10 Simple IT Security Steps for Small Business

IT Security is Critical

Malware attacks due to lack of IT security have made big news lately. Cybercriminals are a huge concern for all businesses. Unfortunately, small businesses that lack an IT department have a higher risk of exposure to their attacks. Though not as attractive a target as a Fortune 500 company, they may be considered by hackers as a much easier mark. Ultimately, a single attack could wipe out many small businesses.

After taking steps to upgrade our own security procedures, Eron Iler, Fleetistics fearless leader, documented what he learned through the process.  In this video, he shares 10 steps that any company can take to improve their IT security and lower their risk of falling victim to cyber-attack. To learn about cyber crimes visit IGTech365.

Transcript of 10 IT Security Steps
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Hi everybody! Eron here with Fleetistics, and today we’re going to talk about something a little bit different than fleet tracking technology. What we’re going to talk about is technology
that has come to the forefront in the news lately, and it’s really about securing your business. We’re not only interested in your fleet, but we want to see your overall business flourish and in the future we hope to bring you more business related products and services that will just help you grow your business and make it a more profitable business.

So the topic today is actually IT security. There are some things that we have done internally to improve our security
and these are the same types of things that most small to medium businesses should be doing as well.

Now if you’re in a bigger organization you probably have IT staff that is available to take care of these things for you. You
may hear some things that you’re not doing and you may have to ask your IT group as to why you’re not doing certain things, because these are pretty basic you know type security measures that should be implemented.

So the very first one is two-factor authentication, and if there’s anything that’s going to help you avoid getting hacked – and it’s the easiest thing to do – two-factor authentication is it. You can receive an email, an SMS, or you can use the authenticator app to get a code which then allows you to enter that code to
then access sensitive areas of your organization or to sign in to perhaps you know a company resource like SharePoint or something like that. It is a very very simple way of doing

And with all security there’s a trade-off. There’s convenience
versus security, and every time that you add more security you’re going to have a little more inconvenience, so you’ve got to realize that in our world today we are just dealing with
things differently. And now when it comes to malware, spyware you know the encryption technology, things of that nature, those things have very, very real consequences. And you can see from the gas, the gas company who is a major organization which would probably or should have had some of the best IT available, they still got caught. So what are you going to do in your small business? And it is just as easy as clicking on something that looks familiar, not paying attention to the destination URL and then you install something that encrypts your hard drive, right? Or, you know, even worse yet it gets into your network and encrypts your network so something like two-factor authentication is a very easy way to put up an initial barrier to that process.

All right number two is only allow computers that are connected to your network through the company to actually
connect up to your resources. And it is convenient for us to allow people to work from home, and use whatever computer computer they may have already in place. It is also inconvenient for employees to have to use a company computer because they probably already have a workstation set up, however, what you cannot do is rely on that computer and that employee to manage their security the same way that you want to manage your business security. Therefore, if you enable the functionality that only a company computer that is registered through your IT department on your network can actually connect to your company resources, you will avoid the holes that are created by employees who may or may not keep up with IT security. They certainly are not going to have the level of security that you would want to have to protect not only your data in your operation, but your customer information as well. And if you happen to be storing you know credit card information or sensitive data then by law you have requirements like this to protect that information. You know if an organization was to steal all your contact information… you know maybe it’s something they could find online, but if they took that list and turned around and sold it to a competitor (and I don’t know about you, but every day I get prompted via email “hey would you like to buy a list from this organization or this industry?” They can take that information and make it available to your competitors and then start calling on your customers. Right? So it may seem mundane for certain types of information but they can do a lot of things with data
that you and I don’t even think about.

So another step is to control what IP addresses can connect to your network. And even if someone’s working from home you can simply type in “what is my IP” you can get their IP address and you can share that with your IT department. The IT department can then configure the firewall to only allow certain IPs to connect. The firewalls have a lot of advanced functionality and you could actually do additional things like only allowing connections during certain times of the day.

