Peace of Mind (Part 2) – Understanding Cloud Technology

In part one of this discussion on data protection and technology we looked at some of the ways that you can protect your personal data while browsing the internet and shopping online. This part looks at the shift to cloud technology and protecting data stored in the cloud or on in house servers.

What is Cloud Technology?

Cloud technology has been around for many years now, but the levels of trust in the security of the system and understanding of cloud-based technology varies from person to person and company to company. 

Cloud-based software, simply put, is software that is stored on servers owned or leased by the software provider. The servers are typically held within secure and climate controlled third-party data centres, and all you need to access the software is an internet connection and th
e software provider takes care of the rest. You typically pay a subscription fee for the software and access it much the same way that you would access a website.

In House Servers

Until relatively recently, businesses that use software packages and share files and folders across their business network would have needed an in house server and a network of workstations with unique addresses. If set up correctly, a workplace network is a simple way of sharing data among employees and does not require an internet connection to operate.

With increased technology (and access to an internet connection or mobile data network) Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Remote Desktop Connections enabled companies to share a single network with multiple physical locations, both nationally and internationally.

Hosted Servers

Server hosting is a bit of mix of the above, and is a service offered by network providers who run all the software that you would ordinarily house on your internal server on a remote server that they either own themselves or lease. You may have a server dedicated to your company, or you may share a partition of one with someone else. You typically rent/lease an amount of data storage space, same as you would rent/lease office space.

As with cloud-based software, you need your own personal computer, laptop or tablet and a reliable internet connection to access the hosted server. 

Which is Better for my Business?

For many people there is something comforting about having a large server ticking away within a data room on your own premises. You know that your data is sitting in your own building, you are in control of its fate – good and bad, and you are not dependent on a third party provider and the internet speed and stability in order to get your daily work done. But, and this is an important but, you need to protect your hardware, software and data; many companies are at risk of losing its data through inappropriate backup schedules, insufficient hardware maintenance, power surges, viruses, spyware, hacking and a host of other factors. 

Although high-end in house servers can be extremely expensive, and the cost of maintaining them can be high, if you are in an area where you do not have fast and reliable internet this might be your only option. Even if you do have good internet, your own server can be a more cost-effective solution for small businesses, and a lower spec server or a powerful PC might suit all your needs. 

Solid state drives offer faster, smaller and longer lasting computers, which may be an option for your in-house server, but these advantages come with a trade-off. Larger capacity solid state drives are expensive, especially for the better brands, which means that storing large amounts of data locally can be very expensive, and increasing your data storage capacity can be complicated.

Cloud-based systems (including hosted servers) easily allow for multiple users to access your important data in real time, from any device, increasing productivity, access to information and user independence. This 
reduces business risk and ensures a level of flexibility that on-premises equipment simply can’t offer. You would typically have a known cost per month to access the system and extra storage/users can be added as and when it is needed.

Providers of cloud services are responsible for a broad set of policies, technologies, applications and controls in order to protect the internet portals you access your data through as a client. They are responsible for ensuring the compatibility of the applications and services they provide with the browsers through which you access them. They are also responsible for the security of your information and take care of hardware maintenance, data backups and related services for you.

Although there are many pros and cons of each type of system, and an initial assessment may suggest that the on-premise solution is cheaper, if all factors are considered, cloud-based technology offers much greater value and flexibility.  

A Common Sense Approach

Regardless of what you decide, you still need to have systems in place to prevent data breaches and potential losses. In part one of this series, we discussed how poor password security is responsible for over 80% of data breaches, but leaving computers unlocked, having inadequate virus and spyware protection and sharing your login details with other people can lead to big problems. 

Even though you might have the latest and the best virus and spyware protection installed, the software you have is always one step behind the bad guys. To put it another way, the antivirus needs the virus to exist in the first place for it to be needed, so never ‘assume’ that you are protected from the suspicious email you are about to open.  

How does TigerFleet Store and Protect your Data?

TigerFleet’s main database is hosted on Microsoft Azure servers. Microsoft Azure has the largest global network, servicing 55 regions and 140 countries around the world. Each region is a set of data centres that are interconnected via a massive and resilient network. The network includes content distribution, load balancing, redundancy, and encryption by default.

Azure regions are organized into geographies, and each geography ensures that data residency, sovereignty, compliance, and resiliency requirements are honoured within geographical boundaries. Geographies are fault-tolerant to withstand complete region failure, through their connection to the dedicated, high-capacity networking infrastructure.

Microsoft’s datacenters comply with key industry standards, such as ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and NIST SP 800-53, for security and reliability, and are managed, monitored, and administered by Microsoft operations staff. The operations staff has years of experience in delivering the world’s largest online services with 24 x 7 continuity.

TigerFleet ensures that data stored with Azure is encrypted in accordance with their standards and maintains control of the keys that are used by its cloud applications to encrypt data. Encryption of data in storage and in transit is deployed by TigerFleet as a best practice for ensuring confidentiality and integrity of data. TigerFleet uses SSL to protect communications from the internet and even between their Azure-hosted VMs.

