Dealerships have always been a prime target for thieves and hackers. They have a large volume of high-dollar products available, and they gather a significant amount of consumer data in one place. It's easy to see why so many dealerships have been targeted in the past, and why dealers must remain vigilant when protecting themselves and their customers today. Here are three simple steps you can take to keep hackers at bay:
Cyber Liability Insurance
Cyber liability coverage is the number one way to insure your company against hacking. While there are many different coverage levels available, the most basic coverage guarantees that you will be protected against loss if your data is stolen. More importantly, this coverage protects against consumer lawsuits caused by data breaches up to a certain amount. Any company who collects sensitive customer data, such as that used for loan approvals, should have cyber liability coverage that is sufficient to cover the costs of repairing damage as well as settling suits with consumers when necessary.
Train Your Employees
While Hollywood would have you believe that hacking is a complex game that involves complex coding and super-genius mathematics, the truth is that most hacking is done at the ground level. Hackers often gain access to networks because employees are careless with their login information. Do your employees have their passwords on a sticky note on their desk? They could be opening the door to a hacker. The problem is that when hackers gain access to the network using a valid username and password, it can be impossible to track them down, and it can take significantly longer to notice the red flags. Training employees on the importance of password protection, as well as mandating password changes quarterly, can significantly reduce the accessibility to hackers. Of course, your sales agents also need to be aware of what questions a hacker might ask about pricing, databases, and the loan process which could be used to find alternative entry points into the system. Many agents don't realize that their harmless chit-chat is actually providing thieves with useful information.
Conduct Security Audits
The dealership's primary purpose is to sell, not to build a bulletproof network. Thus, it is imperative that dealerships contract a qualified networking and security company to help them set up their systems. A security audit can help identify red flags before they are exploited, and can even identify individuals within your company who are routinely causing red flags. This can be a good way to determine what training needs to occur, as well as what changes need to be made to your daily protocols to better protect your data. Of course, the landscape of threats on the internet is ever changing as new bugs and viruses are introduced, so security audits need to be conducted on a regular basis to remain effective. If your system is outdated, it could be susceptible to a wide range of modern viruses at any given time.
Consumers trust dealerships to protect their data, so dealerships need to take these threats seriously. Even small dealerships can be a target because they typically have less advanced security systems in place. The best protection against hacking is having your team properly trained about what threats exist and how to identify them, as well as having an expert opinion on your system's security. Once these steps are completed, cyber liability coverage will cover your dealership for any loss or damage that may occur over and above the protective steps you have already taken. This liability coverage will be an important factor in helping you recover if you ever do fall victim to a hacking attack.
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