So we know that a lot of hacking takes place coming out of
Russia and China and their hours of operation are typically not going to be our normal business hours. By blocking you know network connectivity outside of working hours, you’re going to
remove a huge chunk of opportunity for people in these other countries to hack into your network. Hackers don’t want to go where it’s hard to do things, they want to go where it’s easy. They may probe a lot around different companies and networks looking for these little gaps and then when they
find then they exploit it. If they can’t even touch yours because you’re, you have IP restrictions either by individual IP and or IP and by day and time, then you’ve created a hard surface or a
hard security scenario that they aren’t going to want to waste
time trying to figure out. If they can’t hack it then they can just move on to your neighbor or your competitor who hasn’t
done anything, and they will easily be able to continue on with

The next thing is the implementation of Intune. Intune is a Microsoft product and it allows you to protect your data
on mobile devices, laptops, even PCs, but you know a lot of people connect phones, and I do the same thing, I connect my mobile phone to my work. I connect up SharePoint, OneDrive, email, OneNote… All of those things are on my phone, and what happens if my phone gets stolen, right? I’ve now created a pipe from my phone straight into my business. And because authentication has already taken place, if somehow they can get into my phone then they’re going to have that direct
access well. With Intune, it’s an app that installs on these devices, and if you know the the phone gets stolen, or a laptop
gets stolen like we had. In our case we actually had an installer who had a laptop stolen out of the vehicle, and at that time we had remote monitoring software on the laptop and we
were actually able to log into the laptop and we could see the user was, you see their emails and we could see that they were in Africa, it was West Africa somewhere… in the, I think it’s called the Cape Horn area, and we could see what they
were actually typing and things like that, so we sent a little message and consequently we never heard from them
again after that. But Intune allows you to go in and
compartmentalize your company information and lock it down
and uh you know if something gets stolen you can reach out to that device and you can lock that information and delete it off of the device completely. And it’s only affecting business related information and there’s no spyware involved, so your employees don’t have to worry about that. But, you know if something happens you can grab that data and you can delete it off that device and know that your information is protected.

If you need assistance or are interested in Microsoft 365 or Intune, I would recommend checking out IGTech365.com, which we’ll post in the show notes. IGTech365 is an IT company. They handle our IT and they can handle your IT as well. Even if you have the Microsoft Office 365 package today or Business Suite today, they can become your partner of record and it doesn’t change your price or anything else. And once they become your partner of record, then they will actually also provide support that goes along with that. So if you have a question or a problem then you don’t have to call Microsoft. You call IGTech365. They’ll handle it and get on the phone with Microsoft or help you through that. It’s a full service it company, so you can check with them and see what other services they offer as well, from Microsoft Teams as a voice over IP system, which we also use internally – which is great, to the full office 365 Suite.

The next thing is to scan network connections for sensitive
information patterns such as credit cards and social security numbers. That’s a little bit more complicated and a little bit more advanced. Most small businesses aren’t going to do
that, especially if you don’t maintain that type of information, but there are programs that you can put on computers that will scan traffic in and out, and look for patterns of information i.e a social security card number or a credit card number. And when it recognizes that 16 digit number then it flags it and sends that information to Management, so they can look at it and make a determination as to whether or not that’s something that should or should not be happening.

Monitoring you know computer activity is another one. Whether you’re looking at detailed information or just looking at activity. If you see a computer as active during off hours, then maybe somebody is taking control of that computer when you know that employee is not going to be working. So if you saw activity at three o’clock in the morning, and you know it’s a it’s an administrative position that would never have a need to work at that time frame, then you can pick up on that and go in and take a look and see what’s going on.

Something as simple as locking your screen, and you may not know this but if you hold down the windows key and hit the L key at the same time, it’ll actually lock your computer, which is a very easy habit to get into when you’re walking away from your computer. Even in your house, you know you have people coming and going in your house, maybe a cleaning service something of that nature, and if you walk away from your computer and all of a sudden you know your computer is opened up and you leave the house to go walk the dog, there’s nothing preventing someone from getting on your computer, taking a picture of your computer, things of that nature. So getting in the habit of locking that screen and putting an auto lock on that screen after let’s say five, ten, thirty minutes of no activity is a great way to help lock down the computers and avoid you know that type of intrusion that you might not think happens, but it’s totally possible.

