With remote working becoming more and more popular in numerous industries, it’s easier than ever to pick up and go wherever you please. As long as you’ve got a laptop and an internet connection, you can work from anywhere in the world.
However, when you’re traveling so much, does it become difficult to make sure that your computer and data remain secure? Here is how you can keep your laptop secure on the go, no matter where you are.
Set advanced sign-in security measures
Most people don’t secure their laptops at all, because they never needed to. But when you’re traveling, you’re at increased risk, so this is a requirement, just to be safe. But a simple password will not do. It’s best to resort to stronger forms of security in order to make sure your machine is entirely secure, should it fall in the wrong hands, or just become vulnerable at one point or another in your journeys.
Fingerprint sign-in, PIN sign-in, and even face recognition and iris scan sign-in are all possible options on Windows 10 right now via Windows Hello, as long as your laptop supports them. All you need for face recognition and iris scan is a webcam that will scan your features. If your laptop does not support fingerprint scanning, there are fingerprint scanners that you can plug in separately in order to benefit from that feature. Either way, any of these options are better, more personalized, and more secure than a regular password.
Use special lock software
But perhaps that’s not secure enough for you; after all, there are ways around these, if you’re savvy enough. Or maybe you don’t want your potential thief or busybody catching even a glimpse at your laptop while you’re in the bathroom or stepping out to make a call. Luckily, there’s special software that offers you a solution – Predator can lock down your computer – including trackpad and keyboard – so that no one can even try to guess your password or boot your computer.
You just put it on a USB drive. When it’s in, the laptop is unlocked. When you pull it out, the laptop locks down automatically, so all you need to take to the bathroom is your USB drive, and not your entire machine.
Use cloud storage for important info
This is hopefully old news for you, but if you’ve got any sensitive information lying around, you should really start uploading it to cloud storage. Even if you’re not running some super hot company (yet!), cloud storage really is the most secure way to store both personal and business information, particularly when you’re traveling. That way, even in a case where your computer gets stolen or your passwords and other security measures are bypassed, your most critical information still can’t be accessed.
Nowadays, it’s super easy to get it and it’s possible you won’t even have to pay for it. Any Google account comes with 15GB of free Drive space that you can utilize. And if you need more and are willing to pay for it, you can get a OneDrive subscription from Microsoft, which comes with 1TB in cloud space and a subscription to Office 365 included in the price – all for $6.99 a month.
Encrypt your hard drive
In a situation where your computer is taken, it’s quite easy to pop your hard drive out and simply put it in a different laptop in order to access your information just like that, your passwords and security measures be damned. That’s why it’s a super smart idea to essentially lock the hard drive itself, by encrypting it. You can only access an encrypted drive via the encryption key, so in absence of that, they won’t be able to hack into it, or they’ll at least have a more difficult time doing it.
Products like BitLocker are available with the purchase of selected versions of Windows, but there are also other avenues you can pursue, including ones that are free of charge, such as TrueCrypt.
Never connect to unknown, public, or unsecured Wi-Fi networks
You probably already know this one, but it never hurts to repeat valuable information: public, unsecured, or otherwise unknown Wi-Fi networks can be very dangerous. No matter how appealing the possibility of free Wi-Fi is, you’re always better off paying for data, setting up a hotspot with your phone, or just going up to the waitress to ask her for the Wi-Fi password to the coffee shop’s secured network.
Otherwise, all the information you trade online via these networks may be – and will be – intercepted and that is a massive security risk, particularly for sensitive activity, like bank transactions and password input.
Use a VPN
And if you don’t have a choice but to use unsecured public networks, when you’re in hotel rooms, airports, etc., you might get in trouble with other people connecting and gaining access to your information. But there’s something you can do: use a VPN.
This can be procured from the company you work for, but if you’re freelancing or just aren’t able to get a company VPN, there are others you can use from a service provider. What this does is encrypt your data, so that it’s not accessible to other users logged onto the same networks and looking to spy on your activity or steal your data.
Disable the option to boot from CD or USB
The more you read about security, the more you find out about scary hacking methods – did you know that one can completely bypass your password just by using a readily available program like Ophcrack or pogostick? But don’t worry, there’s a caveat you can use: they need to boot this one from a USB stick or a CD, and that’s actually something you can disable completely.
It’s pretty easy, by just accessing the BIOS and changing the settings. You can enter the BIOS by switching the laptop on and then immediately pressing one of the following keys: Del, F1, F2, F4, F10. Press it multiple times to be sure, but it should take you there immediately. Now, all you have to do is disable these booting options, and then preferably set a password for your BIOS, so that you’re the only one who can access it.
Working on the go means you’re exposed to more security risks, but that doesn’t mean you should remain vulnerable to possible breaches. There are numerous ways you can protect your business and personal data from prying eyes or sticky fingers and make sure that you are working safely, no matter where you are in the world. Even if it may seem overkill at times, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.