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Data Security when you stop for a coffee [other drinks included!!] or travelling


It's tempting to keep working as you travel on public transport, but what are the implications? Do you consider who may be eavesdropping as you queue in Starbucks or looking at your emails when you're on the Tube?

No? You should.

To understand how to balance the competing demands for productivity with confidentiality and security, read the following x6 tips

X6 tips for Data protection tips for outside of the office
  1. Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots

If you are accessing company networks or sensitive corporate data, avoid Wi-Fi in cafés, trains, hotel foyers or other public places, even if it asks you to sign up and log in. If it says it's not a secure network, it isn't one...

  1. Look over both shoulders first

Before you take a work-related call on your mobile, make sure you check over both shoulders before discussing anything confidential. And if you need to, explain to callers that you're in a public place and arrange to call them back later.

  1. Limit the amount of data you take offsite

Only take necessary files and data with you when you travel;

Encrypt and password-protect all data first, and ensure that it's returned or deleted after use. Don't carry it around on flash or portable drives!

  1. Shield your screen

Working on a laptop when you're on the move can certainly make you more productive, but make sure that you're not sharing corporate information with everyone else in the carriage or café too. Where possible, position yourself with a wall behind you. Never sit with your back to a window!

  1. Take precautions with physical documents

As every visitor to Downing Street can testify, avoid carrying loose documents;

  • When the hand-written notes of an aide in respect of Brexit were photographed in Downing Street in 2016, saying "have cake and eat it".
  • You'd think this would be a salutary lesson for government officials.
  • However, in 2020 another confidential document, this time for "permanent equivalence" was picked up by the long lenses of journalists.

Always transport paperwork and corporate information in an opaque envelope or folder to protect it from inquisitive passers-by. And if you use a printer or photocopier, make sure you collect your documents promptly.

  1. Don't cover up data losses or breaches

If you make a mistake, tell your manager or IT immediately so that they can act quickly to limit company losses and inform all those affected. Remember that there may be legal repercussions (e.g. data protection and market abuse).