The next thing that we did is we updated our password policy. And changing your password every 30 days is just not practical. Everybody hates it it’s, that is a sacrifice that I don’t want to make, but what we can do is make the passwords more complex, and we can make them longer. We can require capitals and lowercase, and special characters and some number combinations, things of that nature that are going to make the odds of it getting hacked pretty, pretty low. And once you do that, then you know maybe change your password once a year type thing is what you want to do. IT people are going to have a different you know opinion on that, but if you do that in conjunction with two factor authentication, then you’re going to have a pretty secure login process.

And the last thing is taking advantage of the you know the employee background checks these days who is actually getting into your systems. Who are you hiring are they the right
people? So there’s a personal security protection that you need to be looking at. There are so many online services today that can run background checks for you to make sure that the people that you are, that you’re hiring are the right folks, and the people that you can trust to handle certain types of sensitive information. And what you don’t want to do is have information that walks out your organization. A platform like SharePoint, which is part of the Microsoft 365 platform, can also monitor for downloads of files you know large quantities, if files are being deleted it can monitor that. It does keep a recycle bin for you and a version history for you which is great, and again if you want some help with that and you want to learn more, IGTech365 is the company to call.

You know so there’s protections in all these different areas that you need to be looking at and they’re just so, so simple that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go about making some of these changes. But these were just 10 things that I came up with as a small business that would make sense for your business whether you have two people, right? If it’s not family still you know some of this stuff you want to do regardless, even on your personal computer. But if you have two people and they’re not all family then that’s when you should start this practice. And if you have it implemented when you hire people then it’s much easier than to implement after you’ve got you know people that are that are hired and used to doing things the old way, right? Because change is always difficult.

So that’s what I have for you today. I hope you enjoyed, I hope you got some tips. If you enjoyed the content, hit the like and subscribe button down below, and we will see you on the next video. Good luck growing your business and stay profitable!

IT Security Top Ten List

  1. Implement 2-Factor Authentication.
  2. Only allow resource access to computers that are connected to your network.
  3. Control what IP addresses can connect to your network.
  4. Only allow connections during certain times of the day.
  5. Implement Microsoft Intune or a Mobile Device Management (MDM) service
  6. Scan network connections for sensitive information patterns.
  7. Monitor computer activity.
  8. Lock screens when not at your computers. (Windows + L key)
  9. Update your password policy to be 8+ characters, numbers and symbols.
  10. Require employee background checks.
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Using Zones to Automate Everyday Tasks

Zones + Basic GPS System Data – Location, Date, & Time

Our goal is to assist our readers with using GPS tracking system data, specifically zones and geofences, for routine operations, consequently achieving a higher return on investment. This new series is contributed by Darryl Arnold, our Director of Product Development.

Business owners are generally aware of GPS tracking device’s ability to report a location as well as the date and time. Almost every vehicle tracking system provides much more than just location data. Our focus is on using just the GPS location, time, and date provided by the GPS tracking devices to automate some of your standard business tasks y using zones or geofences.

Transcript of Eron & Darryl Discuss Using Zones
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Hi everybody, Eron and Darryl with Fleetistics and today we’re going to be talking about zones and geofences and whatever you want to call them, but the little polygons to go around specific areas of interest to you, and we’re going to be talking about not just you know the concept of a zone, but really what are the practical applications of zones as they relate to business and business operations. So Darryl, let’s start by simply defining what a zone or a geofence is.

A zone is a mechanism that a gps system uses to define a location on the map. Everything from a building, you can put a zone around an entire state, you can put it around a county, a municipal region, but basically what you’re doing is using a zone to to tell the gps system that this is a region or a place that that you need information about.

And what would be an example of each one of those things? So you talk about a state level county level and a building or a piece of property.

Generally when you’re talking about a building most customers the first thing that they do for zones is to create a zone around their building or the location of where their vehicles are. When you have that zone you can use it to receive notifications or keep track of the times that a vehicle leaves or a time that a vehicle returns. It also allows you to keep track of the amount of time that a vehicle spends at an office when you’re talking about a zone around a town or or a county the primary use for that is to make sure that a vehicle or a fleet of vehicles remain inside of an area – an operating area. For example if you have vehicles that that are responsible for you know servicing a specific territory, a zone allows you to make sure that that vehicle is remaining in that territory. When you’re talking about states the same thing applies as a town or a county you know an operating area, but what it also does is allow you to keep track of the amount of time that’s being spent in the state which can also assist with with IFTA and and some of the the fuel tax regulation.

