Mid-Market Tech: Traveling

October 17, 2022

By Rahul Mahna

Cybersecurity Corner: Tips for everyday concerns

Slowly and surely, the business community is getting back on the road. I recently attended a technology conference; and it was exciting to feel ‘back in the saddle.’  One thing I had stopped thinking much about was the need for internet access and trying to work while being on the road.

Often I am asked questions about cybersecurity and what are the best ideas and strategies around keeping a person - and their data -secure while doing work and being out of the office.

With trying to be connected and yet out of the office during my recent conference, I immediately saw connectivity challenges. We all see wifi available in multiple places: coffee shops, trains, airplanes, to name just a few locations. The question is: Should you use these and are they safe?  

There are a few things to consider regarding in ‘free wifi’ spots:

  1. Do you know the others accessing the same wifi, what devices they are using and what they might be doing?
  2. Do you have any insight into the setup of the wifi provider and if there is any cybersecurity setup?
  3. Are you transmitting anything with passwords, usernames, login credentials, or personal information that you want protected?

    In general as a cybersecurity professional, I am not fond of free wifi. There are exceptions, of course, but the above questions make me hesitant for many situations. I do have some ideas to think about. Here are just a few suggestions to help you out:

    1. You are traveling. Your colleagues expect a delayed response. It’s ok to wait till you have proper secure access.
    2. The cellular carrier internet is the most secure. If you can use that instead of the free wifi, you’re often better off.
    3. Download what you need (music, movies, documents) before leaving home. Most applications have an “offline mode” where they allow usage while not on wifi.

      Traveling is hard. Many of us feel compelled to respond to any message as quickly as possible, often jumping on any free wifi. Remember: There are a lot of unknown risks and maintaining good cyber hygiene is important. When in doubt, try to use your cellular provider. And when you do connect to a vetted provider, use a VPN to enhance your layers of cyber defense.

      About Rahul Mahna

      Rahul Mahna is a Managing Director and leads the Outsourced IT Services team. He has extensive experience in IT software development and provides cybersecurity solutions to our clients.