Safety and security while travelling

Loss, theft and damage

We understand that it’s often necessary to travel with your laptop or mobile device. 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 and 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.
  • Ensure that your device needs a password or pin to be unlocked.
  • Always backup your data before travelling.
  • Don’t 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 remotely if necessary.

Travelling with sensitive data

Whenever possible you should avoid taking sensitive or classified data on your laptop.

It's recommended that you save files on University Storage or Google Drive to access them remotely from your destination. Benefits of using University Storage or Google Drive:

  • You don't need to take all of your files with you.
  • You reduce the risks usually posed by carrying sensitive information with you.
  • If your computer is confiscated, lost or stolen, you won't lose your files too.

Set up remote working via Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Protect your device

Regardless of whether you travel or work remotely, all devices used for any University of Sheffield work must be encrypted. Encryption protects the confidentiality of your information by making it unreadable to anyone who does not have the right key (usually a password). If you need help encrypting your device, contact your departmental IT support team or the IT Service Desk, who will also ensure that appropriate backups are made.

Travelling abroad

Before you travel

When travelling there’s always an increased risk of loss, damage or theft of your device. We wouldn’t want you to lose all of your hard work, so prior to travel you should make sure you backup your computer or mobile device.

Laws in other countries

While all devices used for any University of Sheffield work must be encrypted, 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.

For more information see the University’s HR International Working pages.


Help and support

If you need further advice on security while travelling, contact the IT Service Desk.