Certainly the taxes for assets utilized in one state may be very different than taxes for utilization in a different state so knowing the number of miles that you drive in each state is certainly important to that. Two things to come to mind from customers that I can think of one is was a local county here in Florida that basically provided emergency services right and when they went outside the county they wanted to track when they were outside the county or their jurisdiction so they could bill whoever they were going to service based on the amount of time I guess and resources you know that were utilized outside of their jurisdiction so it was important to know when the fire trucks left their area and where they were going to and how long they were at the fire location or you know whatever the emergency location was. So that was a really good example and the other one that comes to mind is we have a nationwide customer that has over 300 locations and somehow they manage to ship vehicles between branches you know they do like horse trading of vehicles so corporate has a hard time keeping track of who’s got what vehicles and then when it comes to dispatching and knowing you know perhaps what resources are on different vehicles it makes that harder because they’re not returning to the expected location so by putting a zone around each branch and then having that vehicle uh set up to notify if it if it doesn’t return to that branch it allows more insight and oversight over where these vehicles are if they’re not where corporate thinks they are. So just two applications there for zones. Obviously we’ve got lots of others with customers and things like that. With zones how many or what shapes can zones be?

It all depends on the gps system you’re working with but today most gps systems allow for essentially an unlimited number of points. I know that our primary system allows for literally an unlimited number of points the other two systems state that they do but in reality you know once you get over a certain level you know it’s questionable on the performance. Something else I’d like to say from an application that we were talking about from you know putting a zone around a building. You know many of our customers actually do their billing based on the amount of time that a vehicle spends on site and you know it if you can put a zone around each one of your customers, the system can provide a report at the end of the day or at the end of the week of the actual start time you know when the vehicle entered the zone or arrived at the location, how much time it’s spending inside that zone, and also lets you know when it leaves. You know so that this is actual real-time information that that a driver doesn’t have to spend their their resources or time keeping track of and then reporting to the accounting department. The information goes directly to accounting and you can’t get more accurate in keeping track of time on site than a gps system.

Yeah one of the very applicable examples of that would be landscape management. You’re talking about the large commercial companies that take care of entire subdivisions and when you go into that situation you’re billing you’re pricing the job based on how many hours, man hours you think it’s going to take to be able to manage that property and care for that property over the course of a year. Well, if you put a zone around that entire property and every three months you’re evaluating the number of man hours actually spent inside maintaining that property you can get a very accurate picture of what it actually takes to do that job. And you may have in your contract where you can you can increase billing or you decrease billing based on the actual number of man hours required to maintain an area, so it’s going to give you the ability to not get burned by underselling a job and it’s going to help the customer by not getting oversold when it takes far fewer hours to to do a job and that over time builds a database of accurate information for you to do a better job actually pricing communities and certain types of jobs based on the the footprint and the type of work that’s going on inside that zone.

Definitely, I mean we could go on all day about different applications in business for using zones but I’d like to throw out one more. We had a customer that was a security company and they were contracted by apartment buildings, condo associations to do drive-throughs you know at certain times of the day or do drive-throughs at varied times of the day to you know for just basically associated with the operations of the the complex, and they were continually having complaints from the you know the condo associations and the apartment building managers that the person wasn’t showing up or they weren’t on there on site long enough or they didn’t do… what we ended up doing was was putting a zone around the entire complex the entire property and at the end of the day the system actually sent an email to the the customer that outlined what time the the vehicle arrived, where the vehicle actually drove, with the you know the track you know through the gps system and when they exited. So it it provided accountability to the customer for the company without actually having to take any time, effort, or energy to you know to invest payroll into it or staff time or anything like that.

When do zones not work well? I can think of two scenarios but when do zones kind of run into trouble you know and they start to lose their accuracy or or you know functionality?

You got me on that one we got out of this I don’t know I can’t think of a situation that his own doesn’t work.

