Technology readiness for traveling with mobile devices

Technology disasters will happen and you do not want to be ‘that employee’ when that crisis occurs. Mobile devices will be the victims of malice and accidents without warning when traveling, and being prepared before departure is the best time to have an epiphany regarding could have, should have, and would have done with your technology tools to minimize the impact.

Before that trip (domestic and expressly when traveling internationally), there are a handful of healthy tasks to perform to improve your technology preparedness posture. Also, working through the items below should help your IT team empathize when disaster strikes, and their assistance should be beneficial.

Know your device, what is on it, and then back it up. Make, model, and serial number might be enough to file a police report for a lost or stolen device, but the contents can be much harder to recall. Some items on your devices are easy to inventory like photos, files, music, and videos. Corporate owned devices might be easier to inventory, but detail fades as content grows.

Account and system information and application data can be tricky. How many apps do you have installed? How many mail accounts are you checking and what is the server information for those accounts? Is crucial data on the device or synchronized to the cloud? These questions are very frustrating, when drying off your dead device after a swim. Inventory your devices and their contents before departing because knowing the answer is important for a total recovery.

The following other tasks should be performed as part of travel preparation:

  1. Lock your devices. Protect with a PIN or fingerprint so that if someone gets ahold of your device, the only thing they can do is reset it.
  2. Update your devices. Many security threats are designed to steal data. The technology that keeps your data changes frequently and to take advantage of updates, you should check for patches to apps and system software before traveling. Patch devices before you depart.
  3. Clean off non-necessary data from your devices. If you do not need it, do not take it with you. Do you remember downloading a worksheet of client phone numbers from your email earlier this year? Is that file still in your download folder? If your device is lost or stolen, your client could hold you responsible for allowing personal information into the public domain. Also, understanding the policies and procedures for lost and stolen devices at your workplace is best internalized while in possession of your devices.
  4. Scrutinize wireless networks for your devices, even if your job depends on the internet. Is exceeding your data limit worse than connecting to the pubic Wi-Fi at a coffee shop? How much cyber-liability coverage does your employer carry? Only connect to networks you trust.
  5. Consider remote wiping your devices. Most IT departments can wipe corporate laptops and mail off phones and tablets, when devices are lost or stolen. Knowing if wiping can be performed so that your family does not get the hoax call asking to wire bail money.
  6. Never have a dead battery on your devices. Yes, you will top off your battery before you leave and you should have the tools to charge whenever you get the chance. Be aware the FAA has new rules for flying with batteries:
Spare (uninstalled) lithium ion and lithium metal batteries must be carried in carry-on baggage only. When a carry-on bag is checked at the gate or at planeside, all spare lithium batteries must be removed from the bag and kept with the passenger in the aircraft cabin. The battery terminals must be protected from short circuit.Unfortunately, preparation is not prevention and mobile device losses will never be eliminated. Perhaps the worst part of a lost or stolen device is lingering wonder of where it went. If there is a bright spot in a lost or stolen device, it is recovery can happen and some people will pay it forward by returning it. Preparedness is a worthwhile investment.Travel safe. Travel happy. Travel prepared.

Next Steps

Are you ready to create a corporate mobile travel program? Our white paper details the motivations and steps to establishing a mobile travel program strategy. Click the link below for 10 Guidelines to a Successful Mobile Travel Program.

10 Guidelines to a Successful Mobile Travel Program