July 25, 2017

Holiday Checklist: How to Relax and Protect Confidential Data

Can’t wait for your summer holiday to begin?

Don’t forget to plan for mobile data protection and other security safeguards.

Information thieves hardly ever take a holiday, and security experts suggest that confidential data is probably more at risk at this time because people's guards are down.

Here’s how to have a great holiday – and keep confidential information secure

  • If shopping for holidays online, don’t be fooled. Many cyber criminals create fake websites and make them easy to find on search engines with keywords like ‘summer travel’ and ‘summer holiday’. On the website, visitors are lured into sharing identity and other personal information.  
  • Don’t share holiday plans on social media. Criminals can use this information for a multitude of unsavoury purposes, such as making fraud attempts more realistic. 
  • If you use your own mobile device for work remember that even if you delete confidential documents, they will not be permanently removed from the hard drive. Does the device really need to go on holiday with you?
  • Patch and update operating systems, browsers, and anti-virus programs on all mobile devices you plan on taking (such as laptop, tablet and smartphone).
  • For cyber security, update applications you will need while you’re away so that accounts including payment information are configured. Enable two-factor authentication if supported. 
  • Take only the confidential documents that are absolutely necessary, whether hard copy or electronic.
  • Power down desktop computers, and lock away mobile devices you aren’t taking. Turn off and secure unnecessary Internet of Things devices too. Clear the desk, and file or put confidential paper documents that are no longer needed into locked consoles for secure shredding. A Clean Desk Policy in the workplace is a great way to ensure this becomes routine.
  • Be sure that office staff members are aware of information security best practices. Post up or distribute security reminders. There should also be a fraud hotline for reporting suspicious behaviour.  
  • Be sure there's someone in the IT department who will be available to provide assistance if you need help during their holidays.
  • Record and safely store the serial numbers of mobile devices you are taking.

On Holiday

  • Avoid posting about your holiday publicly on social media.
  • Keep all mobile devices with you or safely locked away (but not in checked baggage).
  • Keep confidential paper documents close. Don’t leave boarding passes behind, for example, because personally identifiable information is hidden in the barcode. 
  • Use public Wi-Fi only for basic browsing and applications that do not involve confidential data. Consider getting a Virtual Private Connection VPN, which will protect data with an encrypted connection.
  • Don’t download apps indiscriminately. Trust only official app stores, and avoid third party vendors.
  • Don’t charge devices on USB outlets provided by hotels – you never know what they might contain. Instead, bring your own phone charger, and plug it into a wall socket.
  • In public places, protect your screen, keyboard, and paper documents from prying eyes.  
  • Ensure that paper and digital documents will be securely destroyed when no longer needed. Your document shredding partner will provide secure services.

Start Protecting Your Business 

To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and data security survey.