On an average day about 153 viruses and 84 malicious emails attempt to penetrate an automobile dealership’s network. Rest assured that cybercriminals work day in and day out to break into your dealership. They are relentless and these criminals don’t take vacations. Eventually, the cybercriminal will succeed and gain access to your dealership. What happens once the criminal penetrates your dealership depends on your IT team and the systems, software, people and processes they have put into place to deal with this threat.
It’s important for dealerships to understand that dealership IT has a significant weight on their shoulders. Dealer IT resources are not only responsible for ensuring that your dealership has an adequate IT environment in place to reliably and securely conduct the business of selling and servicing cars and trucks. They also have responsibility for maintaining – and even improving – your dealership’s brand reputation.
A dealer’s brand reputation is mission critical to their business. In fact, 84% of consumers claim that they will not buy another car from a dealer whose data has been compromised by cybercrime. Dealers work hard to build their brands and they depend on them as a key point of competitive differentiation. Yet a successful data breach can significantly damage your brand in a blink. It’s your IT team that is responsible for protecting your dealership from cybercriminals.
Today, according to a Total Dealer Compliance survey, only 30% of dealers employ IT staff with computer security training and appropriate certifications. Therefore, it appears that most dealers have not yet been able to connect the dots between preserving their brand reputation and the expertise and capacity of their IT resources.
Additionally, the technology expectations of consumers aren’t what they once were and they’re advancing rapidly. Consumers expect that dealers have fast, reliable, and safe technology in place so that they can conveniently find and buy a new vehicle, schedule a service appointment, and be able to leverage the dealer’s technology environment when visiting the dealer. Increasingly, automobile and heavy truck dealers rely on technology to sell and service cars and trucks. Dealers that fail to stay on top of their technology risk damaging their reputations. Consumers don’t want to trust their business to a dealer with a technology infrastructure that looks and feels like it just stepped out of the 1980s.
As the technology expectations of consumers expand and the cybersecurity threats that dealers face continually evolve, a dealership’s IT team bears an increasingly significant responsibility. A dealership’s IT team’s inability – either from a lack of expertise or capacity – to handle this responsibility has significant consequences for your dealership’s brand reputation and ultimately your profitability.