From tubes and trains, to coffee shops and restaurants, at some point all of us have experienced that sensation of someone reading over our shoulder. Usually these are harmless if somewhat annoying occurrences, however with the increasing move towards working on the go, protecting our mobile devices, laptops and data has never been more important.
Surveys have revealed that 89% of business travellers will snoop on their unsuspecting neighbours and that 69% of people don’t do anything to conceal their data. Data leakage is a serious issue for businesses, a fact which has been highlighted by a number of recent incidents which have made the national news headlines.
So what can you do to protect your data on the move?
Identify your sensitive data
Know what sensitive data you need to be concerned about in order to work out how best to protect it. It is important to know what information – client details, business plans, or intellectual property – is sensitive and therefore should be protected.
Know your environment
Research by 3M shows that 55% of on-screen privacy is violated on transportation (plane/train/bus) and 51% in public places (café, airport, hotel, etc). Be aware of who is around and take steps to minimise the risks.
Be aware of visual security breaches
Using a laptop or mobile device in public (planes, buses, trains, hotels, cafés, wifi hotspots etc), presents a high risk of people being able to view your on-screen data. Protect your screen from the sight of others. Consider using privacy screens on your laptop and mobile devices to reduce the risk of sensitive data being overlooked by strangers/competitors.
Keep track of your devices
USB’s, mobile devices, laptop PCs, CDs and portable hard drives can easily be left behind when in a rush so always check to make sure you have all your belongings. Beware of thieves targeting your laptops and mobiles, especially in busy urban environments like the underground. The physical cost of losing a device can be a minor inconvenience compared to the cost and negative publicity of a data breach, just ask the UK government.
Password protect your machines
Most laptops and smartphone will have password requirements on start-up and can be locked after a period of inactivity. Make use of these options to prevent unauthorised users accessing your information whilst your device is unattended or in the event of theft.
Be selective in your use of public WiFi networks
Public WiFi networks such as those available in airports, hotels, or Internet cafes are very convenient however they are not secure. Be careful what information you access or send and don’t undertake financial transactions on these networks.