May 16, 2018 12:45 PM, EDT

TMC Conference to Focus on Cybersecurity, Truck Diagnostics

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As companies become more interconnected, executives need to have a broader understanding of their entire firm and the way divisions — once thought of as separate and distinct — interact with each other.

In June, a conference hosted by American Trucking Associations will combine several vital segments of trucking to provide a fresh look at this rapidly changing industry.

The Fleet Data Management & Cybersecurity Conference will provide a view of vehicle maintenance in the 21st century that addresses best practices in truck operations along with ways to block cyberthreats that can damage vehicles and company systems.

The event from ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council runs June 5-7 at the Marriott City Center in Raleigh, N.C., and the keynote speaker is ATA President Chris Spear. The TMC conference will be co-located with ATA’s National Accounting & Finance Council annual conference, which offers expert insight on finance, taxation, technology, risk management and accounting.

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In previous years, the TMC conference has seen participation by original equipment manufacturers, suppliers, software firms, and fleet maintenance and data management professionals.

The maintenance side of the conference targets users and potential users of TMC’s Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards, with the goal of creating better maintenance reports and selecting and implementing the best fleet software. Sessions will range from an introduction to VMRS, to how-tos on using Code Key 33 (component code) and Code Key 34 (manufacturer/brand/supplier code) and applying the information to a repair order.

Also, a presentation on the TMC/FleetNet America Vertical Benchmarking Program will offer tips on using this service that could bring significant cost savings on unscheduled roadside repairs.



The cybersecurity portion was added to the conference to help fleets defend themselves against such events as a ransomware attack coming through a firm’s computer system or a damaging bug that enters a fleet’s diagnostics system.

“We want [the industry] to understand the risks,” said Ross Froat, ATA's director of engineering and information technology. “Trucks today are just like your own computer, and you don’t operate your computer without malware. We are connected real time, and we all talk to each other.”

Froat will moderate a panel on cybersecurity designed to offer expert advice from a cross-section of the industry.

Scheduled panelists include Ryan Brander, manager of cybersecurity with Geotab; Chris Cooper, president of Boyd Brothers Transportation; Randy Goggans, co-founder of ThreatAdvice; Ray Watts, consultant with Cybis; and Mark Zachos, president of DG Technologies.

The session also will provide an overview of ATA’s Fleet CyWatch, an online information clearinghouse that TMC and the Transportation Security Council created in conjunction with the FBI to help fleets report on trucking-related internet crimes and cyberattacks. Fleet CyWatch also coordinates with private and federal efforts to share with motor carriers information and ideas on cybersecurity awareness and prevention.

Subscribers to CyWatch can report any real or suspicious cyberattack events that they’ve experienced. And CyWatch will send out alerts to subscribers when a security threat occurs. Froat notes that these alerts will provide a location of an event but not the name of the firm that provided the information.

Fleet CyWatch is a free member benefit to motor carriers belonging to ATA or its councils.

The TMC conference also will address blockchain technology, giving attendees an assessment of this advancement that has the potential to dramatically improve efficiency in trucking and logistics.