Best Practices for Secure Communication During Business Trips in the APAC Region

Best Practices for Secure Communication During Business Trips in the APAC Region

Make no mistakes about it, we live in a world where information is power.

Securing your information while you communicate on business trips is critical, especially within regions like APAC (Asia Pacific) where rapid technological advancement has led to increased risk of cyber threats.

According to this report by Check Point Research, APAC witnessed the highest year-over-year increase in weekly cyberattacks during the first quarter of 2023, averaging 1,835 attacks per organization.

Hackers within the region employ sophisticated methods to intercept and exploit business communications. Public Wi-Fi networks, often used by travelers, are particularly vulnerable to attacks. Also, physical security risks, such as device theft or unauthorized surveillance, are prevalent.

This article guides you to best practices for secure communication during business trips in the APAC region. We’ll walk you through essential steps to prepare before your trip, secure your communications while on the ground, and ensure your data remains protected after you return home. From using encrypted messaging apps and eSIMs to safeguarding against public Wi-Fi vulnerabilities, we'll cover practical tips and tools to help you stay secure.

Why you need secure communication on business trips in the APAC region

The APAC region, encompassing countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Australia, is a vibrant hub of business activity and technological innovation. However, with this growth comes a significant increase in cyber risks.

Cybercriminals consider the APAC region a prime target for digital communication infiltration due to:

  • The rapid adoption of new technologies by businesses, especially AI tech
  • The rise of a new generation of users on social media platforms like Tiktok and Snapchat
  • Increasing hybrid working models have created cybersecurity nightmares for businesses
  • Use of global collaborative platforms for remote business teams
  • Huge manufacturing growth especially in the semiconductor and manufacturing sector

The most common types of cyber threats in the APAC region are:

  • Phishing attacks: Designed to trick you into providing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial details. These attacks often come in the form of deceptive emails or messages that appear legitimate but are actually from malicious sources. In the APAC region, where language barriers and unfamiliar cultural nuances can make phishing attempts harder to spot, the risk is even greater
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks: Occurs when a cybercriminal intercepts the communication between you and another party. This can happen over unsecured Wi-Fi networks, commonly found in hotels, cafes, and airports. The attacker can then steal or alter the information being transmitted, potentially compromising your business communications.
  • Malware: Including viruses, spyware, and ransomware, malicious software is designed to damage or gain unauthorized access to your systems. In APAC, there have been numerous instances of malware infections through compromised websites, email attachments, and even seemingly harmless apps. Once your device is infected, your data and communication can be easily accessed by attackers.

In addition to cyber threats, physical security is a significant concern during your business trips in the APAC region. Here are some common risks:

  • Risks of device theft or loss: Losing your laptop, smartphone, or tablet can be disastrous, especially if these devices contain sensitive business information. Airports, public transport, and busy city streets are common places where theft or accidental loss can occur. Without proper security measures, such as strong passwords and encryption, the data on these devices can be easily accessed by anyone who finds or steals them
  • Potential for eavesdropping in public places: Discussing business matters in public places like cafes, restaurants, or even conference rooms can expose your conversations to eavesdropping. In APAC cities, where spaces are often crowded and bustling, the risk of someone overhearing sensitive information is high. It's essential to be mindful of your surroundings and take steps to protect your privacy.

To protect your communication during business trips in the APAC regions, you should check through secure VPN options, beware of holding your business conversations in public, and choose the best eSIM options for Singapore, China, Taiwan, and other APAC countries.

eSIM is the advanced version of a physical SIM card. Instead of the typical removable plastic card inside your phone, an eSIM is a small chip embedded in your handset. It’s fixed to your mobile device - you can’t remove it and put it in another phone.

For secure communication during your business trips, eSIMs combine enhanced security with flexibility, convenience, cost efficiency, privacy and simplified management. Whether you’re navigating the bustling cities of the APAC region or connecting from remote locations, eSIMs provide the robust solution needed for modern business connectivity.

Best practices for secure communication during business trips in the APAC region

When you're traveling for business in the APAC region, keeping your communication secure is important. Cyber threats and physical security risks are real concerns that can jeopardize your business and personal information.

Here’s a guide to best practices for ensuring secure communication during your business trips.

Pre-trip preparations

Before leaving your primary location, here’s a list of everything you should do to ensure your communication is secure during your business trip.

