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    Protecting your fleet's big data

    Big Data is a topic gaining much coverage and impacts every aspect of our daily lives, including fleet management. By the pure nature of fleets, from collating field service data to telematics information on road conditions, driver behaviour, fuel consumption and vehicle health status, they generate excessive amounts of data on a daily basis. Recorded data can be used to help to log and review past events which can often help with motor fleet insurance claims and analysis of driver behaviour, but is also critical for future planning and identifying trends for predictive modelling. Losing this essential data could be disastrous for a business, not to mention possibly causing reputational damage.

    The impact of big data on fleet management

    Big Data has a tremendous future impact on fleet management and will ultimately drive decisions in areas such as vehicle selection, maintenance management, and fleet safety initiatives. By evaluating data it is also possible to recognise patterns in areas such as driver productivity, accidents and fuel usage. Due to the extensive nature of such data, in many cases this will be stored in the cloud, but this does not remove an organisations responsibility for protecting it.

    Keeping your fleet data safe

    Ensuring the safety of your fleet data requires both physical and electronic protective measures. Protecting your data requires a solid combination of reliable hardware, software, procedural discipline and constant vigilance. The most valuable thing to protect from attack or natural disaster is your data and so it is important firstly to back up your data daily and store multiple copies in different locations.

    As a fleet manager you won’t need to know the ins and outs of all the technical security of your data, but you need to know enough to be sure that your business information is safe, secure and always available. Here are some tips on the main things that you should be doing to make sure your fleet data is safe:

    • Invest in cyber-protection software to secure your wireless network. This automatic scanning technology will work to hunt down any viruses or malware and update regularly.
    • Identify your most important information and ideally keep this separate from other data, granting access to only those who really need it whilst also keeping on as few computers/laptops as possible.
    • Any sensitive data should be encrypted, with proper controls in place to limit access to that data. Consistently test and audit the effectiveness of your data-protection encryption strategy.
    • The human element is usually the weakest link in the security chain. Ensure all employees are wise to the potential for hackers and do not give out any sensitive business data, no matter who they say they are at the end of the phone. Train staff in what makes a strong password and how they need to update them regularly. It is also important to make downloading of unknown files or programs something that only a small selection of admin rights holders can do. All company laptops should be password protected and company mobiles only accessible via passcode, and ensure management are made aware when anything of this nature is misplaced or stolen.
    • If you have any sensitive data on paper have processes in place to make sure this is kept under lock and key and shredded when no longer needed.
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