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Tech Travel Tips

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There's nothing worse than the feeling you get when you're stranded when traveling.  And by stranded, I mean because you're having problems preventing you from connecting up remotely and accessing the information you need access to. Here are some tips to help you with your technology when you're traveling:

Create a Travel Kit

Keep your various travel computer accessories - such as USB flash drive and hub, cable lock, extra phone battery, power strip, VoIP (Voice Over Internet protocol) headset, and webcam - in one place or kit.  When you're ready to hit the road, grab the kit and you're good to go.

Practice Logging in, and on

Don't try logging on to the corporate server or logging in to your remote accounts for the first time once you're on the road. Practice remote data access from the stress-free environment of your home.

Have IT on Standby

Information Technology people are your lifeline if you run into connection issues on the road.  Keep your IT Help Desk and support names and numbers handy.

Work Smart

Stay in hotels that provide free internet access and an in-room work space as well as fax, copy and print servies.

Keep a Neat Desk

Straighten up things at the office before leaving on an extended trip.  An organized desk will help co-workers find files or documents that you -- or they -- might need while you're away.

Schedule Time to Stay in Touch

Chasing down your staff or keeping in touch with family members can be challenging if everyone's on different schedules or time zones.  Before departing, setup call-in times.  Alternatively, start or end the day with e-mail updates.

Protecting Your Online Financial Info

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Consumers are conducting more and more of their financial transactions online.  Consequently, they may become vulnerable to tracking, hacking, identity theft, phishing scams, and other online risks.  While nothing can guarantee complete safety while online, much can be done to understand and minimize your exposure to risk.

Here are some basic ways to help maintain privacy and secure your information while on the web:

Understand Privacy Policies

Before conducting any financial transactions online, carefully read the privacy policies of each institution with which you plan to do online business.  Find out how the business intends to maintain and secure your financial information.  If you don't understand the legal jargon, ask questions.  You can always email or call a business and request a simplified explanation of its privacy policies.

Avoid Using Easily Decipherable PINS and Passwords

When deciding on PINS, passwords, and other login information, avoid using your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of our Social Security number, your kids names, or your phone number.  Avoid other obvious choices, like a series of consecutive numbers or your home town.  Also, avoid using the same PINS and passwords on multiple sites.  Then, if your PIN or password is discovered on one site, the others will remain secure.

Use Secure Web Pages Only

Use only secure browsers when shopping online to guard the security of your transactions during transmission.  There are two general indicators of a secured web page.  First, check that the web page URL begins with "https".  Most URL's begin with "http" - the "s" at the end indicates that the site is "secure".  This means that passwords and other information will be encrypted before sending back and forth to the server.  Second, look for a "lock" icon in the window of the browser.  You can double-click on this icon for details about the site's security.  Be cautious about providing your financial information to websites that are not well known.  Larger companies and well-known web sites have developed policies to protect the rights and financial information of their customers.

Keep Your Operating System Up-to-Date

High-priority updates are critical to the security and reliability of your computer.  They also offer the latest protection against malicious online activities.  When your computer prompts you to conduct an update, do it as soon as possible.

Keep Your Firewall Turned On

A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to delete information, crash your computer, or steal your passwords or credit card numbers.  Make sure your firewall is always turned on.

Do Your Homework

To learn more about securing your computer and protecting your personal information, visit www.getnetwise.org, www.onguardonline.gov, or www.wiredsafety.org.  These websites provide valuable information to help you protect your private information when conducting financial transactions online. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair practices in the marketplace.

While maintaining anonymity on the web can be challenging, it's important to protect your financial information and the financial information of your family.  In time, more protective measures will be established so that you can feel assured that your financial information will be protected from unknown third parties.  In the meantime, it's up to you to safeguard your financial information by being vigilant in your online practices.

About the Author
Craig Pollack
Craig Pollack Blog Profile Image Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, their business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology most effectively to achieve their business objectives. Craig focuses on ensuring that the technologies implemented by clients are "business centric" and key components of their businesses' success, and that this approach is shared by every staff member of FPA.
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