Posted on 21 March 2014.
Travelling, especially abroad, inevitably takes people out of their familiar environment. Additionally, when travelling for business purposes the travellers themselves often have to contend with a busy schedule and the effects of jet lag, all in a sometimes alien climate and foreign language. Given the pressures on businesses to be efficient it is very often the case that business travel planning is rushed and business travel security is neglected or ignored completely. It is only when an incident occurs that the importance of business travel security becomes apparent and by then it is too late.
It is always better to prevent problems than have to deal with them and observing business travel security good practice can provide peace of mind and allow business people to focus on their core business tasks. This brings benefits to both the employers and travellers themselves. The employers can show that they have exercised a duty of care towards their staff and be confident that they have taken reasonable steps to protect their company assets, human, physical and critical information. The individual business traveller can benefit from enhanced personal safety as well as ensuring the protection of their personal data by following simple business security good practice.
Business travel security good practice starts with good planning and so the things you do before departure can have as much effect on the security implications for your trip as the things you do when you are there.
Depending on the nature of your trip, the budget you have available, and time constraints, it may be sensible to obtain the services of a specialist business travel security consultant, but if for whatever reason this is not possible there are some things you can do, prior to departure, to help ensure your security and safety.
Obtain as much information as possible about your destination, its laws, customs and climate. This will allow you to travel without attracting too much attention to yourself. You should also obtain a specific threat assessment relevant to your destination to give you advanced warning of the type of potential problems you may encounter. The depth of information required in the threat assessment will depend on the destination itself, clearly more detail will be required if visiting one of the worlds terrorism hotspots, but the threat of crime is universal. The UK and US government provide free online advice for their nationals travelling abroad and local newspapers, often available online and in English are also a good source of destination crime information.
Prior to travelling you should sanitize your laptop, mobile phone and any other electronic device you plan to take, removing all personal details and critical commercial data. In a perfect world you would leave your regular devices at home and take a clean device on the trip, but if that is not possible then backing up critical data before travelling is essential, as is using a different password during the trip. Also ensure that anti-spyware and virus protection on any devices you do take is current.
Business travel security good practice includes taking a copy of important documentation such as passport and driving licence prior to departure. Leave a copy at home and take another copy with you, but kept separate from the originals, this will be a great help in the event of loss or theft.
Set up an emergency protocol, to be enacted in the event of an incident and have this written down. This will give you a procedure to follow, crucial when you are in a stressful situation in an un-familiar environment. You should know emergency numbers at your destination as well as emergency contact numbers at your own organisation.