Information Security while travelling

Loss Theft & Damage

We know that it is often necessary to travel with your laptop or mobile device, and this can increase the risk of loss, theft or damage. Theft poses the biggest threat to your information security, so you should take steps wherever possible to minimise the risk of theft and also minimise the impact of any potential loss:

  • Try to avoid bags that look like laptop bags
  • Keep your laptop or device with you wherever possible. If you need to leave it somewhere, for example a hotel room, you should lock it in the room safe.
  • Ensure that your device is encrypted or is at least password or pin locked.
  • Always make sure that your data is backed up before travelling
  • Do not store data on unencrypted external devices (memory sticks etc.) which can easily be lost.
  • If you have an Apple or Android mobile device, turn on Find my iPhone or Android Device Manager. This will allow you to locate and even wipe your device if necessary.

Travelling With Sensitive Data

Whenever possible you should avoid taking sensitive or classified data on your laptop. It is recommended that you save files on University Filestore or Google Drive and then access them remotely from your destination. By accessing information remotely over the Internet while you are away, you are able to travel without carrying unnecessary information with you.

The Benefits of using Filestore or Drive:

  • You do not take all your files with you.
  • You are not carrying sensitive information with you.
  • It carries less information, and therefore less "liability".
  • If your computer is confiscated or lost, you do not lose all your files too.
  • You do not need to ensure your laptop is free from all sensitive information.

To set up remote working via Virtual Private Network (VPN) please click here

If you must travel with sensitive data on your laptop you should make sure that your device is encrypted.Encryption protects the confidentiality of your information by making it unreadable to anyone who does not have the right key (usually a password). We strongly recommend that the encryption is carried out by a member of your local IT support team or the CiCS Helpdesk, who will ensure that appropriate back ups are made.
For more information about encryption click here.

Travelling Abroad

Before you travel

When travelling there is always an increased risk of loss, damage or theft of your device. We would hate for you to lose all of your hard work, so prior to travel you should make sure you have an up to date backup of your computer or mobile device.

Encryption laws in other countries

While we generally recommend that you encrypt your device(s) before you travel, some countries place legal restrictions on the use of encryption. Travel advice from the UK Foreign Office should warn if taking an encrypted device to a country is likely to cause problems. Always check the rules of a country before you go.

Depending upon the country you are visiting and the security arrangement at its borders, you may be asked to reveal the contents of your laptop or storage device. Although your device may be password or PIN protected, some countries may request your password and access to your device prior to granting entry. Because of this we encourage you to take a clean laptop on your trip, accessing all sensitive data remotely.