Are you dreaming of a vacation? Whether you’re planning a family trip, a romantic getaway for two, or a solo adventure, technology will likely be by your side. But using technology while away often requires some advance prep to reduce potential disruptions to your personal services, including Web-based email, apps and cloud storage, and to reduce the risk of criminal activity.
When you try to sign in to your online services from a new location, companies may throw up roadblocks intended to keep out malicious attackers. To make sure you’re able to access documents or connect with friends while traveling, consider these tips:
1. Keep security information up-to-date
If you access services while traveling to a new place, such as Outlook.com for email, or OneDrive for documents and photos, this may raise a security flag that’s normally intended to keep the bad guys from accessing your information. If this happens, you’ll need to verify account ownership, which is easy to do if you have a set of security information added to your account, i.e. mobile phone number and/or alternative email address. If prompted, simply use the unique code sent to your mobile phone or email account. If you’ve already added security information to your account, just make sure it’s up-to-date before you travel.
2. Install an authenticator app
If you’re out of cell phone range, or you put your phone in airplane mode while traveling, but need to send an email or check a document stored in the cloud from a PC, then you’ll want an authenticator app. This allows you to retrieve a unique code on your mobile phone regardless of connection so you can verify account ownership. While authenticator apps may vary across platforms, typically the apps will use industry-standard security code generation to help keep your devices secure while traveling. If you have a Microsoft account, you can get the app by going to your Microsoft account security settings page at account.live.com/proofs/manage, and click ‘Set up’ under “Identity Verification Apps.” Otherwise check the app store on your device for your specific authenticator app.
3. Travel with devices you trust
Internet cafes and hotel business centers are really convenient. However, when possible, it’s always best to access personal information and documents from your own devices given you likely know who has access to them before and after you use it. This makes the device more trustworthy, as well as helps reduce the need to verify account ownership given it’s a familiar device where you normally access information.