Today, almost everything happens on top of a connected technical infrastructure – including selling and servicing cars and trucks. Our reliance on technology poses monumental risks to both our personal and professional well-being. To mitigate these risks and to optimize the productive use of the technology we rely on, knowledge and skills are needed.
The knowledge and skills needed to optimize the productive use of technology and to keep our businesses protected from the growing cyber threat we face isn’t stagnant. The technology, cyber defenses, and related expertise that dealerships need is constantly evolving. Ignoring this evolution and hoping that what you put in place yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow is a mistake.
In this blog, we look at three ways in which technology, skills, expertise, and related best practices have evolved for the dealership’s IT/cybersecurity resources. As you read this blog, ask yourself if you have the appropriate resources needed to excel in today’s IT/cybersecurity environment.
The days when it was sufficient to simply set up a secure perimeter with firewalls and antivirus software are over. The cybercriminal has reached of level of sophistication where they can quickly discover loopholes and bypass these defenses.
Cyber defense has become much more strategic. It’s now a never-ending game of leapfrog. To protect your dealership, you need a range of skills and expertise that include things like digital forensics, malware reverse engineering, incident response, threat hunting, and technical surveillance countermeasures. An effective cyber defense also involves a solid understanding of network architecture and identity and access management (IAM) best practices.
Additionally, your dealership needs expertise in cybersecurity technologies like security information and event management (SIEM), extended detection and response (XDR), and behavioral analytics. Together, these skills and technologies empower your IT/cybersecurity team to move from merely looking for signs of compromise to the ability to detect indicators of suspicious behavior.
Today, a cybercriminal is in your network for weeks before they initiate their attack. Getting an alarm when the attack has begun is too late. In most cases – when the attack has begun – the cybercriminal has already taken countermeasures in anticipation of any defenses you might deploy. To have an effective cyber defense you need to detect and respond when an attack is in its infancy and before the cybercriminal can spread its roots throughout your network.
Therefore, having the technology and skill to identify indicators of suspicious behavior is vitally important. Equally critical, is having the resources to take swift action when an indicator of suspicious behavior has been detected. Remember, the cybercriminal doesn’t just work 9-5, Monday – Friday. You will need to have live, capable, experienced cybersecurity experts ready to jump into action at any time of day or night to defend against today’s cybercriminal.
The Cloud & Access Anywhere
Cloud computing makes it possible for people to access applications, data storage and other services over the internet instead of through a traditional physical server. For most dealerships, the attraction to cloud computing is that it allows them to not have to buy and maintain their own technology infrastructure. In addition, cloud computing better supports the needs of a more distributed workforce by making it possible to access dealership resources via the Internet.
Leveraging cloud-based applications like Microsoft 365 requires knowledge and expertise in determining the appropriate cloud networking architecture for the unique circumstances of your dealership. It also requires expertise in the proper implementation and ongoing management of a centralized identity and access management (IAM) system. IAM becomes exceedingly important when you make access to dealership resources available over the Internet via a multitude of devices. And, without the right set-up of a wireless infrastructure to support fast and reliable access to the Cloud the benefits of cloud computing can’t be realized.
Consumer Data Privacy Regulations
As cybercrime continues to rage, consumer frustration with the businesses they trust with their personal data escalates. Consumer frustration with businesses who drag their feet to implement cybersecurity best practices leads to new legislation and regulations that force businesses to do the right thing. We see this with the new FTC Safeguards Rule, state legislation like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and discussions on Capitol Hill about federal consumer privacy legislation.
Compliance with regulations requires resources, skills, and knowledge of the best practices that the regulations are based upon. As technology advances, and our reliance on it to do our jobs continues to increase, most dealership IT resources are scrambling to simply keep up with everyday employee help desk issues. This means, for most, there isn’t the bandwidth to keep abreast of new regulations and the best practices and technologies required to comply.
Evolve Or Pay the Price
As the saying goes “the only constant in life is change.” Dealership IT/cybersecurity is no exception. There are many, many dealerships whose IT/cybersecurity apparatus has been operating unchanged for years. Eventually, the items discussed in this blog are going to force these dealerships to either evolve or die. The average downtime now for a ransomware attack is 23 days – can you afford not to sell and service cars for 23 days? How many FTC fines are you willing to pay? 84% of consumers say that they won’t buy a car from a dealership that’s been hacked – does your reputation matter to you?
Staying ahead of the legislators, the cybercriminals, and ensuring that your employee productivity is optimized relies on an appropriate technology infrastructure. And, an appropriate, secure technology infrastructure requires skills, knowledge, ongoing training, certifications, and the bandwidth to execute.