Digital asset tracking is growing by leaps and bounds as more companies in the construction, oil and gas and other industrial industries learn about the business management benefits of this powerful technology. These days, management in most industrial companies has a basic understanding of what asset tracking technology is and what it can do. Yet, many companies that could (and should) be using asset tracking are still in the dark when it comes to understanding how asset tracking works and what kind of return on investment the technology produces. When companies interested in learning about our asset tracking system contact Tenna for the first time, we hear the following questions more than any others.
General Asset Tracking
How does digital asset tracking work?
Asset tracking uses high-tech tracking devices to monitor the location, status and performance of company assets ranging from large equipment and fleet vehicles to smaller tools and equipment and more. This information is then transmitted to a sophisticated software system, usually cloud-based, that allows managers to easily review and analyze the data to make better asset management decisions. Asset tracking enables companies to get more out of their assets by providing 24/7 visibility into when, where and how the company uses them.
Does digital asset management require buying new software and/or hardware?
In the early days of asset management technology, this was often the case. These days, the answer is a resounding “no.” Today’s sophisticated asset management solutions offer turnkey solutions that include all the hardware and software needed to get the full return on investment from the system. If an asset tracking system can’t do everything you need on one integrated platform that doesn’t require third-party add-ons, look for one that can.
Is it better to have the asset tracking data on our own internal system or in the cloud?
Cloud-based asset tracking, where the vendor hosts and manages the software, offers many advantages over managing the data on your own server system. It reduces IT costs by eliminating the problems associated with owning and operating your own server, which includes everything from installation and ongoing maintenance to troubleshooting, upgrades and system security. Cloud-based solutions also make it easier to share data throughout the company. You don’t have to worry about performing daily backups to prevent loss of data because the vendor does that for you. Most important, working in the cloud is no different than working on a program installed on desktop PCs. Users won’t notice any difference.
How long does it take to install and train people to use an asset tracking system?
That depends. If you decide to host the system on your own hardware, it can take weeks or even months to install an asset tracking system and work out all the bugs. You then have to invest the time to train personnel on the software.
If you take the cloud-based approach there is no software to install. You simply log into the software using the vendor’s secure web portal, take a short training course, and you’re ready to go. At Tenna, our 30-minute training session is usually enough for field and office personnel to learn the basic skills required to use the system.
What’s the typical return on investment?
ROI depends on many different factors, including the size and type of your company as well as the current state of your asset management process. In general, companies typically see quick and significant improvements in two key areas: reductions in operational cost and more efficient asset utilization. From reducing maintenance, labor and equipment replacement costs to bidding for and winning more jobs through improved customer service, asset management software quickly pays for itself while driving more dollars to your bottom line.
Asset Tracking Security
How secure are the devices used to track equipment and vehicles?
Digital asset management offers many features to make your data safe and secure, including the tracking devices themselves. Most asset tracking systems offer the ability to encrypt and password-protect the data on the devices. They also allow you to remotely delete data from laptops, tablets or other mobile devices that get lost or stolen.
At the same time, no technology is 100% safe from determined hackers. For example, technology-savvy criminals can use GPS “signal jammers” to disable GPS tracking devices in order to commit theft. However, using encryption and password protection features will provide a high level of data security with most asset trackers.
How secure is the software that stores the data?
That depends on the security systems and procedures employed by your service provider. At Tenna, we use a variety of security procedures to protect your data. For example, we host your data on Amazon Web Services, while utilizing HTTPS-level browser protection and hashed passwords for all users. We protect our back-end database with secure passwords and very limited access. We perform daily back-ups of all data, employ virus scanning on all laptops used at Tenna, and lock down all access to Tenna through our firewall. As a result of these and other security measures, we are A+ rated by QUALYS SSL LABS, which verifies proper use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol.
Note: for you IT folks who want the details non-techies don’t understand, we’ll be posting a blog soon that covers our security measures in more depth.
Is my data safer stored on my own servers or in the cloud?
Storing your asset tracking data in the cloud tends to be safer for several reasons. Because asset management vendors specialize in developing and managing software, they have more IT resources and expertise than most companies. They use the latest data security techniques to protect their systems against hackers, and they use multiple servers to ensure your data is properly backed up. Unless you have a sophisticated IT team that has the discipline to take the proper steps to prevent data breaches and back up the data every day, you’re better off going with the cloud.
What is the biggest security mistake companies make when tracking assets?
Failure to follow basic Internet security protocols. These include having secure passwords, changing those passwords on a regular basis, encrypting and backing up the data, and limiting access to your most sensitive data. Every company should have written data security procedures and make sure they are followed without exception.
What should I do to improve the security of my asset tracking system?
Take a disciplined approach to IoT security. Stay up to date on data security best practices. Constantly communicate with employees about the importance of data security and how to protect it. For example, never share user passwords, even among fellow employees. Make it a policy to change passwords on a regular basis. Remove former employees from the system as soon as they leave the company so they no longer have access.
At Tenna, we protect the safety and integrity of our customers’ data as rigorously as we protect our own. Use our system correctly, employ good cybersecurity procedures, and at the end of the day you can have confidence in knowing that your data is as safe and secure as today’s technology can make it.