5 Elements of a Telematics System that Protect your Fleet and Supply Chain Data

A single data breach can bring a shipper or carrier to its knees. In 2021 a business fell victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds, and the average cost of those attacks was more than $4.5 million. The need for end-to-end cybersecurity, particularly as organizations increase their reliance on telematics, is critical to protect fleet data and supply chain data. But not all telematics solutions offer the same level of data and network security.

When evaluating a telematics system provider, take the time to understand their information security (infosec) policies and procedures. Ask about the layers of technology they use to secure the data moving from the telematics device to the telematics platform to the end user. Some providers invest more time and resources in infosec than others.

Device-Level Security

A multilayered approach to telematics security starts with the telematics device and how it’s manufactured. Devices should be built with tamper-resistant housing and be easily concealed in a secure location on the vehicle or in the cargo being transported.

Telematics devices typically come with a baseline level of data security built in, such as keys generated to prevent unauthorized access and data encryption at rest (the data is encrypted even before it’s stored on the device). But your needs may call for additional security layers, especially if you’re shipping or carrying high value cargo or sensitive payloads.

To increase supply chain cybersecurity, some telematics providers have the engineering capabilities to add additional hardware-level security. This may include more static RAM and/or a different type of security chip for enhanced encryption. CalAmp offers multiple levels of encryption to fit your company’s needs.

Vehicle-to-device security

Connected vehicles are vulnerable to vehicle hacking as well as data theft. Malicious actors could leverage vulnerabilities in the vehicle telematics system to write command and control data back into the vehicle’s onboard computer in an attempt to commandeer the vehicle. One crucial element of vehicle cybersecurity, therefore, is ensuring the outbound-only flow of data from the telematics device.

Device to Cloud Security

Telematics solutions leverage 3G cellular networks (now being phased out) or 4G LTE networks to transmit data from the device to the cloud. Cellular transmissions come with unique vulnerabilities.

Providers have different ways of ensuring the security of over-the-air data transmittal through payload encryption. “Wrapping” the data as it comes off the telematics device, for example, is an added layer of data security that helps keep eavesdroppers and hackers from reading or stealing the data as it moves from the edge to the cloud.

Telematics Platform Security

Perhaps most important of all is the security of the telematics platform.  Obstructing unauthorized access to a company’s end systems is critical, therefore access control and continuous activity monitoring are essential.

The telematics cloud platform should use multiple levels of infosec that include role-based access controls to define user roles and maintain access privileges. It should alert stakeholders when any suspicious access requests come into the system, and redundancies should be built into security protocols to keep unauthorized users from accessing key systems.

In addition, the platform hosts must ensure the data that “rests” within it is encrypted with AES 256 encryption protocols. This ensures the data will be used only for the purpose it’s intended to serve.

API security

The increased use of application programming interfaces (APIs) presents another access point to a company’s data that needs to be secured, especially in supply chain applications. Look for a provider that offers an added layer of authentication and encryption for data sent via data pumps or APIs. For example, specific data keys should be in place to unlock encrypted data, analyze it and ensure it is safe to move into the end system.

Cybersecurity risk management is a must for every shipper and carrier. Partnering with a connected intelligence company that stays on top of the changing data security landscape, prioritizes data protection technology and caters to the entire spectrum of customer security needs is the key to reducing the risk of a data breach, preventing the financial impact of a cyberattack and protecting your company’s reputation.

Learn about CalAmp’s information security program.

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