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Five tips for a safer summer online

Now that we’re into holiday season proper, your thoughts may well be turning to your well-earned rest. Whether you’re intending to work while you’re away on holiday or switch off completely, consider our tips to help you stay safe online this summer.

1. Let IT know of your plans

Whether you have an in-house IT team or an external support partner, let them know the dates of when you’re going to be away and where you will be. This is not so they can track your every move, but so they are aware of your location in case you try and access your IT systems while away. This way, they can be certain as to whether access is legitimate or not.

2. Ensure your data is backed-up

With ransomware attacks increasing the last thing you want is to experience disruption to your work plans. So, before you hit the road, ensure that proper data backups are in place. This is usually managed by your IT support team or cloud provider but will prove invaluable if you need to recover from data loss or corrupted files.

3. Use secure Wi-Fi connections

It may seem innocent enough to login to a public Wi-Fi network – they are everywhere nowadays. But these free connections can be manipulated and hacked which can compromise your login credentials, personal information and even work files. So only ever use password protected networks or a personal hotspot on your mobile device if you are able. Your IT team may even be able to set-up a virtual private network (VPN) adding an additional security layer.

4. Enable 2FA on your accounts

With the increase in cybercrime, the traditional username and password combination on their own no longer cut the mustard. But adding an additional layer of security in the form of two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts will help to protect you. You will still need to enter your username and password, but rather than gaining instant access to your account, 2FA will request an additional piece of information. Consider a password manager application, such as Bitwarden, which can generate 2FA codes automatically while also securely storing your account credentials. There’s further information about the importance of 2FA and how it works in our blog: Why you need 2FA >

5. Set-up automatic replies

There will be times when you want to switch-off totally and enjoy your time away from the office. On these occasions make sure you set-up out of office messages for your email, explaining how long you are away for, when you will respond and who to contact in your absence. But be careful not to divulge personal information, such as your email address and mobile number. You can also select ‘do not disturb’ features on your mobile device to choose which calls, texts and other notifications you still want to receive.

Tips & Tricks: Setting your out of office in Outlook for Windows

Tips & Tricks: Setting your out of office in Outlook on mobile

Also don’t forget to ensure you have all your important documents with you on your travel device or in the cloud for ease of access. And some form of portable charger is always useful for those occasions when your devices may be running low, which usually happens when you need to make that vital call or send that important email!

Taking time to ‘get away from it all’ and recharge your batteries is important, but it’s also vital that you stay safe, secure and connected. Hopefully these tips will help you to do just that and enjoy a more relaxed get-away.