Trucks at Work
Protecting trucking’s digital byways

Protecting trucking’s digital byways

It’s probably more than a little appropriate to close out 2016 in this space by recognizing that digital security is only going to gain in importance for both the U.S. trucking industry and the country’s  business community as a whole.

For example, now and in the future, there is just no escaping trends like “Big Data” and how it’ll impact motor carrier operations, despite the complications they bring.

Yet the curious thing is that despite the many threats trucking and businesses as a whole face if and when their digital networks are compromised – with liability for data breaches a big one – many cyber security professionals believe the risk factors continue growing.

On top of that, on a personal level, a goodly number of Americans apparently don’t want to apply tougher Internet security protocols as they feel such measures will only slow down their electronic endeavors.

For starters, take this recent report compiled by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and independent industry analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).

Based on a poll of over 437 information security professionals from around the world, this new report found that, in aggregate, 54% cyber security professionals admitted that their organization experienced at least one type of security event over the past year.

Yet, surprisingly, none of the top contributors to these cyber-attacks and data breaches are related to cyber technology. Rather they point to “human issues” such as a lack of enough cyber security staff members as well as a lack of employee training and boardroom prioritization.

On top of that, 69% of the cyber security professionals surveyed by the two companies indicated that the global cyber security skills shortage has had an impact on the organization they work for leading to excessive workloads, inappropriate skill levels, high turnover and an acute shortage especially in the areas of security analytics, application security and cloud security.

Here’s another concern: The vast majority of those cyber security pros believe that their nation’s critical infrastructure is vulnerable to some type of significant cyber-attack and want government more involved in cyber security strategies and defenses.

Going further they recommend specific actions government should take, leading with: providing better ways to share security information with the private sector; incentives to organizations that improve cyber security; and funding for cyber security training and education.

“There’s lots of research indicating a global cyber security skills shortage but there was almost nothing that looked at the associated ramifications,” noted Jon Oltsik, ESG’s senior principal analyst, in the report. “Simply stated, these findings represent an existential threat. How can we expect cyber security professionals to mitigate risk and stay ahead of cyber threats when they are understaffed, under-skilled, and burned-out?”

Based upon the data collected from this global survey, ISSA and ESG compiled a more detailed follow-on report that unearthed some surprising findings:

  • The clear majority of those 437 cyber security professionals surveyed (92%) believe that an average organization is vulnerable to some type of cyber-attack or data breach.
  • People and organizational issues contribute to the onslaught of security incidents.
  • Most organizations are feeling the effect of the global cyber security skills shortage.
  • Cyber security professionals have several suggestions to help improve the current situation.
  • 62% believe critical infrastructure is very vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
  • 66% believe government cyber security strategy tends to be “incoherent and incomplete.” [Whoa; that’s a brutal assessment.]
  • 89% of cyber security professionals want more help from their governments.

Yet here’s something else to consider: a separate survey conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the University of Phoenix found that 52% of U.S. adults are willing to overlook cyber security risks for the sake of convenience.

And that poll also found that while most respondents (60%) using unsecure, open Wi-Fi networks don’t trust them with the security of their data, to them, the convenience of using the unsecured network outweighed any potential risk.

That survey – based on a poll of 2,235 U.S. adults aged 18 and older who use a mobile device on a network other than in their own home or at a workplace – also dug up some other interesting trends, especially in terms of just how “digitized” our daily lives are becoming:

  • 80% of respondents reported they connect to public Wi-Fi networks at least once a week.
  • 61% of respondents indicated they use internet devices, such as cell phones, laptops or tablets, on public networks daily.
  • 39% of respondents state they trust public Wi-Fi.
  • 26% of respondents state they strongly agree that there is no real difference between secured and unsecured networks.

“Despite the fact that public networks are vulnerable to security breaches and hacking, the data from our survey suggests people have fairly comfortable attitudes toward using them—perhaps a little too comfortable,” stressed Kirsten Hoyt, academic dean at the University of Phoenix College of Information Systems and Technology.

Just goes to show that the need for digital defenses is only going to grow for individual Americans, trucking companies, and the U.S. business community as a whole.


And on that note – gloomy though it may be – let me wish you a “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year.” I look forward to reconnecting in this space when 2017 takes the stage.

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