How to Protect Your Business While on Vacation

Post by
Net Friends

You work hard to grow your business, and you deserve every bit of your vacation time. However, cyber attacks continue to rise, because cybercriminals are always at work, even while you’re off the clock.  According to Gartner, spending on information security and risk management technology and services is expected to reach $233 billion by 2025. In order to sustain a strong cybersecurity posture at all times, you need to be engaged in the best data protection practices, even when you’re out of the office. Explore how you can protect your business and boost your security while on vacation:

Securing Your Business While OOO

A few of the best ways to ensure your company is secure while on vacation include:

Pro-Tip #1: Inform Your IT Department

While the team you manage will know that you are going on vacation, you should also inform your IT department. They will help you secure your data and workstation before you leave and be watchful for unusual activity within your accounts while you're OOO.

Also, if a team member needs to access any data in your care while you’re on vacation, your IT department can set up temporary login credentials for them.

Pro-Tip #2: Secure Your Workstation

Always secure your workstation before leaving the office. Never write usernames and passwords on sticky notes or in notebooks that can be left unattended at your desk.

Log out of all devices, websites, and apps, and unplug any devices at your workstation. Even if someone gains unauthorized access to your devices while you’re away, all company data will be harder to access if you're already logged out of everything.

If you work remotely in any capacity, follow the same steps to secure all of your devices and work environment at home. Let a trusted friend or family member know to keep an eye on your property while you are away.

Pro-Tip #3: Create a Safer Out-of-Office Email

You never want to leave anyone hanging if they send you an email while you’re on vacation. You may already be in the habit of setting up an out-of-office email. However, your OOO email should be brief and avoid volunteering personal info, such as where you are vacationing, what you’ll be doing while on vacation, how long you will be away, or any other personal details.

Cybercriminals may take advantage of information related to your absence by impersonating you and requesting confidential or proprietary data from unwitting team members. Your OOO email should only indicate that you are out of the office and will respond as soon as you return.

Finally, avoid sending automated responses to unknown email senders and lists. If you must set an auto-response to everyone who emails you, we recommend removing your signature block, especially if you typically do not send it to unknown solicitors.

Pro-Tip #4: Download Media in Advance

If there are books, music, or movies that you would like to enjoy on your vacation, download them on your home’s secure WiFi network before you leave. Complete any essential online tasks before your vacation, so you can reduce the temptation to send documents or log onto your accounts while traveling.

Pro-Tip #5: Avoid Unsecured Public Wi-Fi

Although you are on vacation, you should still prioritize risk awareness and remain alert. Only use secure WiFi networks that require a passcode. Yes, even if you’re not accessing business assets, networks, and resources, always use a secure Wi-Fi connection to avoid viruses and other malware vulnerabilities.

Pro-Tip #6: Securely Browse with VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection is handy for safely accessing your favorite sites and programs whenever traveling limits your control over online privacy as you use public internet connections.

More importantly, a VPN is a secure way to log in and navigate your sensitive personal and business accounts while vacationing. Not only does a VPN help you mask your internet protocol (IP) address, but it also establishes secure and encrypted connections to ensure your device and privacy are protected while using Wi-Fi.

Pro-Tip #7: Adopt Multi-Factor Authentication

Data protection should be one of your top priorities whether you’re on vacation or not. We also recommend that you set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all your accounts.

Passwords and passcodes are easy to hack or can be exposed in major data breaches that are occurring every day. However, MFA requires that you provide two or more verification factors to log into your network and accounts. MFA will boost your company’s security and protect your data and credentials.

With MFA configured on an account, you may offer your usual username and password at log-in, but you will also have to provide a verification PIN sent to an app on your mobile phone, your email account, or via text, or you may need to offer a fingerprint or facial scan.

Pro-Tip #8: Physically Secure Your Devices 

While you will let down your hair on vacation, don’t let down your guard. Never leave your devices lying around unattended, even in your hotel room. Always secure your devices in the safe of your hotel room, even if you are only stepping out for a brief moment or for dinner. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Pun intended.

Pro-Tip #9: Limit Your Social Media Posts

Social media encourages us to post about anything and everything right away. However, resist the urge to share real-time updates as cybercriminals also watch social media platforms, especially those of business leaders. It’s better to share all your posts after you return from your vacation. You can keep your loved ones updated on your whereabouts via direct text messaging, voice notes, and FaceTime.

Enjoy Peace of Mind for Your R&R

These are our top tips to help you maintain a robust cybersecurity posture at all times and protect your data and credentials while on vacation. Enjoy your time away from the office and make lots of great memories. Collect interesting souvenirs, immerse yourself in new adventures, and record some of the action as a keepsake!

Contact Net Friends if you're interested in adopting any of these security practices, such as implementing MFA or provisioning a VPN for everyone in your company. We're wishing you a relaxing, well-deserved vacation!

Originally Published: December 2021
Revised: December 18, 2023

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