Cybersecurity is simultaneously one of the most important areas of focus for auto dealerships and one of the easiest to overlook. It’s vital because a data breach could represent an enormous setback for your business but may receive little attention if you think of your work as primarily based around a brick-and-mortar model.
When you consider the many massive, online-first companies holding large databases, it’s hard to imagine a hacker deciding to infiltrate your auto dealership’s systems in search of a payday. That doesn’t mean such an attack won’t happen, however. Cyberattackers may select their targets based on how prepared and well-defended those companies are. This potentially leaves your dealership exposed and at great risk.
A target of opportunity
According to Dealer Marketing contributor Jim Cunningham of the National Credit Center, independent car dealers fall into criminals’ favorite category of companies to attack: small firms that may neglect their security. Large corporate organizations often have company-wide security tools, teams dedicated to IT protection and copious operational budgets. Small businesses that don’t prioritize their own defenses appear to be soft targets next to the corporate alternatives, which means your dealership could be drawing unwanted attention right now.
As Cunningham pointed out, the fact that your company is smaller doesn’t mean it lacks valuable data. Customer records and employee documentation may prove lucrative in identity theft or various types of financial fraud. Losing that information can damage your brand’s ongoing appeal and customer trust. No matter how modest a role online operations play in your company’s business model, IT systems are still targets.
Auto Remarketing reported there are vulnerabilities scattered throughout dealership infrastructures. When criminals attack in person, they can take mere minutes to access systems and find valuable data. An online breach can be even more subtle. You may not realize your databases have been breached until the culprit is long gone. The news provider quoted Gemalto data that tells the commercial story of a data breach: 70 percent of consumers would leave a company that suffered a data breach.
Customers want to feel safe, and being infiltrated by data thieves threatens this feeling of security and well-being. Your reputation is one of the most important pieces of marketing collateral your organization possesses. Being breached may compromise your dealership’s authority and its ability to let customers shop with confidence. Keeping IT defenses up to date can help stop this from coming to pass.
Time to check in
If you haven’t checked on your data security posture recently, the results may demand immediate action. Vulnerabilities in present IT systems or out-of-date cyber defenses may be ticking time bombs in data breach terms. Working with a third-party IT provider is one way to get proactive and consistently updated monitoring and defense in place. Since these organizations specialize in managing tech, they offer a focused and specialized approach to essential systems, letting you get on with the important work of running your business.