Security Breaches: How your dealership can avoid becoming the next victim

If you've been paying attention to the news in the past year or so, you've likely heard about the alarming rise in security breaches at large companies such as Target, Neiman Marcus and The Home Depot. If you have worries about your organization becoming another victim, fear not. There are some simple steps that you can take to secure your systems.

1. Make sure your employees are properly trained on Internet safety
You may think that clicking on a link from an unknown sender may be common sense, but unfortunately for many companies who have become security breach victims, it is not. Hold regular Internet safety training seminars to teach employees about the dangers of clicking on seemingly innocuous links – they could lead to making your entire system (proprietary information included) vulnerable to a scammer.

Additionally, fraudsters have become highly sophisticated and are able to replicate reputable organizations' email templates. One way to tell if a link is malicious or safe is to hover over the link; it will show you the destination address. If it looks suspicious in any way, don't click on it.

2. Pay attention to any software warnings
As stated in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, "... buying software to protect against hackers is a good idea. Using the software is a better one." The Home Depot and Target both had software systems in place to protect them against malware and issue warnings when a suspected breach had occurred, but they both allegedly ignored the warnings.

3. Get a security assessment
As a dealership, you have personal identifying information on file for your customers, such as social security and driver's license numbers. A security breach could not only release this information to hackers, it could also cause your customers to lose their trust in your business. Test your systems before the bad guys do it for you. From one as simple as an external penetration test all the way to an assessment as comprehensive as an advanced IT security review, these tests will measure the strength of your systems and controls.

Some simple questions to ask yourself:

  • Does my organization leverage online banking applications on a PC, smartphone or tablet?
  • Do we allow mobile devices not owned by the enterprise to access enterprise email or our network?
  • Do we have any wireless networks deployed in our environment?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, it's likely time to get your system tested for possible weaknesses.

Security breaches on IT systems do happen, but a lot can be learned from these retailers' mistakes. If you have further questions about how to protect your system, contact us today.

About the Author
Jessica Dore is a senior manager in Rehmann's technology risk management group. She can be contacted at or at 989.797.8391.

Published in Dealerships

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