Holiday Safety Travel for your Laptops/Devices

Dawn Jackson-Freyman's picture

With the holidays upon us, and many of us planning to travel with our laptops, UCSF IT Security has provided guidelines and tips to ensure you, and your device, stay safe.

Recommended Travel Guidelines for all UCSF employees and affiliates and their UCSF-device, or personal device, used for UCSF business. Not sure you use your device for business? Click here for guidelines.

  1. Do not log on to UCSF or personal resources from unknown computers. Consider any untrusted computer’s communication to be compromised even if the connection or computer is encrypted.
  2. Install the FREE UCSF anti-virus software on your laptop
  3. Install BigFix which ensures security patches, inventory information and software deployment
  4. Encrypt your laptop.
  5. For UCSF-owned devices, install CrashPlan. This automated data backup ensures you never lose your work.
  6. Connect your mobile devices and tablets to the UCSF Exchange email server which will make sure they are encrypted.
  7. Understand the UCSF Minimum Security Standards.
  8. Consider using a “sanitized device” by backing up your device and resetting before travelling and restore the device from backup when you return. To save data, use a cloud service or an encrypted USB drive.

In Transit

1. Do not put devices into checked baggage. Keep your devices with you at all times while traveling.

2. Internet connectivity:

  • For Internet access abroad consider spending the extra money to get a data plan with a cellular carrier, a dedicated cellular hotspot or a SIM card for your phone. A cellular Internet connection is much safer than Wifi
  • Do not use "free Wi-Fi" internet hotspots.
  • Use FREE UCSF Pulse VPN for all Wifi connectivity
  • If you do use hotspots, use ones that have unique username and password to connect. Remember if everyone has the same password to connect then someone can see your traffic.
  • Be careful of similar Wifi names. Even at hotels there can be imposter network names – e.g. legit hotel wifi is called “HotelWifi” and there may be a hot spot called “Hotel-Wifi”. That minor difference of a dash character can mean a malicious hotspot and can result in someone stealing your information.

While You Are Away

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Always put devices in the room safe or within the hotel safe if the room doesn't have one.
  3. Consider buying/using a cable locks to secure your device to something immobile.

When you return

  1. Reset passwords for any and all accounts accessed while abroad.
  2. Restore your device if you used a “sanitized” device
  3. Keep an eye on your accounts for suspicious activity

For additional tips while traveling, visit our IT Security page at: /security also please see for even more tips for travel.

When travelling on UCSF business, register your trip for free traveler insurance coverage