Tackling Cybersecurity Threats

Hacking and cybersecurity concerns are not limited to high-profile businesses. Local businesses, especially dealerships can also be targets. Hackers continue to target dealerships because these businesses store sensitive customer information including names, bank accounts, credit cards, and social security numbers. A cyber breach could result in unrestricted access to dealership finances and thousands of customers’ personal information, which could lead to great financial damage and loss of consumer confidence and trust. Dealerships should review their cybersecurity practices and consider the following steps to keep their data and businesses safe.

Technology. All businesses should always use sound network security measures. For starters, every dealership should implement the use of firewalls to keep their network protected from the outside world. Additionally, dealerships should secure remote and wireless access. This includes separating guest and corporate Wi-Fi, using strong encryption, and changing passwords regularly. Remote access should also be regularly tracked and recorded. Finally, software patching should be done on a regular basis to ensure the network is completely updated and secure.

Policies. Dealerships should also develop and implement sound employee policies regarding cybersecurity and network protection. These policies should include complicated passwords, information back-up, and e-mail, anti-virus and mobile device usage policies that work to secure sensitive information. Dealerships should conduct robust pre-employment screening and have separation protocols in place to safeguard sensitive information when an employee leaves the dealership under any circumstances. The policies should also specify which employees have access to certain information, and require ongoing employee training on the latest cyberwarfare strategies.  A competent attorney can help review cybersecurity policies and contracts with IT professionals to help confirm appropriate protection is in place.

Insurance. Lastly, dealerships should consider cybersecurity insurance, as most standard commercial general liability insurance policies do not cover security breaches. Even a policy with a high deductible can be beneficial to a dealership to limit potential exposure in a cyber-attack. When purchasing cyber-liability insurance, the dealership should consult with their agent or attorney to confirm understanding of the policy definitions and exemptions, and ensure favorable coverage.

The bottom line is that no dealership or small business is safe from a cyberattack. You should begin to take preventative steps now steps to protect your dealership and customer data from a potential cybersecurity threat.

For questions or more information about this topic, please contact the authors of this article or one of the attorneys in the Boardman & Clark dealership group.