Best Practices for Data Security on Foreign Travel

Before you go:

  • Do not take any sensitive data with you.  If it is absolutely necessary, please contact SP2 Information Services so we can coordinate laptop encryption.
  • Do not take any sensitive or important information on external thumb drives, hard drives, etc. unless those devices are encrypted. (NOTE: Encryption technology is subject to export controls. Users intending to travel to Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Iran or Iraq should contact Penn’s Office of Research Service for assistance in determining whether an export license is required.)
  • Ensure that your device is patched/updated.
  • All laptops, phones, tablets must have a password/PIN to access the device.
  • If you do have data stored on the laptop, ensure that a full backup has been made. Contact SP2 Information Services if you have questions.
  • Be sensitive to local privacy laws. Contact the Office of Audit, Compliance and Privacy for advice regarding the applicability of international privacy regulations.

While you’re away:

  • Select WiFi connections that encrypt traffic, are restricted with a password and are provided by a trusted source (University, colleague, hotel, etc.) whenever possible. Use encrypted services whenever in doubt (e.g., HTTPS over HTTP) when web-browsing.
  • Avoid accessing sensitive websites from public computers, such as at Internet cafés, as their security is highly unreliable.
  • Keep mobile devices on your person or in a locked safe whenever possible. If your device is stolen, notify SP2 Information Services immediately or call ISC Information Security at 215-898-2172. See Penn’s Top 10 Security Tips

When you return:

  • Perform an antivirus and malware scan on your laptop.  Please contact SP2 Information Services for assistance with this.
  • Schedule a reimage (operating system/software reinstallation) if the device is having issues or as a precautionary measure.

For more assistance regarding traveling abroad, please contact Penn Global Support Services:
Penn Global Support Services: http://global.upenn.edu/gss
Penn Global Support Services, technology: https://global.upenn.edu/gss/business-operations/technology

ISC Information Security:
http://www.upenn.edu/computing/security/index.php