Truck Driver Data Security

Smartphones have made life on the road more convenient for truckers. They use mobile apps to map routes, schedule pickups, update hours of service and submit freight bills.

But as more drivers transmit massive amounts of data across cellular and Wi-Fi networks, trucking company owners need to get as serious about protecting their information as they are about protecting their cargo.

The following tips may help keep important data out of the wrong hands:

1. Understand the Risk

The rise of mobile apps has created a tractor-sized security threat for motor carriers, said Ross Froat, manager of the Technology and Maintenance Council for the American Trucking Associations Inc., in Arlington, Va.

"Adversaries in the cyber realm have hacked into company-wide systems with infectious malware, capturing proprietary information or monitoring company specifics for either themselves or paid illegal services," he said.

2. Prioritize Protection

Perhaps more critical than safeguarding enterprise company data is protecting valuable customer information, said Doug Sampson, senior vice president for Aurora, Colo.-based 3PL Acme Distribution Centers Inc. A mobile app that handles fulfillment contains customers' credit card numbers. If they are breached that can cause a public relations crisis as well as a financial catastrophe.

"Try to have the most protective structure you can, yet one that isn't prohibitive to the efficiency you're supposed to gain by using the app," Sampson said.

Froat's advice to trucking companies: Have your IT department or a third-party vendor separate and secure your networks, lock down internet access and create multiple-factor authentication for your apps.

3. Safeguard Smartphones

More smartphones are expected on the roads later this year to accommodate the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate which requires truckers to electronically record their hours.

But phones often get left behind at truck stops or stolen during heists. So Froat recommends that all drivers who carry one, whether it's company-issued or not, use a passcode to access the device and change that passcode on a regular basis.

4. Remediate a Data Breach

Constant communication with employees can help you quickly identify hacking attempts and alert users to update their logins.

Responding quickly and effectively to a hack will minimize your downtime and can help your company stand out as better prepared than your competitors.

Froat recommends creating a cyber-incident response plan, following guidance on industry best practices. Guidelines are available from organizations including:


5. Stay Vigilant

Protecting data on your mobile networks from criminals can be difficult. News reports regularly chronicle hacks and cyber-attackers find ways of outsmarting the strongest firewalls.

But when trucking company management prioritizes data security and empowers IT to devise and implement a strategy, it will remain one step ahead of any threat. "Mobile security is a journey," Sampson said, "not a destination."

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute an offer or solicitation to sell the products or services of the providers identified. City National Bank makes no recommendation of the products or services offered by the providers mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed are those of the persons quoted and not necessarily the opinions of City National Bank.