A data breach is trouble for any company, as Uber found out the hard way a couple of years ago in a data breach that tarnished its reputation. Fortune reports that hackers stole personal data from the company’s network in October 2016, including the names and driver’s license information of 600,000 drivers as well as the names and contact details of 57 million Uber users. Rather than notify those affected, however, Uber chose to pay a $100,000 ransom to its hackers to keep the breach under wraps and delete the stolen data.
The case of Uber is just one of many that perfectly illustrates why data security should be a priority for every company. This is especially true for those in transportation and logistics, both of which are now ever-reliant on cyber-based control, navigation, tracking, positioning, and communications systems like GPS and similar electronic devices. But how can companies with a mobile workforce manage data security? The following are a few suggestions:
Define a Realistic Security Policy
According to security and risk management experts from CSO, it is imperative that top management come up with and implement strict but workable policies on data security for everyone to buy in fully. Implementing policies that are either too rigid or out of place given today’s supermobile world is counterintuitive, as employees will likely subvert or ignore them at some point. It is likewise important that these policies take into account the mobility of the workforce by providing alternative guidelines for those on the road or working elsewhere.
When employees buy in to security policies, they can then be integral players in the company’s early detection plans by acting as a “human firewall.” In this regard, they must be briefed on the things they have direct control over, like their passwords (must be strong) and login credentials (should be kept private at all times). Security features like geolocation, which sends out an alert when someone logs in from another location, should also be explained clearly.
Secure Those Devices
Mobile devices are the lifeblood of mobile workforces. Business Insider notes that they contain lots of valuable data, and that means securing them should be imperative. To this end, it would be extremely helpful if they have encryption, password protection, and remote wiping. A better option per Wired is to move access and security away from the device and on to the company’s IT department. Employees will still have to do their part by serving as the human firewall, but this time, the IT team will be able to keep track of everything else.
All these great technologies will be wasted unless there is strict and constant monitoring. This is why companies in the transportation and logistics industries are advised to invest in fleet tracking software. Verizon Connect explains that advanced fleet tracking can help managers seamlessly monitor and manage their entire mobile workforce. It can even be used for other mobile management needs, including route optimization, driver coaching, and maintenance assistance. A case can be made, in fact, that companies in the aforesaid industries must now be required to employ advanced fleet tracking to increase productivity, and more importantly, to ensure data security.
Managing a mobile workforce is clearly a tough challenge, with even the most established companies like Uber remaining vulnerable to data breaches. This challenge will require a great deal of technical knowledge to be dealt with effectively, as well as a lot of support from everyone involved in the company, especially those who work offsite or are on the road most of the time. Although it may even seem daunting at times at times, companies must still do their best to protect all of their data by any means necessary.