With an estimated 100 million people1 on planes, trains and automobiles this holiday season, there are millions of phones to be lost, travelers to hack and gigabytes to be erased. Matrix Integration, a strategic IT infrastructure partner for more than 1,000 businesses in Indiana and beyond, is offering five critical tips for keeping travelers’ devices and data safe during the holidays.

“When you travel, there’s always the possibility of you leaving your phone somewhere or tapping into an unknown Wi-Fi connection, leaving your data vulnerable to getting lost or stolen,” says Chris Martin, security expert and solutions architect at Matrix Integration. “Unfortunately, there are always people who will take advantage of situations like crowds during the holidays.”

Matrix Integration works with all types of organizations to create security plans to prevent cyberattacks and keep data safe. Many solutions are implemented enterprise-wide, but there are precautions individuals can take to protect themselves.

Following are Matrix Integration’s top five cybersecurity tips for holiday travel:

° Back up everything. Before a trip, take the time to back up critical data. It only takes a few minutes, but can save hours or days if a device is lost or damaged.

° Patch and protect. Also before leaving: update devices with the most recent operating systems and software. Companies continuously update software with security patches, so the more up-to-date devices are, the less chance they have of getting hacked.

° Beware of Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a fast and easy way to connect devices, but it can also provide a direct link for smart cybercriminals to access personal information. If possible, disable Bluetooth in busy crowded spaces.

° No paper passwords. It’s tempting to keep passwords written down, but this makes them easy to steal. Instead, look for well-known password management software. These applications encrypt data, allowing for safe storage of passwords as well as critical-but-sensitive information like passport numbers and financial accounts.

° Be mindful of surroundings. Crowded travel areas are often a target for traditional criminals as well as digital criminals. Don’t peruse private personal data like bank accounts, or type in passwords that others can see.

If devices are updated and data is backed up, people are much less likely to lose personal, private information while traveling. When it comes to businesses protecting their information, Matrix Integration collaborates with clients to identify their most important assets, come up with a plan to protect and detect those assets, and provide tools to discover and respond to attacks before they can cause damage. Types of solutions include robust identity management systems so passwords are harder to steal, data encryption software, and staff training.

More insight into cybersecurity and more information on Matrix Integration can be found at www.matrixintegration.com.