What SA Travellers Should Know About Data Security & The No-Touch COVID Travel Policy

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects on the way we travel, particularly for business. As a corporate travel management agency, the TravelManor team has taken great care to stay abreast of developments in this regard, and one of the main things we communicate to our clients time and again is the importance of being vigilant regarding data security where no-touch tech is concerned.

Since the spread of the COVID-19 virus was found to be transmitted from person to person, it quickly became very important to minimise touchpoints along the travel journey in order to keep the risk of transmission as low as possible. This served to boost the adoption of technologically advanced solutions that have been waiting in the wings for a while, e.g.:

  • Biometrics. It is now estimated that in two years' time, the United States will be using facial recognition on up to 97% of all travellers.
  • Contact tracing. Travellers are required to download contact-tracing apps in countries like Belize.
  • GPS tracking. Hong Kong and Grenada require that visitors to the country wear GPS trackers throughout their stay.

These are quite extreme examples, but the point is that we are becoming increasingly accustomed to connecting, engaging and communicating in a touchless way while we travel. This is what puts our data at risk, especially in airports, airport lounges, hotels, aeroplanes and other in-transit spaces where internet connections aren’t always as secure as it is supposed to be.

When our clients travel for work from South Africa, we promote the following rules of thumb:

  • Don't assume that a pop-up network with a professional appearance is necessarily legitimate - hackers and unscrupulous cybercriminals are great at creating good fronts.
  • Only ever connect and use WiFi networks that are fully secured when you travel, especially if you are transacting or dealing with sensitive work-related information.
  • If you really need to connect on the go and there is no good option available, rather create your own hotspot using your phone, and always use a VPN.

Keep this in mind when you travel for business, and ensure that the correct people at your company take it up in your business’s travel policy. In the meantime, feel free to contact us to find out more about our team of seasoned corporate travel planners, and the comprehensive selection of corporate travel-planning services we offer.

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