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The Vital Role of Data Privacy in Transportation and Logistics

These days, it’s a common adage that transportation and logistics companies move freight, but are really in the business of data. Miles driven, hours worked, fuel used, maintenance scheduled, costs incurred and more; the data points that drive our industry are numerous and these are just the tip of the iceberg. 

As digital information becomes more and more critical to a commercial transportation company’s success, it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant and remain cautious when it comes to protecting it. Whether your data concerns a company in its whole, or specific personal information, your right to privacy is an integral part of the way businesses operate. So, in honor of National Data Privacy Week, we’re looking at some risks, challenges and best practices when managing your data.

The Risks to Your Business

We’ve all seen the tricky emails coaxing its receiver into providing private information, and many have fallen victim to them. In fact, a “concerning 33% of global consumers have experienced a data breach,” according to Resmo, an IT and data security provider. Further, according to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2023, the most common way industry data was accessed was through phishing schemes, affecting a total of 51% of cases studied. From phishing and ransomware to recording keystrokes, there are a number of ways to breach online security. 

And according to a report from Marsh Mclennan Agency, a leading business insurance provider, “the transportation industry is one of the most appealing to cyber criminals due to supply chain dependence, high-value cargo, and time sensitivity. In fact, the transportation and trucking industry was the 9th most targeted for cyberattacks in 2022.”

In the US, there are still no federal laws regarding digital data privacy, meaning there’s no real way to stop attacks from happening. This means companies and consumers alike have had to adapt in order to protect important data, and combat malicious acts like these. There are simple ways, like providing two-factor authentication when entering credentials, and making sure confidential information is secured with a passcode. There are also industry-focused ways, one being the option to subscribe to services that ensure privacy.

The Rights of Your Customers

Though the average hacker may not be held accountable for his/her crimes, that doesn’t mean no one is responsible for the illegal access of data. There are still consequences for misuse of user data or data abuse. Businesses are expected to handle customer data professionally and respectfully. In order for companies to avoid data breaches and data misuse, it’s common practice to store customer data in a secure database. All data being stored should be encrypted to prevent a breach. 

As we mentioned, transportation and logistics companies naturally collect a lot of data about their own operations and their customers. Once the data has been ethically collected, encrypted and tucked away in a secure database, there are several important rules to follow regarding its use. Most consumers do not trust businesses to use their personal data responsibly, and some don’t even realize they’ve given information to the business. Oftentimes, people want that information back and a more recent issue has been the debate around whether companies should be allowed to keep that information indefinitely. 

The Data Protection Commission explains that consumers in the European Union have the right to demand their data be deleted from a database so long as they can provide reasoning as to why the data should be deleted. This is called the “right to be forgotten” and it’s included in Articles 17 and 19 of the General Data Protection Regulation, considered to be the most stringent set of data protection rules in the world. Failure to abide by these data protection regulations result in a variety of consequences. Most commonly, companies face large financial penalties. Other consequences include possible imprisonment and a damaged reputation for the brand. 

In the US, laws vary from state to state, which blurs the lines when it comes to company responsibilities. It’s easy for data abuse to go unnoticed. But more and more consumers are concerned about data attacks, and worried about how their data is being used. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, roughly 76% of Americans don’t trust companies not to sell their data to others without their consent. This is a troubling number that can be brought down with increasing company  transparency, and with the help of digital security services. Even if US regulations are not as stringent as the EU’s, it still pays for US companies to manage data responsibly. 

How Trimble Supports Best Practices

Trimble specifically has taken on a mission of providing a “safe haven” of sorts. “Safeguarding information is not just a responsibility; it’s the key to a trusting, connected and secure future,” said Conan Sandberg, cybersecurity architect for the transportation and logistics sector at Trimble.

At Trimble, we strive to provide a safe and secure environment for our customers. One way is by integrating Microsoft Azure into our services. Microsoft Azure is a cloud-based platform that offers users access, management and development of applications and services and forms the backbone of the Trimble Transportation Cloud. Trimble’s suite of TMS solutions that utilize the data stored in Trimble Transportation Cloud are integrated with Microsoft’s Azure platform, putting the security of customers in the hands of experts who utilize the most up-to-date technology 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Trimble Transportation Cloud has been through rigorous testing and constant development to ensure there are no hidden vulnerabilities or security breaches, making our service a safe option amid the confusion and uncertainty. “We believe the most valuable asset to our business is a trusting relationship with our customers, and we intend to uphold this relationship through unwavering commitment to ensuring data privacy,” said Sandberg.

Data protection is not a one-time action; it’s an ongoing process that works at its best when everyone’s involved. Be on the lookout for hidden vulnerabilities in your workflow, and be sure to utilize the protected services available to you. By remaining vigilant and informed, you can keep your business, customers and fleet safe from data breaches this year.