Secure your digital baggage before your vacatonNow that we’re in the middle of vacation season, many of us are excited to be packing bags and heading to the airport. And we’re all packing lighter to avoid baggage fees and lost time at the carousel. We pack only what we absolutely need and we return having worn every single piece.

But few of us think about what we carry in the way of digital baggage when we take our mobile devices on the road with us. I’m not talking about the size of the gadget or the ridiculous number of cables. I’m talking about data.

Whether it’s a laptop, tablet or smartphone, if your device is stolen while you’re on vacation, consider whether the thief has just made off with your entire wardrobe or just a couple of drawers. I’d venture that most of us do not think about how much data we carry on our devices and, for that matter, continually add to them rather than continually trim.

In the spirit of traveling light and safe, I recently carried out some routine housekeeping on my personal laptop. What did I do?

  • Backed up all my photos to a separate, external hard drive and also onto DVDs. These are precious! I keep some online, but there are too many to do this effectively. I should also point out that the external hard drive is both encrypted and password-protected. Many products allow you to do this
  • Deleted old documents I no longer need – and copied the ones I do need to an online service and also to the external hard drive
  • Password-protected certain documents so that even if they do become compromised there is still a level of protection
  • Archived old email so that not too much was stored – again in a password-protected file

In essence, I took a lot of unessential data off my machine and moved it to secure places. Now if my device is stolen, thieves get less and I lose nothing. Who knows, I might even maybe leave my smartphone in the safe for a couple days.  It’s vacation, after all!

P.S. If you have an Android smartphone and you haven’t any security protection, then a security app like AVG AntiVirus for Android will help keep your phone safe from harm. On top of that it offers other powerful tools that can help you get the most out of your phone and even help you locate and lock it if it gets lost or stolen.