- As part of Business Insider's Transforming Business series, we surveyed 53 of the Transformers to gain insights on their leadership strategies, goals for the future, and important challenges ahead.
- About 20% of respondents said cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats to achieving their transformation goals in 2021.
- Trucks, elevators and other devices are collecting huge amounts of data, providing both opportunities and risks.
- Employees remain a primary cause of data loss, especially as they work more from home.
- Employees must be convinced that new approaches to data security are not burdensome or invasive.
- Visit Business Insider's Transforming Business homepage for more stories.
When people think about data breaches, a delivery truck isn't the first thing that usually comes to mind. However, the modern commercial truck is a computer on wheels. Trucks collect and pour out a constant stream of data that is used to improve routes, boost safety, and let customers know exactly when their order will arrive. As such, the trucking industry is in the center of many complex issues revolving around transformation and cybersecurity.
Take electronic logging devices (ELDs), technology which automatically logs a driver's time on duty. ELDs eliminate mountains of paperwork, let the driver get on the road faster, and make more income. However, the FBI recently issued a warning that ELDs' lack of cybersecurity safeguards put the drivers' and company's data at risk.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) turns trucks, elevators, refrigerators and all sorts of other devices into conduits of information, the technology benefits are coupled with heightened data risk. Business Insider recently polled 53 business Transformers and 20 percent cited cybersecurity as one of the biggest threats to achieving their innovation goals in 2021.
Curtailing that risk is a complicated process. Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), says effective cybersecurity requires both regulators and equipment manufacturers to work in concert to ensure IoT devices are safe.
"The proper role for cybersecurity in allowing drivers to innovate and thrive is that makers need to prevent hacking," he said. "Autonomous vehicles must not ever be taken over by malicious entities. ELDs must not be used by hackers to get information about drivers. It's up to manufacturers to figure out how to do it and the government must take steps to make sure that the public is protected."
The multi-pronged approach that is necessary to protect data doesn't stop there. Cassandra Gaines, a transportation industry attorney and consultant, says companies need to fortify their own data defenses.
This includes taking inventory of their data and understanding where it is; backing up data; discarding unneeded data safely; and designating a data security officer. This person, who often comes from the HR or finance department, is in charge of data security policies. He or she also trains employees, such as alerting them of the dangers of using public WiFi.
While firewalls, encryption, and other technology are necessary to safeguard a company's data stores, human issues often present an even larger challenge. "Every company has a duty to protect their data and prevent data breaches," Gaines said. "Smaller companies are often the most at risk, and they don't realize that the risk is often their own employees."
The first step is educating employees about things like phishing attacks. These false emails trick employees into installing malware on their company devices or divulging private information. Another challenge is implementing measures that employees and partners will actually follow.
For example, shippers want trucks to generate information constantly so they can route goods most efficiently. That is an important step in raising customer satisfaction and profit margins. Truck drivers, however, are concerned that constant monitoring pinpoints where they are at any time. "Truck drivers are very conscious of data security," Gaines says. "They don't want people to know their location, because they are afraid of their loads getting stolen."
That is an understandable concern considering cargo thefts have been on the rise during the pandemic. Thieves have taken advantage of skeleton crews and people working from home on laptops, which have disrupted operations.
Companies in many industries are grappling with concerns over monitoring as more employees work from home. Consider Everise, which operates call centers for clients. Protecting customer information is critical, especially in industries like healthcare that have stringent governance rules. As such, Everise has to make sure that agents aren't inadvertently, or purposely, putting information at risk with their actions. At the same time, workers don't want to feel like they're under surveillance 24/7.
To address those contradictory concerns, Everise's software uses "enhanced listening." When the software determines an agent's actions might raise compliance problems, the agent's screen is recorded. "It's not always recording," says Chris Greenough, the company's chief marketing officer. "We balance the data privacy with the employees' concerns."
Balance will be an ongoing theme in cybersecurity and transformation. Companies can only use data to transform their industries if they can identify ways to protect that data – and get everyone who touches that data onboard.
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