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Business privacy and counter-intelligence tips

Money don’t sleep, so why should your competitors and other detractors? Information was always one of the most valuable things to get, trade and use. No matter who you are, no matter how big your business is, information can be harmful if basic privacy and security measures are not taken. In the era of information and information technologies, here are some steps that you can take to be more confident in your privacy and to further protect yourself:

Travel with only as much data as you need for the trip.

You’re heading to another country for an exhibition, meeting with your overseas partners or for a strategy planning session with your customer. All the necessary information can be taken on a secure and reliable flash drive. Here’s a good article on USB drive encryption. You can go for a cheap biometric USB from AliExpress but if you want the benefits of real hardware encryption then we suggest considering something like:


Consider having a laptop computer dedicated to travel

In order to maintain business privacy, this laptop should be kept free of personal data, saved passwords, or any other sensitive in-formation. Take advantage of readily available technology to help protect your data, including biometric access devices (like USB drives listed above), removable hard drives, encryption software, and data-wiping programs. You are far more likely to fall victim to theft while traveling, so plan ahead.

Be wary of public electronic venues

If possible, avoid Internet cafes, hotel business center computers, and public Wi-Fi access points. If you don’t control the security of the network that you are using, assume that it is compromised, and use it accordingly. And make sure you ALWAYS USE VPN on any public network. Most of public Wi-Fi spots don’t have any encryption for the traffic and all your data may be sent as plain-text, including your passwords and other sensitive information. Today it’s quite easy to use VPN and you don’t have to be a geek to set the things up. We personally love Private Internet Security (PIA) VPN. All you have to do, is download an app for your iOS, Android, MacOS or Windows device and you’re ready to go. All traffic is encrypted and safe and you can choose “IP locations” to simulate browsing from other country.

Shred!

This is basic, but important. Dumpster divers can’t do anything with shredded documents.

Be aware of your public footprint

Conduct due diligence on your own identity by searching the Internet and knowing what is available through public records. Within just a few hours of searching, it is possible to discover where person worked, his or her photo, interests, home address and even frequently visited location in some cases. Googling your name is the good thing to start with. Get in touch with us if you want us to help “removing” you from some websites. We can help in most cases.

Be careful with smart devices

Minimize the use of smart home devices, baby monitors and CCTV in your home. That can also be exploited. Visit Shodan IO and you’ll surprise how much sensitive data can be available for the world. In some extreme cases you can even control the camera in someone’s flat 🙂 This point is more related to your personal, not exactly business privacy.

Be wary of social networking sites, blogs, and Twitter.

They may be wonderful for keeping in touch with friends and family, but they should be used with the assumption that someone, somewhere is watching what you post with less than noble motives. No matter how much attention you pay to security settings when you set up your account profiles, understand that social networking tools were created to share data, not protect it.

Maintain firm boundaries

It may seem tempting to share information in order to prove your knowledge during a job interview with a competing company, but a reputable interviewer should be more interested in learning about you than about your previous employer.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by familiarity or professional qualifications. Your cubicle neighbor may suddenly be much chattier than usual because he is competing with you for a promotion, just as the friendly person on the barstool next to yours at the convention may have an ulterior motive for asking so many questions.

Trust your instincts. If your “spidey sense” tells you that something is awry, take action. Change the subject, divert and distract, or leave the room, as necessary. If your conversation partner doggedly pursues an uncomfortable line of questioning, he or she is either rude, oblivious, or eliciting. In each of those cases, you’re well justified in ending the conversation.

This post will soon be updated with additional best privacy practice information. Stay tuned.
This post is based on J.C. Carleson materials

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