Amgad Gamal, CISA, COBIT Foundation CEH, CHFI, CISSP, ECSA, ISO 27000 LA, ISO 20000 Lead Practitioner, MCDBA, MCITP, MCP, MCSE, MCT, PRINCE2 Foundation/Practitioner, has more than 18 years of experience in service management and information security in more than 8 international companies and organizations. Gamal is currently the regional IT manager for Middle East and Eurasia region in one of the biggest international non-profit non-governmental organizations worldwide.
You may require Internet access while traveling, commuting, attending an external meeting or while on vacation. However, this type of connection can pose a security risk.
There are two main areas where you store your most valuable asset—data. One area is the Internet connection you use and the other area is the data stored on mobile devices, e.g., mobile phones, laptops, flash drives, and hard drives. These devices could become unavailable, stolen, broken or corrupted.
Who, in modern times, can live without an Internet connection? For how long could they live this way? When faced with the prospect of not having Internet access, will you connect to the Internet from any available Internet connection, even a public and insecure one?
Using mobile data is the most secure Internet access for use while away from home, but in many cases, especially while roaming, it is an extremely expensive solution, hence not the most practical solution to use.
The next best access is through a secure connection to your office’s virtual private network (VPN) over a public Internet connection. The secure office (work) access is the next best solution (after mobile data use), followed by a home connection and, finally, public connection (including friends’ home connections) is the least secure access method.
Storage devices can also pose threats to information security. Even if you do not go outside with a laptop, you still have storage media on your mobile phone, tablet or phablet. It is possible to lose all of it along with all of your photos, documents, saved passwords, financial information, corporate and personal emails and information. If you do travel with a laptop, there are priceless assets stored in it (information).
You must have heard it millions of times to back up your devices. Although it may be an unpleasant thing to do, there is no other way to save your data. Cloud solutions can be useful if you are always online and have good Internet speed, but in places where the Internet connection is weak or expensive, consider backing up on some other storage medium.
Backing up information onto another device is good, but if it you have sensitive data, the device should be encrypted. The benefit of encryption is that even if the device is in the hands of an unauthorized person, it is the value of the device—not the information—that is lost. Do not forget to keep the recovery password in a safe place in case you forget the encryption password.