Yeah, I got started in the pest control business so a good example is typically in residential service industries where you may have multiple customers on the same block, right, and in the pest control business you might have customers that are right next door or across the street and what happens is the technician shows up and he parks in front of one house and he just walks to the others, right? So if you’re trying to track the uh the interaction and time spent with each one of those customers, if the vehicle is parked in front of one you’re not going to know what’s going on in the others because he’s not moving the vehicle into that particular zone. So you know the zones have to be based on where the vehicle is actually parking so if you have a large industrial complex and the vehicle is parking in the back but you missed you know you didn’t you didn’t include that in the zone that’s a problem. In residential areas if the vehicle parks in in front of customer A but services A, B, C, and D by foot, you’re not going to know the time spent A,B,C, and D. So you may have to draw a zone around all four of those customers to kind of associate the general time spent servicing all of them. So that was that was one example. The other example is kind of similar to that you know you get different businesses on different street corners and is it gas station A or gas station B? You know that type of thing zones can go down to you know we look at the accuracy of gps today I mean really you can go down to like a couple parking spaces and know where the vehicle is parking so when doing zones it’s important to be very accurate based on vehicle parking. When it comes to dealing with large numbers of zones you know talk about the process of importing zones so if you’re migrating or you have a customer database where you have addresses or more importantly latitude longitude what are some of the things that go into importing zones? What are some of the options available when importing zones, and how does that really help with the efficiency you know when we think about you know importing over 100 000 zones for one customer? You know obviously that’s a huge time saver being able to do that.

Definitely the you know the the act of importing a zone is is really creating zones based on information within a spreadsheet. It can be done based on an address a lat longitude latitude coordinates, and the the import zones are really not detailed in the sense they’re not drawn. So you know they don’t have a lot of points. They’re generally either a square or a circle, and you know that works when you’re dealing with the type of zones that you want to work with for you know for an import. An application like the the apartment building or the condo association it’s not going to work for that you really want to draw each zone individually because of the shape of the properties and wanting to keep specific track of that, but when you’re doing an import basically just throw it in in an excel spreadsheet. You just need the location. The location can either be a street address it can be the lat/long. Then you specify the shape of the zone whether it’s a square or a circle and then specify the radius that you want it to be. You always want to make sure that the zone is big enough. We’ve had situations where customers did not get the information they were looking for because the zone didn’t extend out into the road and the vehicle was parking in the road and the zone was small enough that it covered the building. The the vehicle never quite made it into the building or into the building parking lot. So you can list there another alternative for creating that type of file is to do an export from your accounting program. With your account with your customer list from an accounting program you can get a list of you know the customer name which you can use as the name of the zone. Then the the actual address, the city, the state and export it as a csv. Then you can edit the format of that csv in excel and then do your import from there. There’s a lot of different ways that that you can go about creating the zones from an automated perspective, but the most common is to get your customer list out of either a crm, you know a contact manager, or an accounting system.

Yeah and I think we have to manage people’s expectations with zones. You are not going to correctly zone 100 % of your customers, right? That’s highly, highly unlikely to happen unless you have very unique customer situations where the properties are spread out, like they’re not next to each other at all, and maybe they’re of such a size that if you create a 1000 meter zone that you know that you’re always going to be covering that entire customer location without any overlap, and the vehicles are always going to park inside that zone. Mostly, most of the customers we work with are going to maybe get 70 to 80 percent of the zones correctly imported and then you’re just going to have to manually adjust to get the other ones to you know be exactly where you want them to be. It’s important to understand that when you work with zones that the, the center point of the nearest zone is going to be what the vehicle data is associated with. So if you have two zones that overlap and the vehicle is parking in that overlap area it’s going to look at the two center points of the zones that were imported or created and say which one am I closer to and it’s going to then associate data with that particular zone. So that’s where you go in and you manually adjust those zones to spread them out or change the shape and then the accuracy of your information continues to climb. The other thing that I try to tell people is when you implement tracking technology and telematics it becomes part of your business process, right? When you onboard a new customer, are you also putting them into the gps system, creating their customer zone, and establishing whatever parameters you want as far as time and service and exceptions to be reported? And if you do that as part of like a checklist of every new customer then it becomes an easy process to maintain. If you try to do it once every six months it’s a bigger project every six months and you’re missing data along the way, so you know in Darryl’s articles, which this is a part of that series, you know how do you get this information into your business process and this is one of the ways by making it part of the customer onboarding experience and process internally. All right, what else do we need to know about zones Darryl?