TigerFleet has opted for Geo-redundant storage (GRS) with Azure. GRS maintains six copies of your data. With GRS, our/your data is replicated three times within the primary region. The data is also replicated three times in a secondary region hundreds of miles away from the primary region, providing the highest level of durability. In the event of a failure at the primary region, Azure Storage fails over to the secondary region. GRS helps ensure that data is durable in two separate regions.

If a customer closes their account, they can request to have all of their data destroyed immediately. If this is not requested, their data is retained by TigerFleet for 12 months, which allows the client to export all of their data to Excel if they wish to use it elsewhere (e.g. upload to a new provider). At the end of this period, however, the data is destroyed.

Why Microsoft Azure?

Access to customer data by Microsoft operations and support personnel is denied by default. When access to customer data is granted, leadership approval is required and then access is carefully managed and logged. The access-control requirements are established by the following Azure Security Policy:

Azure provides customers with strong data security, both by default and as customer options. Azure is a multi-tenant service, which means that multiple customer deployments and VMs are stored on the same physical hardware. Azure uses logical isolation to segregate each customer’s data from the data of others. Segregation provides the scale and economic benefits of multi-tenant services while rigorously preventing customers from accessing one another’s data.

Microsoft helps ensure that data is protected if there is a cyberattack or physical damage to a datacenter. This includes in-country/in-region storage for compliance or latency considerations, and out-of-country/out-of-region storage for security or disaster recovery purposes.

When customers delete data or leave Azure, Microsoft follows strict standards for overwriting storage resources before their reuse, as well as the physical destruction of decommissioned hardware. Microsoft executes a complete deletion of data on customer request and on contract termination.

Peace of Mind (Part 1) – Protect Yourself and Your Data

Our personal data is everywhere, and we can no longer afford to be blasé about our data security – if we are not taking proactive measures to prevent the use of our personal information, we are opening ourselves up to all kinds of problems.

Data breaches are inevitable, and the bad guys keep coming up with new ways to steal your personal information. If you want to protect yourself in this dangerous digital world, you need to take a proactive approach, and that means building security into everything you do online. Here are some tips you can use to protect yourself and your data in this age of data breaches.

HTTPS and SSL

Hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, which is the primary protocol used to send data between a web browser and a website. The extra “s” means your connection to that website is secure and encrypted; data you enter is safely shared with that website. This technology is called Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and this security is particularly important when users transmit sensitive data, such as by logging into a bank account, email service, or health insurance provider.

Any website, especially those that require login credentials, should use HTTPS. In modern web browsers, such as Chrome, websites that do not use HTTPS are marked differently than those that are. Look for a padlock in the URL bar to signify the web page is secure or look for warnings like the one below that alert you to the ones that are not.

Designate an Online Shopping Card

Shopping online is convenient, but it is important to stay safe. With so much credit card data being stolen, it has never been more important to be proactive about protecting yourself and your money. In addition to shopping only on sites that display the HTTPS/SSL padlock notification, you can also designate a single card for all your online shopping. Use that credit card whenever you shop online, then check your statements carefully for signs of fraud and unauthorized use.

Avoid Saving Your Credit Card Data at Shopping Sites

It may be convenient to save your payment information, but it is also risky. Avoid the temptation to save your credit card information and instead take the time to enter it each time you shop. This proactive measure will prevent your credit card information from being revealed in the next data breach, and may also reduce the impulse purchases that we are all guilty of.

Run Updates Regularly

One of the ways that hackers try to breach your computer’s firewall is through weak or outdated code. Most software providers release updates to their products but, when the program is running locally on your computer or server, it is up to the user or company IT department to run these updates.

Some updates are programmed to run in the background, such as those related to your computer’s operating software, while other programs are scheduled to check for updates on start up. In order for these updates to be installed or users to be notified that they are available, the computer needs to be restarted on a regular basis.

Indeed, restarting computers and other electronic devices, such as phones and tablets, is needed to ensure that programs run smoothly, so it is a good daily habit to get into.

Use Strong Security on All Your Devices

Your online security is only as strong as your weakest link, so make sure all your devices are well protected. From your tablet to your smartphone to your laptop, make sure you have strong antivirus and malware protection on every device you use.

Implementing strong security and keeping it updated is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from the next data breach. Think of your online security as a chain, one that requires the robust participation of every link along the way.

Use a Trusted Password Manager Tool

A password manager is a tool that does the work of creating, remembering and filling in passwords – we use LastPass. Simply log into an online account for the first time and the password manager will store your username and password so every time you go back your credentials will be filled in automatically.

81% of breaches are caused by weak or reused passwords, so it is essential that each account you have has it’s own unique password. So how are you supposed to remember these strong, unique passwords? You can’t. But a password manager can.


In the next part of this discussion on Data Protection, we will look at Cloud Technology v Onsite Servers and outline what TigerFleet does to ensure your data is safe.

Notes Screen Searchable

Did you know that the notes you make in the TigerFleet Management Vehicle’s and Employee’s Notes screens are now searchable? 
 
We thought that this would be a great place to store all of the information that just doesn’t have anywhere else to be entered, but you would still like to be able to find easily. 

