A guide for cleared employees to keep data secure while traveling
One of the greatest threats to the protected data at your site is from cyber hackers who are continually looking for weaknesses in your secured plans to steal your data. The risk increases significantly when your cleared employees use technology such as computers, smartphones and tablets while traveling. This makes it crucial that your company develops a travel technology policy to give employees with a Personnel Clearance (PCL) specific guidelines to maintain the security of the sensitive data they manage. Your cleared employees need to be aware of the risks and be properly trained to prevent a data breach.
If your company holds a Facility Clearance (FCL) you need detailed plans to protect the sensitive data managed at your site. This could be classified information or Controlled Unclassified Information, and it’s under constant threat of being stolen by adversaries. To maintain your FCL, it’s required by 32 CFR that all of the sensitive data at your site is protected no matter the circumstance.
Building a Travel Technology Policy
Your company’s travel technology policy will detail the way technology and data are handled when cleared employees are traveling domestically and abroad. A useful approach is for your company to work with its IT department and security team to develop this policy. The Facility Security Officer (FSO) at your company will play a key role in understanding and implementing this policy.
Foreign countries have fewer safeguards to prevent and respond to cyber hacking than the U.S, so your employees need to understand that they are at a greater risk of their data being stolen when traveling abroad.
Here are some tips that your company could take in developing this policy.
- Cleared employees should never travel with classified information or have access to this data while traveling either for work or pleasure.
- Work with your IT department to give your cleared employees a sanitized laptop to take off any classified information or other sensitive data from the laptop.
- If your cleared employees need to access email and share documents a mobile hotspot is the best option. Data is always at a high risk of being hacked when using public Wi-Fi.
- Using a secure portal for document sharing is an effective safeguard to keeping data safe. This ensures only the employee and manager has access to the data.
- Password protect all documents and never send the password in the same email. This minimizes the changes a hacker could access the document.
- A two-step authentication process is another effective method your company can use to keep data secure. Even if a password is stolen a cyber hacker will still not have access to the data.
- When employees leave their hotels rooms, encourage them to use hotel safes for any technology linked to sensitive data.
- If your cleared employees suspect any document theft they should report it to the FSO immediately and shouldn’t wait until they return from their trip.
- If a cleared employee has access to work email on their personal phone in the U.S., have the IT department suspend the account while they’re traveling abroad and delete the app from the phone.
- After a cleared employee returns from their trip a good practice is to have your company’s IT department look over all technology used to be sure no data has been stolen. If data has been stolen report it to your security department immediately.
Beginning in August 2022 all cleared employees are required to declare their foreign travel as detailed in the Security Executive Agent Directive 3 (SEAD 3). Failure to do this could lead to your company losing its facility clearance. Adamo can also help you with this and be sure your company’s compliant with all government standards required.
If your company needs support Adamo can develop and manage a travel technology policy tailored to your company’s resources and needs. It would ensure your company’s data stays secure when your cleared employee travel domestically or abroad. Adamo can also provide travel briefings to your cleared employees. Contact Adamo to learn how our FSO support services can help you.