In today’s global economy, growing your small business may involve travel across the country or half way around the world. Thanks to new mobile and cloud based technologies, access to your team members and company data is not an issue while you are on the go.  However, protecting your company’s digital information is because of our growing tendency to carry business as well as personal data around on our mobile devices. Increasingly hackers are targeting mobile devices as a way to access a company’s data.

While you need to be concerned about protecting your mobile device while you’re traveling, there are many simple and inexpensive ways to safeguard your business data from cyber criminals.  Here are eight things you can do to keep your data secure:

  • Don’t leave your mobile device unattended: As attached as we are to our smartphones and tablets, they can easily be left behind. Make sure you don’t leave your mobile device alone or in some place where it is visible to others – such as in your parked car or unattended in your hotel room. To protect your device should it get stolen, make sure it has remote wipe or auto-wipe feature.
  • Lock your device: Enable screen passwords. Be sure to make them strong, including some combination of letters, numbers and special characters. This makes it harder for someone trying to steal your data.
  • Update software: Be sure your software, including firmware, is up to date. New software releases patch security vulnerabilities in earlier versions.
  • Know the Wi-Fi network you connect to: Avoid unencrypted public networks. Such networks do not require authentication or a password to log in, which makes them accessible to anyone. Make sure the networks you connect to require an ID or password.  Keep in mind that even encrypted networks at a coffee shop or hotel can be vulnerable, so be careful what you do on them. Also just because you pay for access to a network doesn’t mean it’s secure.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi when you are not using it: You can automatically connect to a network without knowing you have.
  • Turn off cookies and auto fill: Turn off the feature that enables your mobile device to automatically enter passwords and login information into websites that you frequently visit.
  • Backup data: In the event your device is lost or stolen, you can quickly restore data to a new device.
  • Take care with apps: Do your homework before you download any apps. Make sure you trust the developer and read all review comments.

Make the guidelines part of your company’s travel guidelines. You also want to incorporate them into your larger Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy if your company has one.