Organizations that use this industry standardized solution for third-party contractors have a clear line of sight for all their network of registered contractors and employees. Contractors can be traced via their Assigned Background Compliance number (ABC#) from registration right through the history of the sites they have visited without tracking their ongoing location history. This history is available in real-time making the process much faster, less invasive, and more comprehensive for contact-tracing purposes. The organization can track the individual without revealing any PII because their background check is delivered through a unique identifier, the ABC#. This solves the problem of data security for the individuals involved.
Governments use of technology to manage Covid-19
Traceability is a key element in the world’s efforts to control the spread of Coronavirus. There are many examples of governments, health departments and other agencies using open innovation1 to collaborate and bring their expertise and knowledge together to help protect communities. Last month seen the launch of a COVID-19 tracking app in Pennsylvania through collaboration between NearForm, the University of Pennsylvania and MIT. NearForm is an Irish based company who has collaborated with the Irish government to great success with almost 1.3 million downloads of their COVID-19 tracking app. There are obvious advantages to being able to record and confirm the location of individuals who have been in known contact with an infected person at a state and national level.
What responsibilities do organizations have in protecting homeowners and contractors entering homes?
In this article, we discuss the issue of traceability for third-party contractors and outline how a proven sign-in process for contractors offers numerous benefits in the post-COVID era, not only in terms of confidential traceability, but also as a means to fulfil the potential of technological advances that the pandemic has accelerated.
Traceability without Compromise
Technologists across the world are scrambling to build applications for identifying and notifying those who encounter a carrier of COVID-19. Some of these apps are lightweight and temporary, whereas others collect data including citizens’ identity, location, and – in the case of China – they even track online payment history to allow local police to apprehend those who break quarantine rules.
If used correctly, contact-tracing apps could serve as a useful supplement to manual contact tracing, both for general contacts that may occur between people paid to carry out services and customers. However, concerns have arisen about the privacy and security of the technology. Apps that use GPS, for example, raise questions about privacy because GPS reveals your location. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a wireless personal area network technology that is often used for fitness trackers, but doubts arise about its reliability for calculating distances between traces.
International App Woes
- The Norwegian Data Protection Authority suspended use of its Smittestopp contact-tracing app and deleted all of the data it had gathered, due to concerns about its intrusiveness.
- In Australia, the CovidSafe app may work in as few as 25% of uses because a flaw means iPhones cannot be detected when they are locked.
- The Anomali Threat Research (ATR) team has discovered 12 fake apps, designed to steal banking credentials and other valuable personal data from citizens of Armenia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Singapore. (And they believe that are many more similar malicious apps out there).
An Alternative Contact Tracing Technology
There is an easier way for companies to provide reassurance for their customers around contact tracing for third-party contractors they may send to homes (health care workers or property inspectors, for example). The technology exists for contractors to sign into properties without the need to reveal any Personally Identifiable Information (PII), thus keeping their personal data safe.
This technology allows the homeowner to validate the contractor arriving at their home against an industry standard background check. This achieves several objectives:
- It validates the person who signs in at the property has been properly vetted and are who they say they are
- It provides peace of mind to the homeowner should it be necessary to identify and notify anyone who has been in contact with a carrier of Covid-19
- It creates transparency, brand loyalty and trust
Embracing Technology to Digitally Transform Physical Industries
While contact-tracing technology continues to evolve, quarantine protocols are forcing companies across a range of industries to embrace technology to transform their operations. The implications for sectors that have relied on the physical presence of people will be significant. The ability to demonstrate robust controls and data in place to protect your customers, while at the same time not breaching privacy laws, will differentiate the innovators from the laggards.
Everything from fitness classes to schooling has gone online. With more people working, learning, banking, and even socializing online (Zoom party, anyone?), society has received an unexpected immersion in the world of digital transformation. Home deliveries have skyrocketed as has the demand for home services as we all want to upgrade our homes given, we are spending a lot more time there and have to work there. Consequently, people will want to know who is attending their home in advance of a contractor arriving at their door.
Figure 1: A 2016 Label Insight Transparency ROI Study
Industries that employ third-party contractors in areas such as transport, deliveries, retail, healthcare, insurance, property preservation and inspection can leverage the technological change inspired by Covid–19 to embrace existing trends. For example, the technology already exists for companies to have non-invasive, full third-party network visibility and oversight using the industry-standard background check process referred to earlier.
This technology facilitates immediate verification of the identity and compliance of each contractor who visits a property. The data and insights this technology creates enables you to proactively manage your vendor network.
Figure 2: Shieldhub Pathway providing visibility by State
Figure 3: Shieldhub Pathway providing visibility by City
How Shieldhub Can Help
Shieldhub simplifies the management of complexed vendor networks. We ensure all contractors are screened against an industry standard, enabling your business to have full visibility of every location visited. We simplify compliance, reduce risk and cost.
This level of transparency leads to more efficient management, saving you time and money and allowing you to make important decisions in real–time. Even better, your customers enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that every one of your contractors is vetted and traceable. In a post-Covid world that level of trust and transparency could be invaluable to your business.
Like to find out more? Get in touch with Shieldhub today.
1 Open innovation – is a business management model for innovation that promotes collaboration with people and organizations outside the company or government organization.