireless communication between devices. While Bluetooth is incredibly convenient, leaving it on while not in-use is the cybersecurity equivalent of not locking the doors before leaving the house. Bluetooth should always be turned off when not actively in-use.  

Encrypt devices

Encrypting devices helps ensure that even if the device itself is compromised, the information on the disk is safe. Most laptops, smartphones, and tablets have settings that will allow you to remotely wipe the device. If your device is lost or even momentarily misplaced, wiping the device should be your first line of defense against a security incident. 

As your team travels, remember that one of the main pillars of an effective cybersecurity strategy is employee awareness. Your organization should develop clear policies around cyber hygiene and business travel and educate your employees on the importance of adhering to these procedures. If you need guidance on creating travel policies or would like to schedule an employee cyber awareness training, contact us.