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Posted September 1, 2016

fleet data security


By now, news stories about cyber attacks and identity theft have given most people a sense of the need to protect information. Mostly they think of credit cards, bank accounts and social security numbers, and are careful about giving out that information.

But a recent article in Fleet Solutions, the magazine of National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA), pointed out that fleets also store a great deal of valuable information digitally — routing plans, manifests, customer lists, logistical information and more — that they would not want in the hands of an outsider.

“GPS-based fleet management and logistics applications are already being used to optimize productivity, routing, dispatching a fuel management,” ID Experts President Rick Kam told the magazine. “Every vehicle in a fleet is another endpoint to be secured.”

He points out that cyber attackers search for vulnerabilities, and that simple human error is often the way in.  In addition to the standard reminders to avoid clicking on links in emails from an unknown sender (the method that hackers used to breach Target and Home Depot a few years ago), fleets should regularly remind all employees to be aware of how they use their computers, laptops and smartphones.

Many security measures are mostly common sense, but an alarming number of companies and individuals don’t follow the basic rules. The 2016 Data Breach Investigation Report from Verizon Communications found that 63 percent of confirmed data breaches “involved leveraging weak, default or stolen passwords.”

  • Do not share passwords. Do not use the same password for home and work accounts, or for multiple services. Do not keep a list of passwords on a piece of paper. Change passwords regularly.
  • Encrypt sensitive data.
  • Don’t ignore the prompts to update antivirus software, browser, operating system and software. They make pop up at inconvenient times, but hitting “later” makes it easy to forget. Finish the task or tasks at hand and at the earliest convenient time, make the updates.
  • When an employee leaves the company, especially if they go to a competitor, be sure that they can no longer access the company records.
  • Keep mobile devices secured.

The threat is real. While security hacks like Target and Home Depot make big news, one recent study showed that 71 percent of security breaches target small businesses. It can happen to anyone, and that means that security measures for computer and mobile devices should become second nature, like locking the car door.