When gathering business travel and immigration documentation, sensitive and private information will inevitably need to be shared. While immigration applications are often managed through secure case management systems, the procurement of supporting documents typically occurs through less secure methods, such as via email attachments.
This can result in vulnerabilities within the system, leaving clients potential targets of identity theft or financial fraud. The need for cybersecurity has become more important than ever, with data leaks and privacy breaches frequently making the news. Even US immigration agencies handling foreign national information have been exposed, as recently as late last year.
This article will discuss the importance of prioritizing cybersecurity in the immigration industry, how we can protect sensitive data from potential cyber threats, and ultimately mitigate the risks for clients.
6 kinds of data that are collected for business travel documentation
At a very basic level, the process of global business travel requires personal documentation. Whether documents are being acquired from a local police station, former employer, embassy, or hospital, sensitive information will have to be shared. Here are some of the types of data that may need to be collected when procuring travel documents:
- Biometric data and personal information: Some visa applications may require the submission of biometric data, such as fingerprints or facial recognition scans. You will also need to supply your full name, address, date of birth, passport number, and other personal identifying information, such as a birth certificate. You may also need to provide information about your spouse and dependents, if applicable.
- Financial data: Private financial data such as credit card information, bank account numbers, and evidence of savings are typically required for visa processing. This can be to prove assets if required or to pay for services or filing fees.
- Employment data: This can include information about your current or past employment, job titles, and current income — a contract and your current employer details may be required. If you are applying for a business visa, then information about the purpose of the trip and the work being carried out may also be required.
- Health and medical data: Some health or medical data may need to be shared. This can include your vaccination records, a medical exam certificate, or any prior medical conditions.
- Travel history data: You may need to submit information about your past travel, including previous visa applications and travel itineraries, including dates of travel and hotel reservations.
- Insurance data: If insurance, such as health or travel insurance, is required to obtain a visa then you may need to submit your policy information which can also include some personal information.
Five ways to ensure data security for business travel and immigration documentation
Whether it’s personal data or confidential business information, the potential consequences of data breaches and cyberattacks can be devastating. It’s important to take steps to protect this data to prevent identity theft and other fraudulent activities. Businesses also need to be clear about how people’s data is collected and how long that data is retained
These are some of the methods that we can use in the immigration industry to protect clients’ data:
Using portals to upload sensitive information
Portals are secure websites that require a login to access and can provide a secure way to upload and share sensitive information with others, without the risk of that information being intercepted by unauthorized individuals. By using a portal, you can be sure that the information you are sharing is being kept confidential and within a secure system.
Encrypting or password-protecting files that have to be emailed
Another way to enhance security is to encrypt or password-protect files that have to be emailed. Encryption is the process of converting data into a code, so that only those with the key can access it whereas password protection involves requiring a password to open a file. Both methods provide an extra layer of security to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
Using two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is a security measure that requires two forms of identification before granting access to an account. This typically involves something the user knows, such as a password, and something the user has, such as a smartphone. By requiring two forms of identification, two-factor authentication makes it much more difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain access to an account.
Calling with pieces of data
Another method to enhance security is to call with pieces of data. This involves splitting up sensitive information and sending it in two separate communications. For example, you might send half of a bank account number via email, and the other half by phone. By doing this, even if one communication is intercepted, the entire piece of sensitive information is not compromised.
Train employees in online privacy and security measures
In addition to implementing technical measures to enhance security, it’s also important to train employees on best practices for online privacy and security. Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, and employees play a critical role in safeguarding sensitive information. It’s important that data is not communicated informally and procedures are in place in cases of lost, corrupted, or compromised data.
Lex Documents provides immigration services, securely
At LEX Documents, we use proprietary, in-house technology which makes immigration processes easy, centralized, and most importantly, secure. We are GDPR compliant and take the handling of data very seriously.
Our services range from visa applications and processing to document procurement, legalization, and translation. From strategizing what documents are needed to procuring those documents in a timely fashion to translating, legalizing, and certifying, we help make the immigration process as smooth and efficient as possible. Our customized service makes navigating complex bureaucratic systems easy, and you can be confident in the knowledge that all of our processes are secure.
Reach out to us to find out how our globally connected service can help you with your international documentation needs.