Whether it’s managing inventory, sales, financing or parts, you are probably well aware of the important role your dealership management system plays in your day-to-day operations. However, it’s important to think about what all of this localized data means from a security standpoint.

A valuable resource to you could be even more profitable for data thieves looking to access customers’ personal information. You have a legal responsibility to do everything you can to protect the personal information given to you by customers. It is important that you evaluate the security of your dealer management system and address any problems that you find.

Your dealer management system stores a wealth of company and customer information that you have a legal responsibility to protect.


Why You Need Security

Since they are so frequently used, it’s easy to underestimate the value of the information that dealer management systems hold. The benefit of these systems is that they are all-encompassing, providing you with the simplicity of one main resource for all of your company’s clerical information.

Your dealer management system stores a wealth of company and customer information that you have a legal responsibility to protect.

Management systems help your business manage its inventory, put in orders to suppliers, pay employees, calculate sales and even calculate financing information for customers. All aspects of your business are touched by your management system.

A breach could mean the loss of important company data, such as payroll, sales and tax information, and customers’ personal and financial information. In the aftermath of a breach, not only could you face fines, but you could also be held liable for damages suffered by impacted customers.


Legal Responsibilities

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates businesses with respect to how they must protect customer information. Businesses that do not keep their management systems or other data storage systems secure and up to FTC standards can face hefty fines. If a breach occurs, the FTC also mandates how and when your business informs those whose information has been put at risk.


Protecting Your System

To prevent fines and other costs associated with data breaches, it is important that you institute a written security plan that outlines how you will protect customer information as well as how you will notify impacted parties in the event of a breach. You should also establish a program to evaluate the security of your system on an ongoing basis. Assign these duties to a competent employee so they can keep your security initiative on track for long-term success.

One important security feature to use is a firewall designed specifically to prevent any unauthorized access from outside of your network. However, be aware that as technology changes, data thieves will become more resourceful in bypassing new security measures. To prevent a faulty or outdated system from contributing to a breach, have you security features checked regularly by an IT specialist. Contact Valent Group, LLC for more information on technology and cyber security.


Information abstracted from Zywave’s “Risk Insights: Auto Dealership Management Systems” article.