10 ways to be more secure when traveling

Business traveling is a mixed bag. While it can certainly be productive, more often than not it’s also a pain. And when you add cybersecurity considerations into the mix, it can get downright stressful.

We work with quite a few companies with remote workforces. Additionally, as IT business consultants, we have regular contact with frequent business travelers on a daily basis. As a result, we’re well-versed in some of the dos and don’ts of secure business travel.

What follows are our top 10 tips for keeping your data safe while you’re out of town.

Traveling tips for data security

Before we get to the tips, a word of warning. Some of these are going to seem extreme. If you’ve never given much thought to cybersecurity when you’re not connected to a known network, our tips might even seem paranoid.

That’s because we only care about one thing—keeping your data safe. If you’re serious about guarding your data on the road, this is how you do it.

1. Stay away from mobile hotspots

Public Wi-Fi is dangerous, pure and simple. In fact, a recent article in CSO stated, “Today’s Wi-Fi standards are flawed and should not be trusted.”

The article went on to explain exactly why public Wi-Fi should be avoided at all costs. “One of the biggest threats with free Wi-Fi is the ability for hackers to position themselves between you and the connection point.” That includes data you might think is encrypted.

2. Use a VPN to encrypt data traffic

A VPN is like your own personal secure connection. With one, your mobile devices are linked directly to a private server and all the data exchanged between the two is encrypted. That, of course, adds a significant layer of security.

However, be sure you pick a VPN service you trust. The VPN service provider can see your traffic, so steer clear of questionable free providers.

Read more: How to set up a VPN[

3. Encrypt your mobile devices in case they’re lost or stolen

If your phone or laptop provides you with the option to encrypt all local data, do it. That way, even if you lose your phone or your laptop is stolen, all your information is safe and sound.

And if you’re wondering just how strong consumer encryption options are, even the FBI has a very hard time bypassing this form of protection.

4. Use privacy screens to avoid shoulder surfing in public spaces

Privacy screen protectors (like this one) make it difficult for anyone but the person holding a smartphone or sitting directly in front of a laptop to read what’s on the screen. This added layer of security means you don’t have to worry about anyone else seeing your private information, even accidentally.

If your work includes particularly sensitive information, like medical records or other data protected by strict regulatory laws, this is a must-have precaution.

5. Use a wall plug charger instead of public USB ports

Public USB ports are just as dangerous as public Wi-Fi networks—which, when you think about it, makes sense. After all, you’re connecting your device to a public network, even if your only goal is to charge your phone.

Instead of using a public USB port, opt for a standard wall outlet for charging.

6. Don’t share that you’re traveling on social media

It’s perfectly fine to share that you were on a trip once you’re back in town. But it’s ill-advised to post that you’re out of town while still traveling. (That’s true for business trips and vacations alike.)

Why? Because you’re advertising that your home, office, car, and local business network are all unwatched for a while. That’s like an invitation for thieves.

7. Disable Bluetooth connectivity

The great thing about Bluetooth is how quickly and easily it connects our devices. Unfortunately, that’s what makes it unsafe, too.

Cybercriminals can use an open Bluetooth connection to gain access to your device, especially in crowded areas like airports. Turn it off while you’re on the road.

Related: Shadow IT and the impact it can have on your business[

8. Setup multi-factor authentication for your online accounts

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a simple, secure way to ensure a user is actually authorized to access an account when a new login is attempted. Even if you have the password, you typically have to enter an additional code delivered via text message or email.

While a lot of services offer multi-factor authentication, the trick is that you have to set it up. It’s absolutely worth the minor hassle.

9. Consider using encrypted text messaging

Encrypted chat apps like Signal and WhatsApp give you the ability to send and receive text messages as effortlessly as the default app on your phone with one added benefit—the data is entirely encrypted.

However, while WhatsApp is the best known encrypted chatting app, it’s also owned by Facebook, and that brings with it a whole new set of privacy and security concerns. That’s why we recommend Signal.

10. Update the software on your laptop and phone

Time and again, headline-making data breaches uncover the same annoying truth. Updating your software really does keep you safe.

Update your apps. Apply software patches. Don’t fall victim to a security breach simply because you weren’t up-to-date.

Keep reading: 5 steps to make working remotely effective for your company

10 Business Intelligence Trends to Follow in 2018

Getting more out of your business data is quickly becoming an industry all its own, and there are some exciting things on the horizon to help you do more, learn more, and grow more.

Data has long been your business’ most valuable and essential asset, and Business Intelligence (BI) solutions are changing the way you use that data. A modern BI approach is a sure-fire way to lift your business above your competitors, using savvy analytics to make better data-driven decisions. There are a ton of fantastic and innovative BI technologies and strategies available to today’s businesses, and these 10 trends are projected to lead the pack heading into 2018.

