From manufacturing to field services, rugged devices are workhorses. Water, dust and temperature swings are no match for these tough mobile devices with robust outer shells. They thrive in any weather and, as a result, inspire confidence across logistics.
The problem lies beneath the exterior. Unfortunately, legacy operating systems, unpatched updates and remote settings configurations can create device management issues. This is especially dangerous in today’s remote context of hacker threats and ransomware.
The reality is that rugged devices are only as strong as their weakest internal link. They are complex amalgamations of hardware and software, each reliant on the other for optimal performance. Achieving harmony between these elements can be a difficult task.
Unlike traditional devices that often belong to a homogeneous ecosystem, rugged devices span multiple industries, each with its specific requirements. This fragmentation results in devices with varying operating systems, hardware configurations, and software needs.
Without remedy, these devices can be easy targets. Consider that increasing connectivity to networks and cloud services — especially with preexisting cybersecurity issues — presents greater potential entry points for malicious actors. Balancing the need for connectivity with stringent security measures is an ongoing challenge, requiring innovative encryption methods, secure authentication protocols and regular security audits.
Further, rugged devices are often deployed in remote or harsh environments, thereby upping the degree of difficulty in providing maintenance and updates. The ability to remotely diagnose, update, and troubleshoot these devices is crucial to minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity.
The good news is that logistics companies and device managers can take measures to protect themselves. An effective strategy starts with lifecycle management from acquisition and distribution to servicing and retirement. This requires regular device health assessments, firmware updates and proactive maintenance schedules to extend the longevity of rugged devices. Additionally, predictive analytics helps improve decision-making by spotting emerging issues before they become problematic.
It’s worth considering a platform that unites endpoints across a single console. For example, unified endpoint management (UEM) applications can help organizations deploy and manage various types of rugged devices, irrespective of their differences, through a streamlined and consistent management approach. This not only reduces complexity but enhances productivity, by minimizing the time and effort required to manage individual devices separately.
Meanwhile, additional tools are needed to diagnose issues from afar. Remote monitoring and management (RMM) systems recognize device problems, push updates and troubleshoot at a distance. Alternatively, employing an endpoint management tool with RMM capabilities saves admins the hassle of navigating multiple applications.
Finally, bolster devices with a security-centric approach. This includes multi-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption and constant watch for anomalies. Likewise, to swiftly discover and resolve vulnerabilities, enact routine security inspections and penetration tests. The key is to weave security precautions and oversight into the fabric of rugged devices. Then, the inside will match the outside.
The paradox of rugged devices serves as a reminder that appearances can be deceiving. As they continue to play pivotal roles in industries where resilience is non-negotiable, their management requires a paradigm shift.
Keep in mind that strong cybersecurity isn’t just nice to have; it can protect logistics operators from costly hacks. Last year, for example, Expeditors International of Washington fell victim to a ransomware attack that shut down operations for three weeks. Eighteen months later, the Seattle corporation is still dealing with the fallout, battling a longtime customer in court over lost business.
The danger is real and the stakes are high. It’s now up to companies to best protect their rugged endpoints. Recognize the dual nature of these devices, and implement strategies that safeguard their delicate internals. Ensure \longevity and efficiency by embracing comprehensive lifecycle management, harnessing the power of modern systems, and prioritizing security by design.
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