Well there’s two really two types of zones and and it’s not a technical differentiation, it’s more a business use differentiation. When you’re dealing with a zone like Eron was talking about, a new customer coming on board and it’s a zone that you’re going to want in the system from here to eternity. You’re going to use it every day. You’re never going to edit it. You need to know exactly where you know the property lines are and things like that, that’s one appli… or one type of zone. Another type of zone is one that you have a list of places that your driver is going to go for the day. At the end of the day you’re never going to need these zones again, okay? You have the ability on many gps systems to specify a an expiration. So when you’ve got the temporary zone set up for situations where you know you you have a stop for that customer for today, you’re never going to hear from that customer again or that it’s going to be two or three years from now, you’re not going to want to store all of those zones at all times because you know first of all it just makes managing the zones for your staff a little bit more challenging because there’s so many in there, but you can set up an expiration time so that after a certain amount of time or after a certain time period in the day the zone deletes itself. When you’re dealing with those temporary zones they just don’t have to be as exact so just putting a circle over a location or a square over location will work pretty well, but when you’re working with with situations that that you’re going to be using the zone day in and day out you’re going to want to spend a little bit more time as Eron mentioned, and make sure that the property lines are covered, look at each zone individually, make sure that you know if they’re parking on the street is the street included in that? You know the there are two you know if you’re using a temporary zone that’s one approach if you’re using permanent zone as another approach.

A temporary zone example would be a like a cable installer right. They’re coming to hook up your internet and they’re only going to be there that one time. They’re probably not going to see you for five years unless a new owner buys your house, right? The service window’s tomorrow or two days from now so you might expire the zone in five days in case you’ve got to do any return service trips something like that, so you know that’s that’s the kind of scenario for expiring those zones. And before I forget, everybody, if you liked the video please hit the like button and don’t forget to subscribe and share with your friends, share on social media. We appreciate it. We’re trying to give you some more practical application content instead of just the more salesy or you know a specific technical how do I you know use a system type function in information. So this is more how do I apply the information to the business that I have going on every day, which should be more helpful in finding your return on investment. So that’s pretty much it for zones and geofences whatever you want to call them. You know we we appreciate your time and attention and look forward to seeing you on the next video. Have a great day and we’ll see you again.

Tracking for Payroll & Billing – the Low Hanging Fruit

Many businesses that utilize vehicles in their daily operations also need to keep track of start and stop times. Tracking of start and end of the business day for payroll purposes is just one of the easy ways to capture return on investment. Another is to facilitate billing on a time spent at a location, such as at a jobsite. GPS tracking devices and their reporting systems already collect this information. The GPS system data is accessible to users by querying the online data. Delivery of automatically scheduled reports is normally a pretty quick setup. There are also mobile apps that can be used for the driver to input start and stop times associated with a location if zones or geofences are not utilized.

Using Geo Zones to Automate Payroll Hours Reporting

By and large, GPS tracking systems for vehicles include the ability to utilize zones. There are many names used by system providers for zones. Geofences, geozones, landmarks, and points of interest are common terms. They all provide the same ability to define a location on a map that reporting is then based upon. For businesses that use vehicle start and stop time for payroll, just create a zone around the daily point of departure. In most cases, it will be your office or the employee’s home. Create another zone around the daily endpoint. Many times, the endpoint is the same as the starting point. In those cases, the same zone can be used.

Once the zones or geofences are created, a report can be scheduled. The GPS system will periodically deliver a report that includes the entry and/or exit dates and times of each vehicle from the designated zones. This provides the ability to proactively deliver the start and end times of each vehicle to human resource or billing departments automatically on the schedule needed.

Geo Zones - Geofences

Defining Job Locations

Utilizing a GPS system’s zone or geofence feature, job locations can also be defined within the system. Additionally, you may want to create locations in the system for vendors like parts suppliers and fueling locations. If your system allows for color-coding or classifying types of zones, this can be very helpful. Once the locations are virtually defined, the majority of GPS systems provide the ability to specify tracking or reporting of a vehicle’s entry, exit, time inside, or time outside of a zone. The system can then be set up to report the information to billing departments.

