One big decision is whether smartphones and laptops are enough, or whether travelers will need satellite phones and solar-powered battery chargers.
"Everybody goes out with a high-end laptop and a smartphone. We make sure they have the proper adapters for power supplies that handle 110-220V automatically," he says. "If someone is going for an extended period, we provide a country-specific unit."
If employees will be overseas for an significant amount of time, he arranges for local cellphone service in addition to their regular U.S. cell service.
And if they're likely to pass through remote areas with no cellular service, including parts of the western United States, he rents them satellite phones for backup (even though placing a call on such a device can cost more than $1 a minute). He might also pack solar-powered battery chargers or hand-cranked chargers, both of which typically have or generate enough juice to power a laptop.
Cost vs. risk
While Clancey says such investments make sense for his workforce, given the risks employees might encounter, security experts advise companies to assess their own needs and balance cost of various technologies against the potential benefits they might yield in certain situations.
Despite the tense situation Vantage workers encountered in Egypt, for example, Groustra says he doesn't think satellite phones would have been worth the cost in that situation. "We found it was expensive and we could generally reach people with cellphones," he explains.
Groustra notes that world phones -- those that support multiple standards -- work best. Although when he worked at Vantage he occasionally gave employees 4G LTE devices for special purposes -- if a traveling employee wanted to create a hotspot so several people could share connectivity, for example.
Of the risk vs. cost debate, Groustra says, "It's a tricky balance. Like any company, we had to watch the bottom line. We didn't want to go with the most expensive option, but we wanted to have multiple options because we didn't want [our guides] to be out of touch."
Encrypted data doesn't always travel well
It's no surprise that more and more companies are turning to encryption to keep data safe when their employees travel overseas. They're using encrypted hard drives to safeguard data on laptops and encryption apps to protect company files and user data stored on smartphones' SD RAM cards.
Phil Cox, director of security and compliance at SystemExperts, says clients have told him stories about foreign customs officers taking possession of their laptops and claiming that they needed to inspect them. Although the clients said there was no evidence that anything was hacked, the experience left questions in their minds.