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
- 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...
- 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.
- Limit the amount of data you take offsite
Only take necessary files and data with you when you travel;
- In June 2021, classified UK defence documents were found by a member of the public at a bus stop in Kent. They related to military strategy and the movement of warships. Yet again, it highlighted the importance of information security on the move and in public places. But it is from an isolated incident, showing that lessons have not been learned. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/classified-documents-bus-stop-kent-b1873492.html
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!
- 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!
- 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". https://news.sky.com/story/tory-brexit-plan-photographed-in-downing-street-10676337
- 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.
- 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).