How to Improve Cybersecurity at Your Dealership in 10 Steps 

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Any organization is susceptible to cyberattacks. And for those who infrequently revisit and augment their security plan, it will only be a matter of time before the next breach happens. 

In recent years, dealerships have become a primary target for hackers because they now gather more consumer data than ever before – a lot of which is considered sensitive. Unfortunately, many of them need help with how to improve cybersecurity and safeguard against these attacks and require some guidance. 

This article outlines ten steps these dealers might take to boost cybersecurity and protect their customer’s personal information. 

How to Improve Cybersecurity in 10 Steps 

1. Update Software Regularly and Back Up Files 

 Dealers should update their operating systems, web browsers, and apps. IT staff should set up automatic updating or buy security software to ensure automatic updates. Dealers should also back up crucial documents offline on an external hard drive or in the cloud and store those paper documents safely. 

2. Restrict Administrative Access 

Users who have administrative access can install new software and create new users. Non-IT personnel, however, should not have administrative privileges. IT staff should also minimize the use of administrative accounts for routine activities.  

3. Encrypt Sensitive Information 

 IT staff should encrypt all data that contains sensitive personal information. This information may be on mobile devices, laptops, cloud storage, and portable drives, so securing it at the source is critical.

4. Require Strong Passwords 

Dealers should include access passwords on all work-related mobile devices and laptops. This password should require at least ten characters, including capital and lowercase letters, punctuation, and numbers. 

Staff should never share this password over phone conversations, text messages, or emails. To avoid password-guessing attacks, IT staff should limit failed login attempts. 

5. Include Multifactor Authentication 

Dealers should implement multiple ways for the computer system to recognize a staff member. Requiring a password to access a computer is commonplace today, but a one-factor authentication requires an intruder only to need the password to hack into the system. 

Instead, IT teams should implement a multifactor authentication that requires at least two factors, including a PIN delivered to an associated mobile device or a fingerprint. 

6. Install an Email Gateway 

Most cybersecurity attacks begin with phishing emails, necessitating an email gateway for web and email scanning. The gateway stops all incoming emails and reviews them for harmful content before releasing them to the recipient’s inbox. 

7. Integrate Endpoint Protection 

Many cyberattacks occur at a workstation, where hackers try to trick users into installing malware, also known as an attack at the endpoint. 

However, dealers can now access endpoint protection software to combat these attacks. This technology is critical because it proactively detects and isolates a piece of malware or virus before the user downloads it. 

8. Provide Periodic Security Training 

Creating an ongoing training program for employees may foster a security culture. Management should require this training for all employees, including topics on newly developing threats. 

For example, dealers might schedule training to alert staff when IT becomes aware of new hazards and vulnerabilities. Internal training using IT staff as moderators is a cost-friendly means of helping in the defense against cyberattacks. 

9. Update the Firewall 

The technology in dealerships – including firewalls – often needs to be updated. The scope of what older firewalls can search for and how far they can delve into the information systems are constrained.  

However, updated firewalls are better equipped to isolate problems, remove potentially dangerous data, and only grant access to non-malicious data and communications. 

10. Keep an Eye on Vendor Security Measures 

The FTC Safeguards Regulation requires that all vendors and service providers dealers follow the requirements for protecting customer information. 

As such, dealers should frequently evaluate vendors to ensure they maintain sufficient measures to secure customer data. 

Combine Your Upgraded Security Software with the Industry’s Premier Lead Generation and Retention Solutions 

All dealers must learn how to improve cybersecurity by reviewing currently deployed processes and finding areas for improvement. While revamping a security strategy can feel overwhelming, these ten steps can help you secure your dealership’s cyber defenses by identifying and eliminating potential risks before they become harmful. 

However, having data to protect requires generating leads and converting them to active customers. Your dealership needs the industry’s best digital marketing solutions to help you target the right audience, create awareness, and create long-term customer relationships. 

Contact us today and learn how Affinitiv’s proprietary digital solutions can help you reach your target audience and attract more potential customers to your dealership. 

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