04 September 2006

Safe business travel

Any business traveler who has logged on to a wireless network at the airport, printed a document at a hotel business center or checked e-mail messages at a public terminal has probably wondered, at least fleetingly, "Is this safe?"

Although obsessing about computer security is a bit like worrying about a toddler - hazards lurk everywhere and you can drive yourself crazy trying to avoid them - the fact is, business travelers take certain risks with the things they do on most trips.

"If you go into the average hotel and sit down in the business center and have a look at their computer, I'm sure you'll find some interesting things that people shouldn't have left behind," said Paul Stamp, a security analyst with Forrester Research.

"The first step companies need to take is to educate people about how valuable the data is and also how small the circles are in which they travel," he said, noting how loudly many people discuss business on cell phones without a thought for who may be nearby.

So next time you are at an airport and think about revealing sensitive business information to an unprotected wireless LAN set-up...think again.

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