5 ways corporate travel management can make the holiday season merry

By Jonathan Crowl

A beach scene featuring the sun peeking out through clouds.

Bigstock

Many workers around the world plan to take time off during the holiday season, but not all of them are able to unplug entirely. According to research from McAfee, 38 percent of employees don’t go more than a day without checking their work or personal email, and 27 percent of those respondents check their email constantly throughout the day.

When it comes to taking time off, 72 percent of respondents are happy to leave their laptop in the office, but only 27 percent are willing to part with their smartphone. Corporate travel management is needed to manage devices and support security protocols for these remote devices, the vast majority of which will connect to the enterprise mobile network.

Businesses may be happy to have such dedicated workers, but the use of mobile devices for remote work purposes creates new challenges for IT to consider. Here are some tips for helping employees to leverage mobility without exposing the company to new vulnerabilities.

Consider adjusting employee permissions

Although changing permissions on a temporary basis can be time-consuming for IT staff, it can be a great way to restrict access to sensitive data and assets that employees won’t need while they enjoy the holiday season. For example, many enterprise employees may check their work email regularly, but most won’t need access to collaboration tools and more specialized business apps. IT should review employees’ holiday vacation plans and consider restricting permissions if they’ll be out of the office for a long period.

It’s unlikely these permissions will need to be adjusted for workers taking one or two days off, but when employees are leaving for one or two weeks, restricted permissions can reduce the liability created by their travel.

Remind workers to only use private networks

When you’re working from the comfort of your own home, or a relative’s home, it’s easy to use the password-protected local network without worrying about enterprise security threats. But employees should be discouraged from using hotel Wi-Fi networks or wireless access points in airports or other public venues to access business apps and assets to avoid creating an opening for security threats to exploit.

When workers need to access business assets immediately and there isn’t a secured private network available, give them instructions on how to use a virtual private network (VPN). Threats are everywhere with crooks taking advantage of the increased travel during the holiday season, and the greatest degree of caution should be used when accessing the internet for business purposes.

Adopt always-on SSL or TLS

Secured websites are popular for B2C companies with online stores to protect, but this security layer is also useful to protect usernames, passwords and other content employees can access remotely through a company website. While it provides additional security throughout the year, its benefit is most significant during the holiday season when so many employees are spending time working outside the office.

CSO recommends upgrading to the latest version of a security protocol. SSL is the standard, but the most recent and protective version is TLS 1.2.

Encourage employees to back up their devices and data before going on vacation

Regardless of your company’s current data backup policy, employees should be strongly encouraged to completely back up their data prior to taking an extended leave from the office. Plenty can go wrong when out of the office, including corrupted data, broken or lost devices and the risk of malware or even ransomware infecting an enterprise device.

Backing up that data mitigates the risks that can come from a lost or corrupted device, giving employees and the company peace of mind when dozens or hundreds of devices are outside of the network for an extended amount of time.

Be wary of new app downloads when out of the office

Some employees use the holiday season to take a trip overseas, and they’re likely to bring their work phone with them, especially under BYOD policies. Computerworld recommends employees stay away from downloading apps that aren’t in the official app store for their devices. A tourist app, for example, may not be available through the official app store, and this creates its own security risk. These apps may request more permissions than they need to function properly, they may be loaded with malware, and/or the data collected by the app may not be properly protected.

If you do have to use one of these apps, try to allow the fewest permissions possible to limit your data liability.

The holiday season is a chaotic time for everyone, and that’s exactly why extra care must be taken when protecting enterprise mobility through diligent corporate travel management. Even at one of the busiest times of the year, take time to cover your bases and protect your enterprise devices and data.

Written By

Jonathan Crowl

Reporter

Jonathan Crowl has served as a tech writer and reporter for a number of tech publications and corporations. Specializing in mobile technology and digital startups, he is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Other Articles by Jonathan Crowl
See All Posts