How to Securely Get Work Done on the Train

28th Jun 2019

Whether your laptop holds the nuclear codes, the highly secret coca-cola recipe or some boring spreadsheets, you’ll likely want to keep your business to yourself. When travelling on public transport such as a train, it’s hard to keep sensitive information out of the eye line of your fellow passengers. Especially so without being rude or completely obvious about your intentions; although this is an option! In this article, we take a look at how you can adapt your behaviour, along with your hardware and software to ensure your business stays your own when working on a train.

People on phones on a train

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Let’s be clear; it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be subject to corporate espionage while travelling on the Essex Loop, or something similar. Other than being nosey, other commuters will have very little reason to want to pay attention to what’s happening on your screen. That being said, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so being aware of your surroundings, especially while viewing sensitive data on-screen will help your cause. With the new GDPR regulations, businesses have to be much more careful with how they handle customer and employee data. This means that leaving your employee’s salaries on-screen while you nip to the loo could potentially land you in very hot water. In this situation, common sense should prevail.

Block/Book Extra Train Seat

If you’re booking a seat to a particularly important or sensitive business meeting and are worried about the person next to you snooping at your screen, why not book that seat too? Granted, this could seem a bit overkill to many, but if you’re going to be working on particularly sensitive documents, this could be the way to go. Equally, you could just block that seat by putting your coat and bag there. However, if the train is full and you’re hogging two seats, expect to get some dirty looks.

Privacy Screen Protector

Perhaps the most reasonable way to manage on-screen privacy while travelling on a train would be to grab a privacy screen protector. They work by obscuring the image on the screen once you start to look at it from an angle that isn’t straight on. Either it will make the screen darker or blur the image, keeping it, quite literally, for your eyes only. Privacy screens can be bought for tablets, phones and laptops. Our privacy plus screen protectors are the popular choice for people that want to keep their data safe and secure!

VPN

VPN, otherwise known as a virtual private network, is a great way to access the web in a private and secure fashion. With the advance of technology and Wi-Fi hotspots now covering all densely populated parts of the country, Wi-Fi on trains has grown to become a given. Sometimes this will be a paid service, and sometimes this will be free, but either way, you’ll want to ensure that your connection is secure.

A VPN acts as an extension of a private network, allowing users to send and receive data as if they were in the office or using their private home network. The obvious benefit of this software is that it almost entirely eliminates any threat posed by a public network, something we’ve highlighted in a previous blog article.

Private Wi-Fi Connection

If using a VPN isn’t an option, then consider bringing your own Wi-Fi with you on board. A personal hotspot acts in the same way a smartphone would when acting as a hotspot; using cellular data to connect to the internet and transmitting a small, password-protected Wi-Fi signal. Equally, if you don’t want to grab one of these, why not use your smartphone instead? Many modern phones have this functionality, and with data becoming increasingly cheaper, the data limitations will be much higher. If your data is limited, make sure you set a cap before you reach the limit as you could be stung with high charges.

Turn Off NFC and Bluetooth

No matter the device you’re using, chances are you’ll have access to one or both of these connections. Make sure both are turned off while travelling to ensure that no attempts are made to either scan or connect with your device. Bluetooth, with its functionality as a data transfer tool, is the most likely to be affected; so be wary of any requested pairings that you aren’t aware of.

Be Vigilante Against Public Wi-Fi Networks

With many train providers now fitting their carriages with free Wi-Fi that operates at a reasonable speed, people are opting to use this over a personal network or using cellular data. With this, comes the increased risk of connecting to a replica Wi-Fi network. This is one that has been set up to appear to be the real deal but really is an attempt to steal your data. Using a free Wi-Fi network should be 100% last resort, and should only be used if you’re absolutely certain of its security. Even so, we’d still recommend a VPN to act as a safeguard against cyber theft.

If you have any top tips for getting work done on trains, why not let us know? Leave a comment below or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter!