Let’s travel again with our computers – and do so in a safe way

Summer is here and after COVID we’re sure a few of you are looking to get out and travel – and we’re positive that your friendly travel agent can help you with that, we know they helped us with our hotels for business travel to the Western Slopes of Colorado and beyond, and they’re itching to start cruising again.

So, what does travel have to do with IT and IT security?

Quite a lot actually.

When you travel, we’re sure you’re used to logging into Wi-Fi signals to get your email and your personal and business stuff done – right?  We know we do.  We know where has good Wi-Fi and where doesn’t.  We use our phones as hotspots where we can’t access a Wi-Fi and 9 times out of 10 that’s not as fast or reliable as using a Wi-Fi that you know and trust.

And that’s the key – a Wi-Fi that you know and trust.

So how do you know whether to trust it?

You look for an encrypted Wi-Fi right?  You know, one with a username and password?  Well, that’s not all there is to it.  Because we can setup a business Wi-Fi that has no password and is 100% secure.  But that’s one I setup.  Do I trust anyone else to do that?  Sure a few, but we don’t know if Joanna’s coffee shop has a good IT guy or if her cousin Wilbur bought a box at BestBuy and just threw it up there until we actually do connect.

So how do we protect ourselves?

It’s not a single solution – it’s a process.  And it starts with updates.  We always ensure our devices are up to date – with Windows or Mac operating system updates and with the software updates that we need for Microsoft 365 and more.

Then we make sure that we have an endpoint protection system that has a bi-directional firewall… in a nutshell, it looks at traffic inbound and outbound and decides if it’s good or bad.  For the record – Microsoft’s own “firewall” is a poor implementation that only protects you from inbound threats and not that well either.  We use, recommend and sell multiple vendors, but for travel and for any laptop that leaves the confines of your office, be that a home-office or a corporate office, then we recommend ESET Internet Security, or even maybe ESET Smart Security Premium.  Both of these products are available through our online store.

Why?  Because the ESET in-built firewall examines not just inbound traffic like the Microsoft tool does, but also outbound traffic and the programs that are sending that traffic.  They do so in a much more in-depth inspection and they do so efficiently so you’ll hardly know they are there.

But that’s just protecting the computer from software and websites, what if you can’t trust the connection or Wi-Fi itself?GL.iNet GL-AR750S-Ext Travel Router

We then use a tools like this – our travel router.

When we connect to the hotel Wi-Fi – we don’t connect our devices to it.  We connect this little router to the Wi-Fi and we connect our devices to the travel router.  It’s an affordable solution – they’re $65-70 on amazon see the link for details..  That router enables us to connect our phones, our laptops, our iPads and even our FireTV sticks which we travel with – those all connect to the router and put a wall between us and anyone else on the network.

Finally – consider a VPN – these encrypt the traffic and work as a way of protecting your traffic and your location. There are a few but we recommend NordVPN and the deals they offer on their website are better than any deal I can give you.  But they’re just the final layer and you can even configure a travel router such as this one to use the VPN to protect ALL you traffic, or you can put the VPN on your phone, your laptop etc and you can use it on any wifi.

Ready for the right solutions?

It’s time to offload your technology troubles and security stress.