Field Service Matters

By Field Service Matters

September 12, 2017

Follow

Wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR) are already modernizing field service and promise to change it in ways we have yet to imagine. But as is true with every type of technology, these latest innovations introduce new threat conduits and security risks. Here is what field service organizations need to understand about the possible ramifications and what they can do to shore up their defenses.

More Doors Open to Hackers

The increase in connected devices and growing volume of data being collected and transferred via a largely cloud-based IT footprint, paves the way for even more vulnerabilities. Simply put, hackers and cyber criminals now have access to more entry points to data centers and infrastructure than ever before. Plus, because IoT relies on thousands and even millions of distributed devices and sensors, an exposed vulnerability in one can affect thousands or millions of other connected devices.

Whether they are seeking to wreak havoc on critical infrastructure and toy with businesses for political, monetary, or egotistical purposes, those with malicious intent can do so more readily. In fact, of the more than 5,000 enterprises surveyed as part of AT&T’s Cybersecurity Insights Report, only 10% feel confident that they could secure IoT devices against hackers.

Plus, all the data being generated by all these connected devices can be exposed if not properly protected. That means sensitive customer information and proprietary business data could be accessed by those other than authorized users. Such access could be exploited for nefarious purposes.

How Hackers Can Impact Field Service

In 2016, a cyber attack took down a power grid in Ukraine. Now consider the potential damage if a hacker intercepted the communications channel relaying instructions to a technician wearing AR goggles to perform a repair on critical infrastructure. The hacker could change the instructions to misguide the repair, leaving a water main or electric grid exposed in a way that leads to widespread service malfunction, interruption, or worse.

Imagine an autonomous vehicle being hacked and sent to a location where it could be hijacked. Or picture a fleet technician driving a vehicle with an AR-enabled windshield. The hacker could access and manipulate the data feed to the windshield so that the instructions completely obscure the technician’s field of vision, causing a crash. A similar scenario could happen to a technician wearing AR googles while making a repair in dangerous conditions. Essentially, hackers can use these next-generation technologies to perpetuate attacks that impact a technician’s physical space.

Follow IT Security Best Practices

While the types of attacks may be new, the IT security essentials remain the same when it comes to shoring up infrastructure and protecting data. To that end, field service organizations should embrace a defense in depth approach complemented by new policies and controls to manage wearables and connected devices.

  • Practice defense in depth. This IT security strategy has been dubbed by telecommunications security professionals, “a layered approach” because it addresses each layer of a company’s network. At its simplest, it’s about securing devices, applications on devices, and the connections between devices and the network. This includes being able to monitor for, detect, and remediate different types of attacks and malware.
  • Isolate devices from the network. Whenever possible, field service organizations should isolate wearables and IoT devices to limit network impact should one become compromised.
  • Encrypt data. By encrypting data at rest and in transit, field service organizations make it harder to be read by hackers.
  • Create WYOD policies. According to a report by IDC Research, security for wearables will become a “top five” issue for CIOs by the end of 2017. Yet only 8% of companies will have developed a Wear Your Own Device (WYOD) policy. Just as companies have developed Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) security policies and procedures related to personal devices, they should put in place new controls and processes to manage wearables and connected devices.
  • Educate employees. Field service technicians, engineers and dispatchers could unknowingly create a security vulnerability (such as leaving a wearable containing valuable information unattended). By educating their employees on potential security risks, field service organizations reduce the likelihood of experiencing a threat due to the unknowing actions of an employee with good intentions.
  • Prepare for security breaches. Even the most highly funded and resource-intensive security measures cannot prevent all security attacks. After all, new threat vectors and vulnerabilities are continually being discovered and exploited. Smart organizations prepare for the worst by devising a plan of action if a breach would occur.

Keep your field service organization one step ahead of trends and threats by subscribing to Field Service Matters.

tags:
Field Service Matters
By Field Service Matters

Field Service Matters is the leading professional community focused on digital experience strategies, the evolution of the digital workplace and intelligent information management. Founded in 2016, Field Service Matters is a popular native digital publication catering to a global readership of business leaders and sophisticated practitioners that are crafting the digital strategies for the modern enterprise.

Share on
Adventures in Artificial Intelligence Part 5: Personalization on The Horizon

Wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR) are already modernizing field service and promise to change it in ways we have yet to imagine. But as is true with every type of technology, these latest innovations introduce new thr...

Learn more

Join Our Newsletter

You may also like...

ClickSoftware Enables Predictive Field Service, Increases Intelligence of Cloud-Based Field Service Management

Latest release leverages machine learning and offers analytics to drive deeper insights for service ...

Learn more
6 Ways to Start Measuring Customer Experience without NPS

The field service organization is often a customer’s only means of direct interaction with your bu...

Learn more
SGN Selects ClickSoftware to Provide Cloud-Based Mobile Workforce Optimization

ClickSoftware helps company fully mobilize and automate scheduling in emergency response situations...

Learn more
Empower Field Service Decisions with Machine Learning

How many times have your dispatchers spent hours trying to create the perfect schedule only to have ...

Learn more
Decoding the Service Chain: 5 Steps to Achieving Optimization

Service chain optimization begins with careful planning and forecasting, but doesn’t stop there. D...

Learn more
10 Reasons Why FSM is the Real Secret to Santa’s Success 

Do you ever wonder how Santa delivers billions of gifts to children all over the world in a single d...

Learn more
Decoding the Service Chain: Dissecting the Links

In a world full of on-demand services, customer expectations are at an all-time high. Regardless of ...

Learn more
If the Future Is in the Cloud, Why Are Enterprises Still Lagging Behind?

With customer service expectations higher than ever, enterprises delivering field service are faced ...

Learn more
Decoding the Service Chain: What is Service Chain Optimization?

Every customer-centric business is ultimately measured by how it performs on the day of service deli...

Learn more
5 Signs of the Coming Digital Disruption Apocalypse in Field Service Technology

We’ve published many articles on this blog about the future of technology in field service. But th...

Learn more

Stay In The Loop

Receive industry updates of news, advice and analysis

Subscribe to our Newsletter