Just to get your ideas rolling, we think that notes would be the ideal place to store the past registration details of a vehicle or the Serial No./Asset Code of a piece of equipment given to an employee. Instead of looking through all of the screens, you can now search the details up straight in the main Vehicles or Employees screen quickly and easily.

2020 Vision

Wow! January is already over – only 11 months left in 2020, so we had better get cracking! 

Before we do though, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the turbulent times that Australia has faced since the end of 2019. 

We have seen terrible bushfires and biodiversity losses in Australia, huge hailstorms lash pockets of the east and flooding in some other areas, and with more flooding forecast for parts of Qld and NSW in coming days. Our thoughts are with those that have suffered hardship as a result of these disasters. 

The Coronavirus outbreak in China is of global concern. It has spread to several countries already and has caused severe illness and death to some of the many who have been infected. A global health emergency is in place and we hope that the spread of the virus is controlled quickly and that a vaccine is available very soon.

A Quick Look Back at 2019 (and Beyond)

We have accomplished so much in our (almost) 20 years to date, with 2019 being our biggest year on record. We saw so many changes to TigerFleet, with the addition of our TigerFleet Tracking module, our new shared offices at UOW Innovation Campus and 30 new features added to our popular and reliable TigerFleet Management software.

We upgraded our website to make it more informative, added a News page so that we can share industry information and product updates (we also share these on our social media pages) and created a Downloads page for people to access templates and other materials and use for FREE.

TigerFleet also created a YouTube channel, which is a great place for our existing clients to find out all the little tips and tricks you may not be aware of that make using our software even easier, for new customers to get familiar with the software and for prospective clients to get an in depth look at many of the screens to help them decide whether TigerFleet is the right solution for their needs. We have twenty videos uploaded and will be introducing our followers on social media to these and new ones that arrive over the coming weeks.

Most importantly, we updated all of our source code to keep our software operating smoothly with the changes that Microsoft and Google have implemented to the web browsers. We are committed to keeping TigerFleet a secure, reliable and responsive cloud-based software resource.

We’ve Hit the Ground Running

January has already seen the release of our Defects management functionality in the TigerFleet Management module and the linking of TigerFleet Tracking vehicle odometer data to the TigerFleet Management Vehicle Odometer screen.

What Else is Planned for 2020?

We have many new items on our planning board. Just a few of these exciting new features are:

  • Extra servicing schedules and the increased ability to tailor your service schedules
  • NHVAS Mass Management Accreditation audit and data logging screens.
  • Integration of the Automated Driving Hour monitoring and Electronic Work Diary functionality in TigerFleet Tracking with TigerFleet Management.
  • Automated fault reporting.
  • Workplace Health and Safety management audits, compliance, management, JSA/WMS and reminders.
  • Xero Accounting API Integration
  • Bulk Import of Vehicle and Employee data for new users via csv

In Closing

We thank you all for your wonderful support since we first opened our doors in 2000 and are proud to have some of the customers from back then still with us today. We hope that these and our other wonderful relationships carry on well into the future. 2020 is set to be bigger than ever, with so many more things in development and our exciting new addition to our tracking platform.

Watch this space …!

Trailer Tracking That Works

Transform Data From Your Fleet Of Trailers Into Valuable Information To Help Your Company Make And Save Money

Complete Visibility Into Real-Time Operations

Designed specifically for trailers, our Wireless Links trailer tracking devices report in real-time when connected to cabin and automatically switches to asset tracking mode once trailer is disconnected from the cabin, providing comprehensive visibility for trailers parked at job sites waiting to be unloaded and reloaded.

One Click Inventory Reports

Automate inventory tracking, tracking utilization and improve yard operations using accurate reports and real-time data.

Rapidly Respond To Trailer Theft

Set a geofence boundary radius and get alerts upon exit/entrance of boundary and on sudden vibrations, enabling you to rapidly respond to equipment malfunctions and other critical conditions that could jeopardize your trailers and valuable shipments.

Decrease Customer Inquiries

Provide accurate ETAs with live location sharing and decrease customer inquiries about shipment arrival times

Refrigerated Trailer Temperature Monitoring

For refrigerated trailers, track & monitor in real-time the location and temperature as well as alerts on temperature deviations.

We can offer multiple options:

Hybrid+ Trailer Tracking

Operates as a real-time GPS tracker when tethered to power (to the truck) and as an asset tracker with a long battery life once trailers are detached and parked for long periods of time.

Solar Powered

  • Up to 10,000 GPS positions / 10 years off a single charge
  • Removes maintenance needs
  • Provides security and peace of mind that unpowered assets are safe and where they should be.

Battery Powered

  • An asset tracking device
  • Operates for up to 5 years, up to 3000 GPS positions, on two standard off the shelf Type C High Current lithium batteries
  • Simplifies service & reduces maintenance cost.

RFTags With Fleet Management ​

  • A cost effective solution for inventory control
  • The RFTag is a wireless, waterproof Active RFID tag with temperature sensors.
  • Ideal for trailers or assets left at public (construction) sites or leased out for several months at a time
  • Provides visibility to the last known location of your assets.