May 19, 2020

The business of safe communications abroad

Technology
Mobile
communication
international
Kate Supino
3 min
The business of safe communications abroad

In the U.S., Americans are for the most part spoiled when it comes to privacy and device security.

Besides the inherent firewalls, passwords and built-in security from device and software providers, individuals are protected by government regulations. Although the U.S. government has recently been scrutinized for violating some citizen privacy laws, Americans are still at the top of the list for security in terms of mobile communications.

When you travel abroad for business, you and your mobile devices are not nearly as safe, particularly in certain second and third world countries.

Countries where mobile devices are hard to come by, where the economy is in shambles, and where theft is common, make it treacherous for business travelers to protect their data and personal finances.

Related: Airbnb enters the business travel market

Travel may be unavoidable
It may be unavoidable for you to travel to countries like this, however.

Companies and large corporations frequently need their executives and sales team to travel internationally in order to close deals, earn new business or manage overseas operations.

In these instances, it's imperative that the traveling team be able to communicate with each other and with the office back home in the U.S.

Related: Four tips for stress-free travel

As mentioned in the following article, here are a few helpful tips for keeping your mobile communications secure abroad:

1. Use a dedicated business phone
Keep your usual and personal mobile phone at home while you're traveling abroad.

Your personal phone will have apps on it that place you in a very vulnerable position while traveling. You may have apps that keep you logged in to your bank, your social media profiles, and your business intranet service.

Your list of contacts can also place you at great risk. Thieves could text your contacts pretending to be you, and ask for them to send over emergency money. This is a common tactic in certain countries.

Related: Discover how to stay ahead of security threats and protect your business

Purchase a second cell phone for your trip before you go abroad, and connect it to your mobile phone plan.

Don't load anything on it except the necessities. Don't load any apps that could be used to steal your money or identity.

2. Keep your phone off until you need it
Make it a habit not to turn on your phone until you need it.

Thieves now have devices that can steal your phone's data just by swiping it past you as they walk along the sidewalk next to you. If possible, keep the phone's battery in a separate pocket, out of the phone.

Some devices can steal data even while the phone is turned on. Don't use your phone at the airport when you arrive or depart, because the airport is a huge tourist spot where hackers know they will find targets.

Related: INFOGRAPHIC] How safe is your personal data on social media?

3. Limit where you use your cell phone
If possible, only use your phone in private hotel rooms or in commercial establishments such as upper class restaurants.

Other countries don't have access to top quality cell phones, and thieves would love to steal your latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phone so they can sell it on the black market.

Bottom line? You must always be on your guard when traveling abroad!

About the Author: Kate Supino writes about best business practices.

 

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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