A Guide to Data Security Management in the Transportation Industry

Data Security
5 min read
James Mignacca
May 3, 2023
James Mignacca
May 3, 2023
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The transportation industry is a critical component of the global economy, and it’s no surprise that cybercriminals are targeting this sector with increasing frequency. From recent ransomware attacks forcing cargo ships offline to increasing risks across freight railways and persistent threats targeting the aviation sector, risk is everywhere.

Transportation companies rely on distributed IT and IoT networks to conduct business and maintain operations, perhaps more than any other industry. Digitization has changed what IT infrastructure looks like across the sector — and radically expanded its overall attack surface.

An attack surface is any point in an organization or system that can be targeted by malicious actors like cybercriminals, hacktivists, or even sponsored nation-state actors. It includes all the different ways attackers can gain access to sensitive data or disrupt operations.

Your organization’s attack surface constantly changes as new technologies and processes are introduced. As the attack surface grows, so does the risk of a successful cyber-attack.

Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in software, hardware, networks, and other systems to gain access to sensitive data or disrupt operations. They may also use social engineering techniques such as phishing emails to trick users into giving up their credentials or downloading malicious files.

An attack surface strategy is a comprehensive approach to data security management that covers your organization’s internal assets (cyber asset attack surface management or CAASM), digital risk for brand protection (digital risk protection services or DRPS) and external attack surface management (EASM) for threats targeting external and internet-facing assets.

To protect against emerging threats like ransomware, DDoS attacks and social engineering, organizations in the transportation industry must take proactive steps to ensure their data security management practices are up-to-date and effective.

Here are five best practices for data security management in the transportation industry:

  1. Implement strong authentication protocols: Organizations should implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) protocols across all systems and devices used by employees, customers and third-party partners accessing sensitive information. MFA requires users to provide two or more pieces of evidence when logging into an account—such as a password plus a one-time code sent via text message—making it much harder for attackers to gain access.  
  1. Monitor user activity: Organizations should monitor user activity closely, including tracking login attempts from suspicious IP addresses or unusual logins outside normal working hours. This can help identify malicious actors attempting to gain unauthorized access before they can do any damage.  
  1. Encrypt data at rest and in transit: Data encryption is essential for protecting sensitive information from being accessed by unauthorized parties during transmission over public networks or while stored on servers or other devices across onsite and remote locations. All data should be encrypted using strong algorithms such as AES 256 bit encryption whenever possible, both at rest and in transit between systems, devices and users.  
  1. Regularly patch software vulnerabilities: Software vulnerabilities can be exploited by attackers if not patched quickly enough after discovery. Regular patching of operating systems, applications and firmware is essential. Automated vulnerability external attack surface scanning tools can help detect potential weaknesses so they can be addressed promptly.  
  1. Educate staff about cybersecurity: Cybersecurity awareness training helps ensure that employees understand how their actions could put your organization at risk (like clicking malicious links within phishing emails), and encourages them to report any suspicious activities they may encounter online. Additionally, organizations should have clear policies regarding acceptable use of company resources which all staff members must adhere too.  

By following these best practices for data security management in the transportation industry, organizations will be better equipped to defend against increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks targeting their operations, and ultimately keep customer information safe while ensuring business continuity remains uninterrupted even under attack conditions.

Securing your company’s attack surface comes down to ensuring you have visibility across all of the sources that connect to your organization, including servers, hardware, applications and cloud services.

CAASM helps teams gain and maintain complete visibility of all digital assets through a single pane of glass. CAASM platforms audit the assets the organization has, and the data they contain. Risk benchmarks help teams focus efforts on the organization’s most valuable and vulnerable assets.

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