Your boss has asked you to travel to Malaysia to discuss a potential deal with one of your company’s most important clients. You feel honoured and spend days perfecting your presentation, learning the language, ironing your suits, and making sure you have everything you need.
You arrive in Malaysia and – having freshly rehearsed your language skills – you greet the client perfectly. You click right away, and you’re instantly feeling confident that you can seal the deal during your visit. The client leads you into his office, and you begin listing all the ways your company can help his. He wants proof. “Sure thing,” you cry, reaching into your brief case.
But suddenly it dawns on you. Everything you need to show the client is sitting on your tablet … the same tablet that’s sitting in the departure lounge at Sydney airport.
This may sound like a horror situation that only happens to the extremely unfortunate, but the reality is that smartphones, tablets, laptops, and any other data storing devices can easily become lost or damaged during a business trip. If you haven’t prepared for a disaster such as the one above, it could harm your trip tremendously.
Travel is one of the leading reasons for why people contact data recovery companies. Devices can be exposed to sweltering heat, rough handling, water, theft, loss, and more. This may not be a major problem if you were at home, but when you’re travelling the chances are you haven’t backed up any recent inputs.
To minimise risks to your device you can:
Try to refrain from flaunting your technology, especially in site sensitive areas such as airports, train stations, restaurants, and tourist hotspots. If you must use a laptop, be sure that no one can see over your shoulder and be careful when talking business over the phone. If a thief suspects you could be storing sensitive information, you device suddenly becomes a lot more valuable to them.
Don’t leave devices unattended
You may be popping to the toilet just quickly or going to refill your coffee cup, but it only takes a second for a corporate intelligence scammer to eye your smartphone and swipe it. Make sure you keep your belongings with you at all times.
Travel with only what you need
While it may be handy to have your company information at your fingertips, is it really necessary when travelling? Most people tend to travel with far too much data, so minimise it and take only what you need.
Don’t check your baggage
Every year, millions of bags are misdirected by airlines. In 2013, CNN reported that 3.22 bags in every 1,000 get lost. When travelling on business, always try to stick to carry-on.
Use the safe
If you’re taking a day off from work to take in some local sights, lock your devices away. Most reputable hotels have vaults or secure storage areas for valuable items, so utilise it. Pickpockets are drawn to tourist groups, and thieves love hotel rooms and pool areas.
If your laptop is too valuable to lose, don’t hide it away in a Gucci leather briefcase or fancy luggage. Thieves target the best bags, as they often contain the most valuable IT.
Don’t leave devices in the car
Cars can quickly heat up, and despite many devices having temperature sensors to shut them down you can still damage the internal components if they get too hot.
Invest in a protective case
Protective cases can prevent devices from becoming scratched, broken or water logged, and while some may seem expensive they are most certainly worth the investment. Without one you risk losing important information, and a smashed screen doesn’t really scream professionalism.
Back up before you leave
If you are planning on presenting a speech during your trip, back it up before you leave and email a copy of it to yourself and a colleague. This way you can easily retrieve it should something go wrong.
Cloud storage is something you should definitely be using, as if something goes wrong back at the office or with your device you can then still access the files you need from your provider’s offsite storage.
If you don’t trust technology, you can at least rely on print outs detailing your flight information, name of hotel, business appointment times and other essential details.
Pack some gadgets
Voltage rates vary from country to country and having a voltage converter will allow you to safely use your devices wherever you are. A surge protector can help protect you from dodgy wiring or against power surges.
Pay attention to battery life
If you’re in the middle of inputting important information and you realise you are running low on battery, conserve it by turning down the screen brightness and closing open files.
Email yourself notes
If you make notes about your meeting, send them in email format so you have an instant backup copy.
Make note of serial numbers or use identifying marks
If someone is kind enough to hand your missing mobile into the airport Lost and Found, there’s still no guarantee you will get it back straight away. If you have a note with your serial number or your initials are labelled on the back, it will be much easier to see your phone returned. The last thing you want is to miss a connecting flight because you’re having to fill out a lost form.
Inform your company
You may feel embarrassed that you’ve misplaced something of such importance, but when carrying sensitive data it’s essential you swallow your pride and report a device as lost/stolen as soon as possible. Informing your corporate security unit and IT department will mean they can change codes and protect in-house data.
By following these tips, you can rest assured while travelling by knowing that you are prepared should you lose your data on a business trip.