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In the coming weeks, millions of Americans will be taking a much-needed vacation and getting time away from the office. Though for most people, especially small business owners, this doesn’t mean the work stops.

According to a recent survey from ObserveIT, more than 55% of employees will be bringing a work device with them while they travel throughout the holiday season to stay connected.

Why does this matter?

Hackers cast wide nets when looking for valuable information, so the more devices in the world that contain this type of data (like work devices), the better the chance of recovering something. Here are some other key findings from the survey and what they mean for business travelers:

  • 77% will use free/public Wi-Fi on their work computer or phone – As work forces become more mobile and software continues to move to the cloud, there is a high likelihood that employees will work with sensitive data in public places on open Wi-Fi networks. These types of networks are common hunting grounds for hackers that can pull valuable data out of thin air if unprotected (see VPNs).
  • 21% will leave their work devices unattended – Stealing a laptop or phone and attempting data extraction later is a viable strategy for thieves and takes less technical know-how than accessing your information remotely.
  • 55% will use a secure virtual private network (VPN) while working remotely – A VPN service will anonymize and hide network traffic from potential snoopers as well as protecting data with strong encryption so that it cannot be accessed, even if captured.

What should I do differently?

  1. Educate your employees on the above threats and help them take steps to protect your company’s data.
  2. Keep devices close by and password-protected, and have a way to remotely erase them if stolen.
  3. Subscribe and install VPN software for use on public networks. Business owners: cover the costs of this service if necessary. Read more about VPNs here.


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