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Kicking the SaaS of cybercriminals in trucking and logistics

Cybercriminals are opportunists who prey on distraction. A global health pandemic, civil unrest, severe weather events, supply chain problems and other distractions have filled their hunting fields with easy targets during the past 18 months.

According to the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime report, the number of cyberattacks fielded by the agency last year increased by 69% over 2019. This pales in comparison to a May 2021 estimate from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that ransomware attacks increased threefold during the past year.

Motor carriers and freight brokers have not traditionally invested in IT security. Their budgets have focused more on big-ticket items like trucks and trailers. Cyber criminals know this and see transportation and logistics as a soft target in comparison to other large industries like banking and healthcare.

Cybercriminals also know how dependent transportation companies are on technology to do everything from receiving customer orders to dispatching trucks, tracking shipments, and paying drivers. For all of these reasons, transportation management systems (TMS) are a prized target.

Simple IT solutions aren’t secure

Securing outdated TMS systems that operate with a traditional client-server model can be a significant expense and challenge for most trucking and logistics firms.

The client-server model, especially those where a trucking or logistics company is hosting and maintaining its own servers and software on-premises, requires ongoing investment to secure. Knowing where to make additional IT security investments and how to manage these systems is not easy.

Increasingly, cybercriminals are tapping into the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to exploit system vulnerabilities on a massive scale. Simple IT security solutions are no longer adequate.

The most vulnerable systems to cyberattacks are often back-office applications, like a TMS, that are exposed on the perimeter of a computer network. For example, a manager or executive of a trucking company might inadvertently expose its client-server TMS when using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to connect to an internal server from home.

A hacker could exploit the RDP connection and gain access to a company’s entire network, including the TMS system. When inside the network, a hacker could download malware or encrypt data in the TMS for ransom.

By the time someone detects an intrusion it is already too late. On average, it takes transportation companies 192 days to detect a breach and another 60 days to contain it, according to research by IBM.

A data breach will likely involve system outages, especially if ransomware is involved. Downtime is critical for TMS applications and will often result in lost revenue when the disabled functions are core to meeting basic customer needs. The costs will be painful and long-lasting. A 2020 report by IBM estimated the average cost of a data breach event at $8.6 million.

Turning on the SaaS advantage

The challenges of managing security in client-server TMS systems are growing. Even small companies will need to spend thousands per month for advanced threat detection software and professional services.

The complexity of managing the security of third-party integrations with client-server TMS systems compounds the problem. Each connection may require additional security measures and tools to detect threats and prevent intrusions.

At any moment, another new “zero day” threat can emerge that requires immediate action to prevent the spread and bring down critical business systems connected to client-server systems.

Cybersecurity is one of many reasons trucking and logistics companies of all sizes are migrating from client-server TMS to enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms.

The data security advantages of SaaS-based TMS are derived from these systems being hosted by companies that have enormous scale and sophistication. The top cloud-based providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. 

Cloud platforms from these two run circles around the IT security measures that trucking and logistics can put in place, on their own, to protect on-premises data centers.

The infrastructure AWS and Azure have built and manage can meet the needs of the largest, most security-sensitive businesses. The same infrastructure also supports transportation companies.

Magnus Technologies uses AWS for its enterprise SaaS-based TMS platform, which is affordable and scalable to fleets of all sizes. This setup gives trucking and logistics clients a resilient, high-security TMS infrastructure with zero capital outlay and overhead.

Magnus sets up every TMS customer in AWS with their own instance. This eliminates any possibility that a data breach at one company will propagate and impact other customers. The AWS platform also has world-class redundancy that ensures all your data will be immediately available in the unlikely event of a system outage.

To learn more about the security advantages of using the Magnus enterprise SaaS platform, and how trucking and logistics companies can benefit from using the modern, scalable TMS, please contact us today at: (877) 381-4632 or [email protected]

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