How to best secure your fleet data

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All fleet controllers/managers are well aware of the importance of fleet data to their organisation. It can provide incredibly useful information and can also be used to boost efficiency.

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Many companies will have their own bespoke fleet management software, such as the examples seen here: https://www.fuelcardservices.com/. Some may use spreadsheets or databases and a simple system of manual/digital fuel cards, but dedicated software is usually preferable.

One of the downsides of having all this data is that there is a need to protect it. This is because all computer systems and data are potential targets for cybercriminals. Leading ISP provider Beaming calculated that, in 2019, UK businesses lost over £12.5bn due to cybercrime.

Additionally, there are some elements that are unique to fleet management that may present more opportunities for these cybercriminals—one being the fact that many vehicles are now constantly linked to the Internet via GPS, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi.

So, what are the best ways to keep your data/systems secure?

1. Restrict access to sensitive information

Make sure that only those people who need it are able to access the fleet data. The fewer people who have access to it, the lower the risk of it being lost/compromised.

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2. Encrypt and password-protect the data

Any data sent to a location in the Cloud should be encrypted, so that it is not compromised if it is intercepted. Additionally, the system where it is stored and any significant data files should be password protected. According to Microsoft, multi-factor authentication can stop over 99.9% of account compromise attacks, so it is definitely worth looking into this extra security measure.

3. Keep software up-to-date

Whatever software solution is being utilised, it is important to make sure the latest version is being used. Updates provide extra protection, as they often fix vulnerabilities that have only just been identified. Applying these as they are released thus reduces the chances of systems/data being compromised.

4. Invest in antivirus/malware protection

These solutions provide a first line of defence against cybercriminals. They will scan and assess anything that tries to enter the network, and decide whether it is a risk (and will refuse access if it is deemed so). This will help to keep out viruses, malware, and prevent any potential data breaches.

5. Educate and train all employees

Make sure that all drivers know how and when to send their data and when/if to ‘allow’ the Internet to access their vehicle’s systems. Train them on how to spot suspicious links in emails, how to practice good password-hygiene, and what they should do if they think there is a problem. These things should also be reflected in the company-wide security policies and procedures. Additionally, make sure to hold training sessions any time there is a significant system change or procedural change.

The steps outlined above should minimise the risk of system breaches and help you to keep your valuable fleet data secure.