Cyber Risk in the Fleet Industry: How to Protect Your Business

Car connectivity in fleets is a growing trend.

In one of our recent blog posts, Motus Vice President of R&D and Product Innovation, John Petrucelli, explored Google and Apple’s race to phone and car connectivity. Android Auto and Carplay have opened up a whole new world of automation for drivers across the globe. And while these impressive advances in technology are sure to make all of our lives easier, it’s still important to remain aware of cybersecurity best practices and the potential for cyberattacks. The ever-growing fleet industry is no exception.

Research uncovers that the fleet management market will be a $30 billion industry by 2022. As this industry continues to expand, C-level decision-makers will continue to look for ways to streamline manual processes, contain costs and gain visibility into field activity. This is why the notion of “car connectivity” has become such a popular trend in the first place. But companies with mobile workers driving company-provided cars should consider the potential repercussions of cyberattacks. How could an attack affect the business? How could it impact employees’ data and privacy? Let’s explore how fleets become exposed to this risk as well as some potential ways to mitigate it.

How are fleets at risk?

How do fleets become exposed to cyber risk in the first place? Well, it’s actually pretty simple. Much like an enterprise server or network, fleet vehicles become subject to risk once they’re connected to the Internet. This opens the door for hackers to infiltrate the vehicle, backend servers or telematics systems within the vehicle. This type of risk could potentially jeopardize user and corporate data – something that companies of all sizes can’t afford to put at stake.

Many organizations are taking notice.

According to KPMG research, 85 percent of automotive executives claim that their businesses will increase cybersecurity spending in the next three years, and 56 percent expect “significant investments.” In the same report, Gary Silberg, National Automotive Leader at KPMG, states, “Fleetwide attacks – which will have a much more significant scope and impact and a much greater potential payoff for cyber attackers – threaten to disrupt not only automotive security but also many other aspects of the automotive business and operating model. The time is now for companies to take notice and evolve.” A cyberattack on one vehicle is bad enough – never mind multiplying that by hundreds of vehicles within an organization.

A possible solution could be to move away from fleet altogether.

Ultimately, what can businesses do to mitigate cyber risk to company-provided cars? One idea would be to involve fleet managers in the enterprise cybersecurity strategy.

Another solution for companies providing cars to their employees driving for work? Reconsider the way they approach their vehicle program in the first place. Finance, sales and operations leaders could benefit from evaluating different vehicle program options that allow them to mitigate general risk and liability, control costs and boost productivity for their mobile workforce.

At the end of the day, cybersecurity remains a pressing challenge for businesses with mobile workforces of all sizes. As long as business leaders take steps to implement technology that monitors and recognizes a potential threat, they’ll be a step ahead of the rest.

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The Author

Jeff Porter

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