- Posted by Ally Roos
- On 01/07/2019
Field service management (FSM) software is a game changer for trades businesses. It streamlines many processes that once required a lot of tedious data entry, including scheduling, dispatching, billing, and invoicing. The software also stores customer information, enabling tradies to focus more on carrying out field activities and delivering high-quality service.
For all its benefits, however, utilising certain FSM systems may expose your trade to a host of cybersecurity risks.
Understanding FSM software threats
Most field service data resides on servers behind corporate firewalls and security systems, but the devices that access the data don’t have such protections. Mobile devices that tradies bring to the job site are vulnerable to attacks, especially if they’re connected to unsecured Wi-Fi networks. That’s because hackers can hop onto these networks to intercept data that may be transmitted from the FSM software. In other words, tradies may inadvertently leak confidential financial or personal information just by using their FSM app in a public area.
What’s more, mobile devices can easily be lost or stolen. If the FSM software isn’t secured properly, hackers can infiltrate company networks through a breached user account. Lesser-quality FSM apps also lack robust access controls and threat prevention systems to safeguard data.
How to determine if software is secure
To keep your trade safe, you must be able to discern a fully secure FSM software from a subpar one. There are several areas you should pay close attention to.
1. Authentication methods
Hackers are more likely to infiltrate systems through vulnerable accounts, which is why you need software with strong user authentication. Most cloud-based apps set minimum password lengths and character requirements to encourage tradies to create passwords that are harder to crack. However, this alone doesn’t demonstrate the software is secure.
The best FSM systems are often equipped with multifactor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on features. The former requires users to provide another form of identity verification that’s not so easy to steal like a fingerprint scan or a temporary SMS code. Single sign-on features, on the other hand, eliminate the headaches and risks associated with managing multiple passwords across platforms.
2. Access controls
Access controls are another vital component of a strong FSM system. The app should allow you to grant users the least amount of access privileges necessary to do their jobs. It must also make it easy to decommission accounts of former employees. This prevents unauthorised users from accessing (and compromising) sensitive information such as credit card details and proprietary records.
When choosing FSM software, inspect its encryption capabilities. Ideally, data in transit should be encrypted via Transport Layer Security (TLS), an encryption protocol that secures the connection between web servers and apps. This prevents hackers from reading any packet of data they manage to intercept.
As for data in storage, make sure the software comes with 256-bit encryption. Such encryption standards offer more robust protection than lower-quality software, and theoretically require over 50 supercomputers to crack.
A good indicator of a secure FSM software is how it’s patched. If available, ask to see the software’s bug tracking systems and patch release notes to see how quickly security issues are addressed. The most secure software usually releases regular updates to defend against the latest threats.
5. Secure data centres
Top-notch FSM software should be keeping your files in data centres managed by a team of support engineers around the clock. Other crucial elements to look for include advanced threat prevention (ATP) software and regularly scheduled backups to minimise the risk of data loss.
Protecting your trade
Even if you’re certain you have a fortified FSM software, you need to take extra precautions to protect field service data. This involves doing the following:
- Install mobile device management (MDM) software so you can monitor and update company-registered devices from a centralised console. The app also lets you remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices to mitigate data breaches.
- Implement a virtual private network (VPN) to create a secure connection between devices and the internet, preventing hackers from intercepting sensitive data.
- Limit access privileges, especially when tradies are in the field.
- Secure devices with the latest firewalls, and anti-malware software
- Train tradies to develop good security habits and never leave their devices unattended in public.
Taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity and using cutting-edge tools can go a long way in reducing your trade’s exposure to attacks. If you’re looking for a reliable and secure FSM app, WorkBuddy is the solution. It comes with powerful encryption, access controls, advanced threat prevention, and more. Request a demo today to learn more.