In a connected, digital and wireless world, your personal, financial, business and private information is at risk from hackers and other thieves.
The threat magnifies when you’re on vacation. With the great memories and rejuvenation of time away with family, friends or self comes vulnerability to less than secure technology. Below are some tips to protect your information and to make sure your business runs smoothly so you can enjoy vacation.
Back Up and Secure Before Departure
Your computer could be stolen, destroyed, crash, become infected with a virus or malfunction while you’re on vacation. Before you leave, back up the data, including emails you need or want to keep, using a hard drive, the cloud or a portable storage device.
Along with backup comes making sure would-be hacks or thieves can’t steal passwords or other sensitive information. Go into your browser’s settings options and follow the steps to remove saved passwords. You might also delete the browsing history and your emails. Don’t keep any list of passwords, or credit card or other financial information on the computer. For your work computer, especially if you have administrator privileges or other permission, change the password and access codes and turn off the computer so others cannot intrude into it.
The Secure Way to the Internet
Avoid personal or financial online transactions through a public or open network, such as at a restaurant. If you have to enter a password or a code given by your hotel to connect, you have some measure of security. Ideally, you want to use a WP2-encrypted network and you can ask the hotel about its network security.
Involving Information Technology
Your Ottawa IT support or IT staff can help you or your business keep running while you’re away. IT can establish for you a virtual private network (VPN). This creates a secure connection and a camouflage of your location so that you can work without prying eyes. IT people can also set up remote monitoring of store or office activity or even remotely make sure that the office has been closed and security systems have been activity.
Consult with your IT department on creating “out-of-office” or vacation automatic replies on the emails. This assures clients that their messages are important and won’t be ignored and, if there is an urgent need, someone in the office can respond.
Your Transactions and Passwords
While you’re on vacation, avoid making payments with your computer, tablet or smartphone. Rely on cash, debit cards or credit cards. If you haven’t already, write words such as “Ask for ID” on the area where you sign the card so that the cashier may be alerted to check for an ID in case your card is stolen or lost. If you’re attending a show, theme park, attraction or sporting event, buy the tickets from home where you can order by phone or online from your secure home wireless system.
Change your account passwords, including your bank account and credit card accounts, before you leave and when you return.
Avoid Charging Stations
The allure of a charging station is a convenient and ready way to keep your phone or other devices from losing power. It can preserve your ability to capture memories of your tour or time at a park. However, data thieves use these kiosks to capture your data. What appear to be charging stations are actually masked computers that use a USB or other charging connection to soak data from your smart phone or tablet.
Rather than use these stations, charge your phone in the hotel room each night or use a wall plug outlet. Consider having multiple batteries or using an external battery pack. If you have down time on your itinerary, turn off the device.
Your information is as appealing as your physical valuables to thieves. Technology has made sure that you’re not beyond your business or office responsibilities. With these tips and the help of information technology people, your vacation be a time of relaxation rather than worry.