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7 Things to know about traveling with your computer or tablet.

Are you traveling this summer for vacation, pleasure or work?
If you’ve never traveled before with your laptop or tablet or it’s been awhile since you have, you may want to check out this document and make sure you’re ready!
Tablets and laptops have become a way of life for most of us, we use them every day at work and home. And the likelihood is you will want to use it on your travels as well. Here are some things you need to consider before you leave on your trip:

• Email may be blocked at Hotels and on some WiFi connections.
That’s right many hotels and Wifi locations are blocking port 25 on their networks, this is the port your Outlook or other email software uses to send email. They are blocking this port to reduce Spam problems on their networks. But there is a solution! Most email hosts will use an alternate port (most use port 587) or better yet see if your email provider has secure mail settings. (you will need to contact your email hosting company for the correct configuration on this.) You can change your setup before you leave. It will work at home as well as on the road, and secure mail is always a better option.

• Never use an open WiFi
Open Wifi networks are networks that you connect to at places like coffee shops or businesses, which do not provide protection to each computer that connects to its network. Many times you can connect to these networks without a password. You can go to you network connections icon and see all of the computers on that network! This is a huge security risk and is the reason you should never use these networks. If you must use these networks, please take the time to read this article from Life Hacker on how to best configure your device for these environments: http://lifehacker.com/5576927/how-to-stay-safe-on-public-wi+fi-networks
And as always consult your IT provider for your office to see if they have additional security steps for you.

• Bring a small UPS or Surge Protector
Especially true if you will be traveling out of the country. Power is not always reliable, and a minimum of a surge protector is highly recommended. A UPS or uninterruptable power supply is a better way to go but not always convenient; they tend to be heavy and bulky.

• Get a set of power adapters for planes and overseas
Again especially true if traveling out of the country, power adapters will be different in most countries. And make sure you get the correct adapters for your device. A great place to find these is on Amazon (here is the link to adapters). Also, if you are lucky enough to be traveling in some of the newer planes, or in first class, there are many that now offer power plugins at your seat. A good place to check if your plane has this feature is www.seatguru.com.

• Use a network cable and plug-in, when available in hotel rooms and consider bringing your own wireless router
This is to protect you from open WiFi networks provided by hotels (see Open Wifi networks above). When my wife and I travel, I pack a small wireless router that I have preconfigured. I can plug it right into the hotels wired network connection in our room and voila! I have my own private, protected, wireless signal. This works for your other devices as well, cell phones, tablets, anything needing a WiFi network. And you can pick these routers up for less than $50 at your local office supply stores.

• Encrypt your data
Data encryption software is a good idea for any traveler. If you encrypt the data and your device gets lost or stolen, the likelihood of anyone getting to your data is remote if it’s encrypted. There are several encryption softwares available. One of the best on the market for Windows-based laptops is Symantec; it’s not free but since the discontinuation of Truecrypt there really are no other good free alternatives.
For Apple and Android tablets and phones, go to the settings area. All of the newer devices have a security area where you can enable encryption.
In any of these cases, it is best to contact your office IT provider and see if they have any further recommendations or requirements. Most IT providers that handle Managed Services can install a client that enables them to wipe your device on your notification that it has been lost or stolen.

• Backup your data online
One of the most important things you can do is setup an automatic backup of your data. No matter which device you are using, if it dies, is lost or stolen, it is more likely that the data is more important than the device. Hardware can be replaced, data most often cannot. Here are some good options for backing up data;
For PC’s and now tablets, use an online provider such as www.mozy.com or www.carbonite.com. Or if you have an IT provider for your office ask them, many times they will provide a backup of your company data and include it as part of your companies data plan.
For the iPad, Apple has introduced the iCloud. iCloud is your personal cloud backup and sync account for all of your data.
If you have any questions or concerns about your travels again, it is best to contact your company IT provider if you have one or feel free to contact us at AcaciaIT
Happy Travels and please be safe.