Professionals from all sectors who have access to the personal data of their clients need to protect that sensitive data at all times, and these are particularly vulnerable when a professional is traveling and using laptops or telephones via public WiFi in hotels, airports, or coffee shops. Criminals or even amateur hackers have many sophisticated methods of installing malware on computers or compromising accounts, and there have been numerous scandals around the world where highly sensitive data, including governmental and medical records, were stolen.
Data protection is very serious, as not only is the victim’s privacy compromised, but his or her details can be used for criminal purposes such as credit card fraud, identity theft, and other scams and schemes. Those organizations who fail to safeguard the sensitive details of their clients, whether by negligence or by employees divulging this information, are subject to significant fines and penalties, and they may well be sued by one or more of the clients whose data were compromised.
There are numerous protective measures that can be put in place while professionals are traveling in order to protect their clients’ information. These include:
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- Having mobile hotspots enabled on cell phones, as these networks are significantly more secure than public WiFi.
- Ensuring that laptops, cell phones, e-mail and file-sharing systems are secure and encrypted.
- Never leaving laptops in a car unless locked in a trunk.
- Having ‘remote wiping’ capability in case a phone or laptop is lost or stolen.
- Monitoring company data through the use of data-leakage prevention software.
- Educating all employees on methods of safeguarding data and the serious consequences of failing to utilize them.
- Instituting a response strategy in case a breach of data occurs.
- Having an adequate cyber liability insurance policy which covers the compromise of clients’ data.