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The Importance Of Cybersecurity At Your Dealership

A few decades ago, all you needed in order to keep your merchandise secure was a good lock, and maybe an overnight security guard.

Today? That’s not enough.

Sure, you still need to keep intruders from getting into your premises and stealing the cars you intend to sell. However, you also need to consider the digital side of your dealership.

Your data has value, just like your merchandise. A customer’s credit card information may not be quite as valuable as an off-the-lot sedan, but it’s still worth something to hackers. Especially when you make it easy for them to access.

Cybercriminals are definitely interested in the information your systems store on customers and employees – either to steal and sell (an SSN will go for about $45 right now) or to encrypt and hold against you for ransom.

That’s why you need to take the necessary steps to protect the digital side of your dealership. There’s no need to panic– it’s simply a matter of investing in the right protection, just as you’ve probably already done with a surveillance and security system.

4 Steps To Securing Your Dealership

1. Determine Your Risks

To start, you need to know what your weaknesses are. The most direct way to do so is to enlist the help of an IT company – they’ll know what the standards for cybersecurity are, and can assess your dealership to determine where you may be lacking. Once you know what the problems are, you can fix them.

2. Protect Against Human Error

A majority of cybersecurity technologies offered today include the best in vital software, from firewalls to anti-malware to data encryption and more. However, as important as this technology is, on its own, it simply isn’t enough.

The key to truly comprehensive cybersecurity is simple, yet often overlooked: the user. This vulnerability is compounded when the user is older, less familiar with new technology, and doesn’t know how to use it in a secure manner.

Cybersecurity gimmicks — such as “set it and forget it” firewalls and antivirus software — fail to account for how important the user is. Even the most effective digital security measures can be negated by human error.   A simple cybersecurity training program will teach your staff how to handle a range of potential situations:

  • How to identify and address suspicious emails, phishing attempts, social engineering tactics, and more.
  • How to use social media without exposing data and other assets to external threats by accident.
  • How to act when they suspect that an attack is occurring or has occurred.

3. Know How To Respond

When you suspect an attack has taken place, you need to act quickly. Contrary to popular belief, some businesses take weeks or even months to realize they’ve been penetrated. If you suspect something has occurred, do the following:

  • Make sure all your software is up to date.
  • Scan your systems for virus or malware infections.
  • Disconnect devices from the Internet and perform a factory reset – ideally, your data will all be backed up elsewhere.
  • File a report with the local police and make sure there is a record of the incident.

4. Plan Ahead

Consult with your IT company (if you don’t have one, then get one) and put a plan in place to make sure that your data is protected both in storage and transit. Hackers are looking to capitalize on your members’ confidential data, and you can’t afford a data breach.

There is a range of flexible and affordable options for this that IT companies can implement for you. You shouldn’t be worried as long as they implement enterprise-based cybersecurity solutions and a layered defense that can automatically block and eliminate the latest threats.

If you’re going to use a digital system to manage customer information, payment processing, inventory management, or whatever else, then you have to do your part to make sure it secure. It’s just the cost of doing business today.