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Intellectual Property Protection Strategies for Business Travelers

“The moment you leave the office with your device, the risk of suffering data loss goes up by several times,” says Gill-Chris Welles of the security team at idcloak, “New exploits open up in all threat areas: physical theft, hacking, cookie jacking, packet-sniffer attacks – they are all much more likely to happen while traveling.

But if certain measures are put in place before a journey, you can limit the likelihood of data loss and, if it does happen, limit the damage that loss causes.” According to idcloak, a common mistake that businesspeople make is to subconsciously value their device over the data stored on it, “Many only realize the full extent of harm that data loss causes them after the los0.s has occurred. Business travelers need to be in a security mindset before they even begin their journey – ask themselves, ‘What data have I got on my device, and what damage could it do if it were lost?’”

idcloak’s first protection tip relates to physical theft. “Before setting off, ask your IT department to prepare your device for travel. They may install software that enables you to lock, operate or wipe clean your device remotely and, of course, to track its whereabouts by GPS if it is lost or stolen.”

Often data itself is the target for thieves, rather than the device itself, and Welles recommends using cloud storage exclusively, “Before you travel, clean your device’s drives of any data you don’t want to end up in others’ hands: it should all be stored in the cloud. To ensure that your data is protected and that only you can access to it, encrypt it with software like TrueCrypt prior to uploading it to your cloud storage provider. That way you are not dependent on the security of your connection, since the data itself is secured before it is transmitted. Also, if your data has significant market value, check if your company has you covered by data loss insurance and that your security practices while traveling are in line with the minimum security protocols demanded by the insurance policy.”

Hotel WiFi network hacks have received a lot of press lately. Welles had this to say on how to connect to hotel wireless safely: “Firstly, think twice about installing or updating any software on your computer while traveling. According to the FBI, recent malware attacks on hotel internet connections were delivered through rogue updates to common software. So update at home, not abroad.”

“Then, at minimum ensure HTTPS with a valid certificate protects your data as it is transferred – this will keep you safe against most WiFi sniffers. But better still, use the VPN tunnel your company provides, or subscribe to a trusted personal VPN service yourself: this security essential will encrypt all your internet activity, not just your browser’s, and make you immune to pack sniffing or man-in-the-middle attacks while you access your email or cloud-stored data.”

idcloak Technologies provides web services for security, control and freedom on the net. For more information, visit

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