In light of the recent Facebook data breach, I thought it was an appropriate time to discuss the importance of data security and taking measures to ensure your dealership is protected. Data leaks aren’t necessarily the biggest challenge — it’s what happens to your data after it gets into the wrong hands. If your data is exposed, you have no way of tracking its whereabouts or (mis)usage. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to data security:
1. Is your website secure?
You should have an SSL certification for your website, which ultimately means that your URL will show up as HTTPS instead of HTTP. A website built on secure HTTPS technology means that your data, and your customers’ information, is safe and secure when it is transmitted across the Internet.
2. Is your transactional data secure?
EMV chip card compliant technology (Europay, MasterCard and Visa — the three organizations that initiated the standard) is now a requirement for credit card processing in order to protect your dealership from the liability of credit card fraud. EMV technology secures transactional data during processing so it’s less susceptible to counterfeiting, and the data is safely passed over a secure connection. If you haven’t looked in to chip card compliant terminals for your dealership, you should check them out.
3. Where is your data being stored?
If the only place your data exists is saved on a server in your dealership, you may want to consider a back-up plan. If something happens to your server (heaven forbid), all of your data will be lost. When your data is stored in the cloud, it’s likely backed up in multiple locations, providing redundancy and optimal performance for your dealership. Take for example Microsoft's renowned security system - it features centers of excellence that fight digital crime, respond to security incidents and combat threatening software.
4. Do you have control over your DMS data?
Have you ever tried to run a report, but you don’t have the necessary level of access? It’s your data — why are you being denied access? This is common with many DMS providers; compounded by the fact that some will sell your data to third parties. Not only do you have restricted access, your data is being shared without your knowledge. Unfortunately, it may be with your consent - check the fine print of your agreement to see what you signed off on.
With so many large companies experiencing breaches, it may seem like it takes rocket science to protect data. Everyone has a responsibility to protect, and respect, private data, whether it's Facebook, your vendors or your dealership. It takes diligence and the attention to the right details. And, having partners that look out for your dealership who are committed to protecting the data they are entrusted with is a must.