Road warrior (computing)

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In business travel, a road warrior is a person that uses mobile devices such as tablet, laptop, smartphone and internet connectivity while traveling to conduct business.[1] The term has often been used with regard to salespeople who travel often and who seldom are in the office. Today it is used for anyone who works outside the office and travels for business.



The term is believed to originate in the Mel Gibson movie Mad Max 2:The Road Warrior (1981).

Early Days (Before 1990s)[edit]

In the pre-mobile technology era Road Warrior where simply people whose jobs required a lot of travel, either by auto or plane. The majority of this group were salespeople and professionals that needed to be with clients such as accountants, consultants, etc. They typically would need to come back to their company's office for administrative duties. The office held limited resources (phones, fax machine, computers, etc.) that were best used by centralizing them.

As both computer and telecommunication technologies became more portable and less expensive, the need for Road Warriors to come back to offices for use of limited and costly resources began to wane.

Major technologies that impacted Road Warriors:

  • Internet
  • Text Pager
  • Portable terminal - Allowed Road warriors to access work computers for first time.
  • Personal computer
  • Email -Allowed information to move and be seen anywhere
  • Portable computers like Compaq Transportable PC
  • Portable cell phone
  • Blackberry phone - Allowed secure message between users
  • Smartphones
  • Wireless Access (Wi-Fi)


The term Road Warrior has been credited to the 1981 movie Mad Max 2 sub-titled "Road Warrior" starring Mel Gibson. Its harsh road life in a post-apocalyptic world was used to symbolize the hardship of modern business travel.

The 2009 movie "Up in the Air" starred George Clooney as a person who fully lives the Road Warrior life to the extreme.

Modern Day[edit]

Road Warriors use mobile devices and laptop computers that connect to companies' information systems. Specialized applications from Software as a Service (SaaS) providers are often used in order to conduct their work duties.

Road Warriors have proven that working outside of the office is not only possible but also given the state of computing and telecommunication has proven that others who do not require travel as part of their work can also work outside of the office effectively. There are several labels used to describe them Telecommuting, Remote Workers, Teleworkers and the list continues.

There are other workers with different labels used to describe them such as Digital Nomads or Nomads who perform work outside of their workplace and choose to travel as a matter of personal choice and not as part of their work duties.

Information Security for Teleworkers[edit]

"To hackers who make a living stealing information from unsecured computers and network connections, the teleworker could be an open the door to the organization’s most sensitive data. Security and privacy have become increasingly rare commodities these days thanks to the ability of hackers to stay one step ahead of just about every security measure that technicians can create. Security breaches are a significant enough threat in a standard office environment; however, when an organization has employees working from home or on the go, these risks become even greater.

It is vital for organizations to convey to teleworkers that data protection and information security are important to an organization, and employees’ actions make a difference in achieving the overall goal of protection of sensitive data. Despite increased awareness and training on security issues, many employees do not take the necessary precautions for deterring security risks.

Real security begins with security policy. The Information Security professional must ensure that the security policy covers telecommuting/teleworking and who may telework, services available to teleworkers, information restrictions, identification/authentication/authorization, equipment and software specifications, integrity and confidentiality, maintenance guidelines, and robust user education."[2]


  1. ^ "". 
  2. ^ Godlove, Tim. "Improving Information Security for Teleworkers". University of Fairfax.