Every year, thousands of individuals relocate across the country – some even across the world – for a new job, or a transfer with their existing company.
Unfortunately, global security has become a real threat, and moving is a busy and stressful time when many people are most vulnerable.
So how do you keep your employees – or yourself – safe in today’s world?
I recently attended a meeting of the Charlotte Metro Area Relocation Council (CMARC) that included a panel discussion on data security and business travel. The speaker panel featured corporate leaders, current and former FBI agents and a representative from International SOS.
This very knowledgeable group offered the following suggestions. While some of this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised by the number of people each year who fall victim to identity theft, data breaches or other crimes.
- Think before you click. Sometimes the email communication involved with moving arrangements becomes infected with a virus. And while computer viruses are never welcome, this is a most inconvenient time to have your data compromised.
Be cautious before clicking on links in an email or following instructions, especially if it involves financial transactions. An email may look legitimate but a few letters can be “swapped” in the email address which you may not notice. Use secondary authentication for an extra level of security.
- Utilize security resources. STEP (Smart Travel Enrollment Program) is a service of the Bureau of Consular Affairs under the U.S. Department of State. Sign up and you will automatically receive the most current information about the country where you will be traveling or living. After you set up your account, you simply add or delete trips as you schedule travel to receive updates, including travel warnings and alerts. This service also allows U.S. embassies and consulates to contact you in the event of an emergency.
InfraGard is a partnership with the FBI and the private sector. This membership organization is a good resource for businesses whose employees frequently travel or relocate internationally. Local chapters hold meetings to discuss issues and threats that impact their companies. The goal is to share information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the U.S.
- Stay informed and alert. Before you travel, learn about the areas where you will be visiting and take appropriate security precautions. During travel, stay alert and keep abreast of your surroundings, especially when in airports and public places. And if you notice something (or someone) that doesn’t seem quite right, trust your instincts and notify police or security immediately.
A new job opportunity that involves a move can be exciting. But while you are caught up in the whirlwind of relocating to a new place, don’t forget to keep a level head and stay smart – and arrive safely.