  • Device security: Ensure all your devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets) are updated with the latest security patches. Make sure to use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to safeguard your devices. Also, remember to scan for any threats to keep your data secure.
  • Data backup and encryption: Before you leave, backup all important data to a secure cloud service or external hard drive. Also, use encryption for all sensitive data stored on your devices and keep your decryption keys safe.
  • VPN and secure connections: Select a reputable VPN service that offers strong encryption and a no-logs policy. Don’t forget to test your VPN before departure and make sure it’s working correctly so you can connect securely when you're on the go.
  • Awareness training: For businesses, it’s important to provide training on recognizing phishing attempts and other social engineering attacks. Awareness is your first line of defense against these threats. Also, staff should avoid using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions. If they must use public Wi-Fi, ensure they connect through a VPN.
  • eSIM setup: Before you leave, make sure your phone eSIM is working by testing it. Your IT department can help you update your phone’s network profiles and security settings remotely once you land. Also, they can help you troubleshoot remotely, minimizing downtime and keeping your communications running smoothly.

Secure communication tools

The next step is getting secure communication tools to protect your information while you travel for business.

  • Emails encryption: Use email services that offer end-to-end encryption. This ensures that only you and the recipient can read the emails. Also, train yourself to spot phishing emails. Look for red flags like unfamiliar senders, suspicious links, and urgent requests for sensitive information.
  • Secure messaging apps: Use messaging apps on your eSIM enabled mobile device that offer end-to-end encryption for messages and make sure encryption is enabled in the app settings to ensure your messages are secure. Your eSIMs mobile device comes with enhanced encryption protocols, and this is important when transmitting sensitive business information over mobile networks. Also, the authentication process for eSIMs is typically more secure than traditional SIM cards.
  • Secure voice and video calls: Use secure platforms with end-to-end encryption for your voice and video calls and be very cautious about discussing sensitive information over unsecured or public networks.

On-the-ground security measures

When you arrive on the ground in your APAC country, make sure to take the following security measures.

  • Safe use of public wi-fi: Set up and use your personal hotspots or secured mobile networks for important communications. Public Wi-Fi is often unsecured and can be easily exploited.
  • Hotel and conference room security: Check the security of your hotel room or conference room. Lock your devices when not in use and use a safe if available. Also, be aware of potential surveillance devices in rooms. If something seems suspicious, report it to hotel security.
  • Device management: Change your passwords regularly and use strong, unique passwords for different accounts. You can also enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for an extra layer of security and always keep your devices with you, especially in public places. Use biometric locks and secure storage options when necessary.
  • Activate your eSIM: When you arrive, you’ll need to switch between the local carriers stored multiple network profiles on a single device. This reduces roaming charges and improving connectivity. Also, eSIMs can be activated remotely without needing to visit a store or wait for a physical SIM card to arrive. This ensures you’re always connected, even if you change carriers frequently during your trip.

Handling sensitive information

To prevent hackers accessing your sensitive information and data during your business trips, here’s what you should do:

  • Data access and sharing: Only access and share sensitive information on a need-to-know basis and use encrypted cloud storage services for sharing files securely. Also, only use platforms that offer encryption for file transfers to ensure your data remains confidential.
  • Remote access security: Use secure applications for remote access to your company's network and ensure these apps are properly configured and encrypted. Also, always connect to your company network through a secure VPN to protect your data from interception.

Emergency response plan

During your business trips, you must have an emergency response plan for situations where a communication breach occurs:

  • Incident reporting and response: If your device gets lost or compromised, immediately report the incident to your IT department and follow your company protocols for handling lost or compromised devices. Have a clear plan for contacting IT support in case of emergencies. A quick response can mitigate potential damage as they can help you deactivate and transfer your eSIM profile to a new device.
  • Mitigating damage: If a device is lost or stolen, be prepared to remotely wipe it to protect your data. Also, change your passwords and secure your accounts immediately if you suspect a breach.

Post-trip best practices

When you get back from your business trips in the APAC region, you should do this:

  • Device and data checks: Upon returning, scan all devices for malware to ensure they haven't been compromised, check your communication logs for any suspicious activity, and secure them accordingly.
  • Debrief and feedback: Conduct a debrief with your IT team to share any security challenges encountered and lessons learned and use the feedback to update and improve your company's security protocols for future trips.

Secure communication on business trips in the APAC region

Traveling for business in the APAC region can be an exciting and productive experience. However, it also brings unique security challenges that can jeopardize your sensitive information if not properly addressed.

By implementing the best practices discussed in this article, you can ensure that your business communications remain secure during your trips to the APAC region.

Stay proactive, stay informed, and travel with confidence knowing your information is protected.