Enter and exit times provide the stop/start points for hourly billing. Additionally, using the vendor zones helps to identify the time outside of a job or customer zone as trips for fuel, supplies, lunch breaks, or something that takes time away from the job/project. It becomes much easier to identify what is billable time and what is not. This information can also be kept and used in the future to estimate a similar job.

Other Zone Attributes

While most GPS systems provide some method for automatically creating zones through the import of an external file such as an Excel spreadsheet, some have more zone management options than others. For instance, the Geotab system provides options for managing these auto-created zones such as expiration and zone type groupings. The Geotab expiration option automatically deletes a zone once the specified date arrives. This assists in managing zones that aren’t used on a regular basis or are associated with a defined time window for a project. If no expiration date is selected, once a zone is created, it can be used indefinitely for recurring jobs for regular customers.

Zone Creation

3 Step Plan for Automating Use of Zones in Your GPS System

First, create the zones. Second, passively report arrivals, departures, time inside, and time outside of zones. Finally, proactively deliver a report to accounting or billing personnel. This eliminates the time-consuming tasks required for manually keeping track of payroll hours and time spent on job sites. Compiling the information into an automated report format for your accounting or billing department requires quite literally no action on the part of field personnel or accounting/billing personnel, saving both time and money.

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Electronic Signatures – A Beginners Guide

Electronic Signature Defined

An electronic signature or e-signature, according to Wikipedia, refers to data in electronic form, which is logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign. This type of signature has the same legal standing as a handwritten signature as long as it adheres to the requirements of the specific regulation under which it was created.

E-Signing Saves You Time & Money

In the fast-paced environment we do business in today, many providers are competing for the services you offer. When engaged with a prospect that is excited about what you have just told them, you can close the deal on the spot with an electronic form and signature. Documents remain secure and with the quote, order, and signature electronically connected and stored online, accessing the documents when you need them becomes much easier.

How are they regulated?

Unlike a Digital Signature which is verified by a certification authority, e-signatures are not protected by cryptography and can be as simple as a name added to an electronic document. The laws that govern their use and validity are The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) in the United States, the Electronic Identification and Trust Services Regulation (eIDAS) in the European Union.

To use encrypted digital signatures you must subscribe to a service like DocuSign, HelloSign, or Signaturit. DocuSign’s marketing website specifically says “when e-signatures are combined with tamper sealing, strong authentication, world-class security, and an audit trail, they can be more enforceable than wet signatures because of the court-admissible evidence they contain.” In contrast, electronic signatures can be easily generated in common software like Microsft Word, Adobe PDFs, and Google Docs. If you are unsure what best suits your business, consult with your legal advisor.

What does an e-signature look like?

DifferenceBetween.net has posted a great graphic to answer that question and compare them to digital signatures. The bottom line is an electronic signature can be almost anything. A numeric value, a text value, or an image could be used. As an example, in our Fleetistics order forms, we ask for a 4 digit numeric entry as an electronic signature. That number is captured along with the IP address and username of the user completing the order form.

Many of our partners incorporate electronic signatures in the products they offer as well. This is another great example of connecting the different aspects of your business electronically. The planned route, the GPS coordinates of the stop, time-stamped for accountability, and the signature of the customer are all accessible from the app.

Should you be using e-signatures?

At Fleetistics we are not just concerned with your fleet. With over 21 years in business, we want to use our expertise to help you grow your business and be more efficient in all areas. And the truth is, you probably already use e-signatures and online signatures more than you realize.

As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, electronic signing is becoming more common all the time. Many restaurants now have a digital screen right on the table to capture a signature for your credit card payment. What about your vendors? Like Fleetistics, many may have incorporated a digital signature into their ordering process.

If your business uses an app on a tablet or smartphone to manage work orders and dispatch your drivers, you may be asking your customers to sign on the tablet when accepting the order. If not, we have several partners that offer that capability integrated with your GPS tracking for even better visibility. Any process that you can automate or accomplish electronically rather than physically is going to provide a significant return on investment.

Vehicle & Asset Telematics

Electronic Forms

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Vehicle & Asset Telematics

Electronic Forms

Mobile Viewing


The API Explorer Experiment in Analytics Lab

Special thanks to Darryl Arnold for assisting with this post.