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Science Fiction paints a pretty terrifying picture of what advancements in AI will mean for humankind, but in reality, this technology is already proving to be a huge asset to analysts. As machine learning technology continues to improve, it’s becoming easier to automate tasks that would otherwise be labor-intensive time suckers for your staff. With the tedious work done for them, analysts can instead focus on thinking strategically about the implications of their results, and start planning next steps for your business. Unlike some other technological advancements, machine learning isn’t meant to replace human employees. Rather, its goal is to enhance the work your staff is already doing.

2. Natural Language Processing (NLP)

It’s estimated that half of all analytical queries will be generated using voice, search, or NLP by 2020. The power of NLP will allow staff to pose more nuanced questions of your data, and get more accurate and helpful responses as a result. While this is exciting enough on its own, the real gains where analytics are concerned will come from what developers and engineers alike are able to learn from looking closer at how people are using NLP. That way, we can make sure NLP is being applied to the types of workflows where it can have maximum impact and value.

3. Crowdsourced Data Governance

Self-service analytics are gaining popularity, granting users access to new perspectives and new information that is inspiring more innovative ways to implement governance. More than just using the wisdom of the crowd to get your hand on the right data, governance is about making sure the wrong data stays out of your system. BI solutions and analytics will be making use of this modern governance model in 2018, giving IT departments and data engineers the ability to cultivate trusted data sources.

4. Multi-Cloud Strategies

There has been an ongoing debate about multi-cloud solutions as more and more businesses sour on the idea of being tied to a single cloud solution. Multi-cloud strategies allow for business to work with multiple providers, finding the right vendor for a specific project or need. This increased flexibility comes with a higher overhead cost and requires your IT personnel to become familiar with multiple platforms. However, with 70 % of businesses expected to have a multi-cloud strategy in place by 2019, it’s a good idea to start looking seriously at how best to make this strategy work for your business.

5. The Chief Data Officer

Chief Information Officers (CIO) are nothing new, but as data and analytics become more critical to your operations, the need to strike a better balance between security and innovation has lead to a new C-level position – the Chief Data Officer (CDO). Adding a CDO or even a CAO (Chief Analytics Officer) to spearhead business process changes allows your business have a firm grasp on analytic strategy, making sure it’s part of the conversation from the get-go.

6. Rise In Data Insurance

Several recent high-profile data breaches serve as a reminder of the risks and costs associated with these types of security incidents. Data is now a commodity, which means it’s only going to continue to become a bigger target for theft in the future. Quite often, there is no real consequence to the perpetrator when data theft happens, so there’s not much to deter a cybercriminal from setting their sights on your data. For that reason, more companies are expected to invest in cybersecurity insurance to protect their valuable data assets in the coming year.

7. The Location of Things

A subcategory of the increasingly popular Internet of Things (IoT), the “location of things” refers to devices that are able to sense and share their geographic location. The ability to capture this data can help users to add the context of location to data when assessing usage patterns. This technology can be used to track both assets and people, and can even interact with devices like smartwatches for a more personalized experience. This extra layer to typical usage data can help better inform your business strategies moving forward.

8. Increased Role For Data Engineers

The movement to use data to make better business decisions necessitates a larger role for data engineers in today’s businesses. With over 3500 open positions currently listed on LinkedIn, the demand for this specialty is obvious. As the need to leverage data in new and innovative ways becomes more essential, having someone on staff with a deep technical knowledge of your systems and architecture, and the ability to understand your business’ wants and needs becomes crucial.

9. Universities Offering More Data Science and Analytics Programs

By 2021, its estimated that 69 % of businesses will prefer job candidates with data science and analytics skills, with jobs like Data Insights Miners and Bionic Interface Designers emerging by 2030 thanks to advancements in AI and analytics. A number of universities, including the University of Sydney and Victoria University, began adding data science courses to their offerings back in 2015, with more and more institutions adding these types of courses now and in the near future.

10. Liberal Arts in the Analytics Industry

The need for technology specialties is decreasing as technology platforms become easier to use. As a result, businesses are looking to other specialties such as the liberal arts to bring new perspectives into the mix. Not only can these individuals fill vacant positions within your data analytics team, but they can help you better use your data to create a vision for the future of your business that goes beyond just technical or scientific insights.

Want to learn more about the value Business Intelligence solutions can offer your business? Contact our team at Imagis via or 866.462.4474. We are the Cloud Centric IT Solutions Providers businesses trust.