Many warehouses are turning to emerging technology to make their various processes – whether it's on the shop floor or behind the scenes – as efficient as possible. And while many of these efforts have been quite effective thanks to warehouse management systems, new options for mobile warehouse inventory management, or even automation, there is some risk involved. Even above and beyond the hurdles integration of these new options may occasionally present, as more devices within a warehouse become connected, executives have to be increasingly mindful of cybersecurity.
The internet of things can be a great tool for logistics companies to use in a variety of ways, but as these devices proliferate both within and outside of the warehousing industry, they may also pose greater risks for companies to deal with, according to Business World Online. For these reasons, perhaps the most important step companies can take when examining their options for IoT-enabled devices is to ensure their underlying technology will not present vulnerabilities for companies' systems.
Get out in front of the problem
Perhaps the simplest way to ensure there are no cybersecurity risks for IoT devices is to make regular updates of their software and operating systems a priority, the report said. Often, there will simply be no way for companies to fully test out these devices before they put them into broad use within their facilities, so it's important for logistics decision-makers to study up on the technical aspects of any equipment they're thinking of implementing, and to develop an overarching security strategy that will ensure their operations remain as protected as possible.
To highlight just how potentially problematic this is, a recent study found that almost half of all companies in the U.S. that now use IoT-enabled devices have been hit with data breaches, according to Altman Vilandrie and Company. Moreover, for smaller companies, the fallout of remediating these breaches can cost an average of as much as 13 percent of their annual revenues.
"While traditional cybersecurity has grabbed the nation's attention, IoT security has been somewhat under the radar, even for some companies that have a lot to lose through a breach," said Stefan Bewley, director of Altman Vilandrie and Company. ""IoT attacks expose companies to the loss of data and services and can render connected devices dangerous to customers, employees and the public at large. The potential vulnerabilities for firms of all sizes will continue to grow as more devices become Internet dependent."
Addressing this issue
While there's no surefire way to remain protected against cybersecurity threats, companies can still do a lot to build their defenses, according to Smart Business. Investing in insurance policies that better meet evolving company needs is a good start, but it's also vital for companies to properly train their employees in the best practices for keeping individual devices and entire networks as protected as possible.
Even something as simple as the ability to spot phishing emails and avoiding potentially malicious websites could go a long way toward helping companies avoid cybersecurity pitfalls as they branch out into the IoT for a more efficient future.