API Explorer In The Analytics Lab

The next experiment we will review in the Analytics Lab is the API Explorer. If development is outside the scope of what you do, you may want to share this blog post with your developers to show them how they can leverage a great tool. Here is a link to “How to download and install Analytics Lab” in your Geotab database. After installing Analytics Lab, go to the API Explorer experiment and click to try it.

Taking Advantage of the API Explorer

If you are looking for new ways to integrate and evaluate your fleet data, this tool can save you time by using pre-defined queries and API calls. A catalog of Beta APIs is available for accessing and viewing response outputs. Multiple languages are supported.

Current use cases include contextual risk index, nearby fuel stations, nearby rest areas, fuel benchmarking, new zones, and collision events. Using the Leave Feedback button delivers your comments, likes, dislikes, and use case suggestions directly to the Geotab development team.

Access Data from Other Analytics Lab Experiments

When you select a Beta API from the list, a brief description appears below it. As you can see, some of the available selections are tied to other Analytics Lab experiments such as Intelligent Zoning and Fuel Economy Benchmarking.

Practical application of the API Explorer

The API Explorer provides developers with a tool for testing queries and calls prior to writing code. The ability to test multiple approaches to a call in real-time prior to coding can save numerous development hours. For report developers, the API Explorer provides the ability to quickly obtain results on a one-time call or query.

What’s next?

If you enjoyed the API Explorer experiment, our next and final Analytics Lab post (for now) is on the Collision Detection experiment. As new experiments are added we will be sure to share them with you as well.

Vehicle & Asset Telematics
Electronic Forms
Mobile Viewing
Vehicle & Asset Telematics
Electronic Forms
Mobile Viewing

Analytics Lab and the Intelligent Zoning Experiment

Analytics Lab, what is it?

The Analytics Lab free add-in provides a platform for current Geotab users to test features currently under development. By using the Analytics Lab, anyone can participate in the development of new features being considered for addition to the Geotab platform. By rating the experiments and providing feedback, users are able to provide Geotabs development team insight into what is good, bad, irrelevant, or extremely valuable to end-users. User suggestions will influence the direction of future development.

How do I get it?

To install Analytics Lab, simply log into your MyGeotab portal, navigate to the Geotab Marketplace, and search for Analytics Lab. Once it pops up on the list, click to add it to your cart, agree to the terms, and click finish to install. It can be done in seconds!

How do I use it?

Once installed, click Analytics Lab > Catalog to see the current list of experiments. When you see one that interests you, click “try it” and enjoy what comes next. After using it, be sure to leave some feedback and if you found some value, give it a like.

Intelligent Zoning

Today we are going to highlight the experiment on Intelligent Zoning. This is one that just about every Geotab user can get some mileage out of. It can be used to make your current zones more accurate based on where vehicles actually stop, and it can be used to identify zones that have been overlooked or you have not yet had time to add.

Once you click the Try It button you will land on a page that lists the zone recommendations with a relevance rating. A high relevance score would indicate more frequent stops in that zone.

We chose the zone at the top of the list and clicked the Action Needed button to get a birds-eye view of the recommended intelligent zone.

We already had some rather large zones drawn around this office which are displayed as the dark gray zones. Geotab has determined that our vehicles consistently park in the much smaller zone outlined in blue. Stats are also displayed for the average number of stops per month and how many vehicles have stopped at this location. The graph shows us the trend is downward and below that some additional information on the duration of stops as well as driving time to the stop. All of that is excellent information we can use to better understand trips to and time in this zone.

Intelligent Zoning Action Needed screen

Importing the Intelligent Zone

From this point, we can use the Rename and? Import Zone buttons to make this recommended zone a permanent zone in the database. Additionally, we can choose to keep or discard the zones we previously used. Simply disregard recommended zones that are not relevant. So far, everyone we have shown this tool to has come up with a different reason to have it and a different way to use it. What is yours?

What’s next?

Be on the lookout for our next installment of the Analytics Lab series where we will take a closer look at fuel economy benchmarking.

Vehicle & Asset Telematics
Electronic Forms
Mobile Viewing
Vehicle & Asset Telematics
Electronic Forms
Mobile Viewing