The Kirkpatrick Report – 9 Tips to Safe Business Travel Abroad

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Security – 9 Tips to Safe Business Travel Abroad


By Al Kirkpatrick for Firestorm Solutions’ The Kirkpatrick Report


Al interviews a subject in the Philippines

What is the Kirkpatrick Report? Al Kirkpatrick, CISO, will be conducting information security assessments of offshore service providers for a client. 

His travels will involve 10 assessments across China, India and Bosnia & Herzegovina. 

The idea came up to create a blog of his travels with a perspective of lessons learned that might be of benefit to those that are doing business offshore and/or planning their own offshore travels.   (Read the rest of this entry)

Leavin’, on a Jet Plane

The question that colleagues, friends and family have consistently asked is “With all the terrorist/political news across the globe right now, aren’t you scared to travel in these regions?”

Honestly, I’m not particularly scared, but that does not mean I’m not concerned.    Thus, I have taken – – and will continue to take – – steps along the way to avoid business travel problems and to respond if and when any arise.

Following are a few of these…

9 Tips to Safe Business Travel Abroad

1: Itineraries: I have composed a very detailed itinerary with flights, hotels, local business addresses, contact names and phone numbers.   This itinerary is in the hands of my client and, of course, my family.   Everyone should pretty much know where I will be on a day-by-day basis with several alternative contacts in case I am out of communication range.  My wife knows to expect some form of communication from me no less than every 24 hours.

2: Mobile Communication: I always travel with an international cell phone and my local contacts all have the number.   My phone I use has GPS turned on.  I have programmed the addresses and phone numbers for the U.S. embassies and consulates for each city in my trip.

3: Hardware: It’s way too easy to lose a laptop on an extended trip (accidental or otherwise), so I am traveling with an inexpensive netbook.   I have configured the netbook with only that data that I am likely to need during the trip.   It has full-disk encryption, along with the backup flash drive.   When I return home, the encrypted data will be moved back to my normal laptop (after thoroughly scanning for malware) and the netbook will be formatted and configured from scratch.   If I need to communicate anything proprietary or confidential (and only if really necessary until I return), it will be encrypted for transmission.

4: Identification: Photocopies of my passport, visas and drivers license are with me, my wife and my client.

5: Credit Cards: At the suggestion of a heads-up customer service agent at my bank, I was sent a credit card attached to the original account, but with a separate number.   I will use this card for the trip and probably cancel the card (not the account) when I return.   The original will also travel with me in a safe and separate location.   If the new card is lost or stolen, I can cancel it and continue to use the original without having to figure out how to get a replacement.

6: Documents: For my travels, I take everything out of my wallet except for needed credit cards, medical insurance card and driver’s license.   This makes less to carry and less to lose!

7: Transportation: In these particular countries I avoid public transportation and, as much as possible, rely on my vendors to provide transport to/from the hotel and often from the airport (it’s certainly in their best interest to keep me safe and sound!).   Otherwise, I typically arrange for the hotel to arrange for a car and driver to meet my flight.   There are of course unavoidable exceptions, but generally I want to know exactly who is taking me where.

8: Travel Advisories: Always be aware of what’s going on in and around your destinations.   Daily news for the locality is an essential.   Google will always bring you up to date.   Lastly, the U.S. State Department maintains a travel advisory site that I always check before entering any country.

9: Communication: Lastly, often some newsworthy event may occur in an area close to you, but far enough away not to immediately impact you.   Don’t forget that the news media will often turn a “snow-shower” into the “blizzard of the century.”  I once was in Manila during a weak government coup attempt.   I was far from the activity and for me it was really a non-event, but I kept family updated.   So, if you hear of something newsworthy happening in your area, keep your family or contacts updated so they know you are okay.

So, this is my preamble for the upcoming “Kirkpatrick Report.”   I do hope that this proves beneficial to you.   As I mentioned earlier, please let me hear your own thoughts and questions.   Next report from somewhere in mainland China!



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