Stay Safe, Secure, and Connected While on the Road
Although summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 21st, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the season. Travel experts at AAA expected nearly 40 million Americans to hit the roads and take to the skies, even with COVID-19 cases rising again and gasoline prices near all-time highs.
If those estimates pan out, that would make this past long weekend one of the busiest travel periods in more than two years, nearing pre-pandemic levels. AAA spokesperson Ellen Edmonds chalked that up to one thing: pent-up demand.
With schedules remaining flexible for millions of Americans, this summer could also be one of the biggest tests of hybrid work. Before you set up a remote office in your vacation rental or try dialing into meetings from the road, however, consider these six tips compiled by CMIT Solutions.
Hopefully, they can help you enhance cybersecurity, boost productivity, and protect devices, all while making the most of any summer travel plans.
1) Only use secure, password-protected Wi-Fi connections. Public Wi-Fi networks are everywhere these days—in coffee shops, restaurants, airports, and even public parks. These free connections are easily manipulated and often hacked, however, which can compromise your login credentials, shared files, and private information. Any time you work remotely, only sign in to private, password-protected Wi-Fi networks. If you have the capabilities, a personal hotspot on your mobile device or virtual private network (VPN) on your laptop is even safer, adding a second layer of security to your connection. If you have to use public Wi-Fi, make sure it’s only for general web browsing—never transmit important data, log in to financial accounts, or access shared cloud drives unless you use a password to connect.
2) Activate two-step verification on all accounts before you travel. No matter how far afield you plan to go this summer or what kind of Wi-Fi connection you expect to use, you can step up cybersecurity on all personal accounts by activating multi-factor authentication (MFA) or using single sign-on (SSO) to log in. MFA requires your normal password along with a unique code or key delivered via text message or email. But if you might not have service on your travels, consider using an SSO application that generates security keys without a cellular or Wi-Fi signal. Make sure backup devices like laptops, tablets, and mobile phones have the SSO application downloaded before you travel, as well.
3) Check to make sure your data is backed up regularly, remotely, and redundantly. If you are affected by ransomware or another type of infection while away from home and the office, data loss could throw a wrench in your remote work plans. That’s why it’s so important to make sure proper data backups are executed automatically on all machines before you hit the road—and, if you’re connected to a reliable cloud backup provider, that the backup process continues to function while you’re traveling. Oftentimes, this can be a lifesaver if you’re struck by a data breach or password compromise—or simply click a bad link or have a laptop crash on you. Implementing this kind of automated data backup protocol may require the help of a trusted IT provider, but when you need to recover quickly from unexpected data loss, it’s worth it.
4) Extend your battery life with a reliable portable charger. Every traveler has had an important device die right before sending an important email or making a critical flight change. With a good battery pack in your back pocket, however, you’ll never have to worry about finding an accessible outlet or angling for a spot at a charging station with other desperate travelers. Today’s affordable and convenient portable battery chargers work best with USB cords and come in many shapes and sizes, allowing you to charge one, two, or sometimes even three devices at the same time. Larger (and more expensive) suitcase packs can even offer a standard three-prong plug for laptop chargers, too, if you need enhanced protection while traveling.
5) Make sure the important documents you need are on your travel device and in the cloud. Add this to the list of tasks that should be completed before you leave town for summer vacation or board a plane for a work trip—that way you can rest assured everything you need is at your fingertips. Keeping common business documents in a secure, accessible cloud folder that fits the needs of your company allows everyone on your team to collaborate efficiently and effectively. Personal documents can also be stored in free versions of popular providers like Google and Microsoft, with mobile apps available to effortlessly sync things between your phone and laptop. With good cloud sync and share, you’ll also have version control, track changes, and reviewable comments available, along with the ability to work on documents offline but have updates automatically synced the next time you connect to the Internet.
6) When you’re ready to disconnect, leverage Do Not Disturb settings and out-of-office messages. Summer travel shouldn’t be all work and no play, of course. Make sure you build in time to completely disconnect, refresh, and recharge away from email, social media, and streaming apps. Studies show that checking out for a few days (or even a few hours a day) can deliver real rewards in productivity and efficiency while helping you avoid burnout. When it’s time to power down and disconnect, write a straightforward out-of-office message that explains when you’ll be gone, when you’ll respond, and who to contact in your absence. Then, check the Do Not Disturb settings on your phone to select what calls, texts, and notifications can come through.
Although it’s impossible to predict precisely what Summer 2022 will look like, early reports indicate that travel will be far busier than in 2020 and slightly busier than in 2021. When you’re ready to hit the road but remain connected, CMIT Solutions can help with data and device protection, safe remote access, and productivity boosters to keep all of your employees working on the same page.
At CMIT Solutions, we worry about IT so you don’t have to—no matter when, where, or from what device you’re working.