Best Wireless Security Practices While Traveling

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Today’s modern workforce is mobile. Whether it is an out-of-town business trip or simply a quick visit across town to meet with colleagues or clients, many of us seem to be constantly on the move.

While away from the office, we still need to have access to information and systems to be of service to those that rely on us. The advent of the cloud allows for ubiquitous access to this key data.

How we connect to these cloud-based services while in public can pose a serious security threat. Some common sense guidelines can help reduce this risk.

The following are some suggested Wireless “Rules of the Road”:

  • Keep your system up-to-date. Ensure that you are regularly installing the latest security patches. These would include those for the Operating System of your laptop but also extends to the updates pushed out to your mobile devices, such as your smartphone and tablet.
  • Backup critical data. Ensure that some means of protecting your data is in place. This could be as simple as storing documents with a cloud-based service such as Microsoft Office 365 or periodically protecting your files with a Backup software product.
  • Use disk encryption on your laptop. This type of encryption protects the sensitive data stored on the device from being compromised. Some corporate policies may require the use of full disk or system encryption on mobile devices before they are allowed to access sensitive data.
  • Be wary of public Wi-Fi. Verify the exact configuration of a public Wi-Fi network, including the wireless network name (SSID), password, and expected logon process. It is not uncommon for actors with malicious intent to try and spoof public services. Be vigilant and maintain awareness of the network you are attempting to access.
  • Ensure the wireless network is using encryption. Some guest wireless networks at hotels, client offices, etc. may be configured to not require any encryption (open) in order to connect. This type of connection can be common in environments where access is granted after entering information into a webpage for authentication. An open connection not using any encryption will not ask you for a password before allowing you to access the wireless network. This may also mean that the traffic that is flowing to and from your laptop can also be seen by unauthorized eyes. The connection should provide an indication that it is secured.
  • Ensure that you have your firewall enabled. Ensure that the firewall built-in to the Operating System of your laptop or provided with your endpoint protection software is enabled.
  • Use a VPN to connect to the corporate office. The use of a VPN ensures that all traffic between your laptop and the office is encrypted. This can prevent a spoofed Wi-Fi hotspot that you believe is secure from being able to see the traffic between you and the office.

Have questions about your best wireless security practices? Do not hesitate to contact us at any time!

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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