Even before the pandemic, dealers were moving into the cyber world. It was simply a response to how customers were changing their shopping habits. Once the pandemic hit, dealer operations in the cyber world escalated.
Dealers are now fully in the cyber world, and they will stay there. They must be constantly vigilant to protect their cyber operations from cyber predators who are sophisticated and ruthless.
Work With Your DMS Providers
You should have the most up to date electronic safeguards. Has your DMS vendor given you the benefit of the latest safeguards and updates? If you have online systems for the dealership outside the DMS system, consult an IT expert to determine whether you have protections against intrusions such as firewalls and anti-virus software.
You have an Information Safeguards policy that includes electronic protections. When was the last time you reviewed that? Who was named as the coordinator? Is that person still the coordinator, and is that person able to guide employees? Does your policy consider the need and designate safeguards to protect against changing threats?
Besides sophisticated electronic safeguards, employees should know about traditional safeguards and the need to observe them.
- Regularly change passwords
- Do not share passwords
- Do not leave passwords visible at an employee’s work station
- Do not click on emails from unknown senders
- If it is an employee’s job to review emails from unknown senders, do not click on links which could contain malware, ransomware, or phishing attempts.
- Do not surf the web and click on sites that will lead to downloads that infect your system.
These practical safeguards may appear to be belts with suspenders, and that is the reason many dealer employees simply don’t pay attention to them. Unfortunately, you can have the best electronic safeguards, but they may fail if employees do not observe basic protections that have been fundamental for three decades.
It is more important than ever to have employees in whom you can place trust. Adopt integrity policies that set out what you expect from your employees. Hire carefully. Take care you hire those who understand and agree to abide by your integrity policies, and train regularly on those policies.
It takes little to trigger a cataclysmic event. It is more important than ever that you hire those with no intention to harm your business that way.
Insurance companies are increasing their offerings to protect against cyber threats, but they are doing it in typical insurer fashion. There are limitations of and exclusions from coverage for many digital events. Insurance is important. If your dealership suffers a cataclysmic event, the digital insurance will be important in funding work to get you back into business. Insurance only works if it provides the coverage you expect. Consult an expert or a knowledgeable legal advisor about the terms of coverage to be sure you are getting what you believe you are paying for.