I will be traveling through Central and South America for about half a year. I have an agreement that I will occasionally work for my company and thus they allowed me to take the laptop from my office. My boss said I "should be careful with the laptop and the stuff I am working on, but it's not that bad if I happen to lose it".
The project is actually not that important and the data on my laptop are not too sensitive - but still I want to be sure that my (and the company's) data stay on the laptop. Despite studying 'Computer Science' (undergraduate) am quite new in Internet Security, so I decided to ask some friends, colleagues and also do some research on the Internet. My findings so far are the following:
a) The data on the laptop should be encrypted so that a snatcher won't be able to extract any information after a successful theft. That's why I used VeraCrypt to encrypt the system drive, hard disk and the flash drive I will be taking with me.
b) I should use a VPN whenever possible so it is harder for any other person in the same network to sniff my traffic. The laptop already has a ready-to-use VPN connection to the company's network, which I will use while working. Moreover, my university offers the possibility to use a VPN to their network, which I will be using when I am online but not working.
c) Use HTTPS/SSL connection whenever possible! That's where it starts to get tricky. When using the browser, this is no problem. But when using my mobile phone, some apps will automatically synchronize and download messages (Telegram, Inbox by Gmail). Are these connections also secure? Or can I secure them by also using a VPN for my mobile? And does Outlook use a secure connection to send and receive mail?
d) Use an up-to-date Anti-Virus/-Malware program. Right now I am using 'Sophos Endpoint Protection' because I got it for free at the university.
Is this basically enough? Does Sophos offer a good protection against a wide variety of malware? Or should I use another Anti-Malware program like (for example) Malwarebytes Anti-Malware?
e) My colleague told me to 'close all the ports' with the firewall. I am not sure what he meant by that or if that's a good idea. But I read that the 'Zonealarm' Free-Firewall does a very good job and is more or less easy to use, even for beginners.
But I am not sure, how I should configure the firewall or if it is possible or necessary to 'close all the ports'? Or is it alright to use the standard Windows firewall?
f) And of course: keep an eye on the laptop so it won't be stolen!
What do you think about those measures? Did I miss something? Am I completely wrong at some point? Any feedback and hints are welcome.