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Is Your Dealership Physically Secure?

You’ve taken the news about the rise in cybersecurity threats seriously. You know that small businesses are now targeted just as often as bigger ones, and that cyber criminals are more sophisticated than ever before. Before you congratulate yourself on a job well done, however, make sure you’ve taken note of another part of your dealership: its security against social engineering. Savvy hackers can slip in and acquire vital information in the blink of an eye. You want to make sure that your dealership is safe against them! Asking yourself these critical questions can help raise your dealership’s security levels and protect against threats.

What do your employees do when they walk away from the computer? Each employee is responsible for the computer that they use throughout the day, and they need to make sure that it’s secure. You don’t want a random “customer” to be able to walk in and access all of your systems! In order to keep your systems safe, salespeople need to be conditioned to log out of their machines every time they walk away. This includes both trips around the showroom or outside to deal with customers, but it also includes the moments when they must step away from the desk while processing a customer’s paperwork. Make sure every employee knows not to walk away from the computer while a program is running: better to take a little more time to get a customer out the door than to risk a security breach!

Where are passwords stored? Whether you’re talking about individual employee logins or you use a business account with the same login information for every employee, it defeats the purpose of a password if it’s written down anywhere near the desk–or, for that matter, written down anywhere that someone could potentially access it. Many employees, especially those who are required to use several different passwords over the course of the day or who need to change them regularly, resort to writing them down in an effort to remember them. Unfortunately, this can lead to serious problems if a hacker is able to access those written notes. Passwords should never be taped to the monitor, tucked under the keyboard, or held in a desk drawer–and these are only a few of the locations where savvy hackers will look, given even a minute alone with the system.

What do you do with “found” items? If you find a flash drive lying on the ground, what’s the policy? If your answer is, “Plug it into the computer to see if you can discover who it belongs to,” you’ve just won your entire company a virus–and if you don’t act quickly, the results could be devastating. Instead, keep flash drives in a “lost and found” location and see if someone comes to identify them.

Is any of your equipment portable? Laptops and tablets are very convenient. You can use them from anywhere: floating workstations, taking them out to deal with customers outside, or at the privacy of a desk. Unfortunately, laptops and tablets are also easier to steal than desktop devices. If you use them, make sure that they’re secure at all times. This is especially important if these devices go home with members of the team at the end of the day, where they might be even more vulnerable.

There are plenty of people in and out of your dealership every day. You never know when one of them could be a potential threat. By taking these steps to protect yourself, you can help prevent those visitors from acquiring access to sensitive financial systems or your dealership’s files. Need more help raising your cybersecurity? Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Author: Pete Maclnnis

Author Bio: Pete brings over 37 years of experience in automotive finance and technology as Founder and CEO of eLEND Solutions.  Founded in 2003 as DealerCentric, eLEND Solutions is an automotive FinTech company specializing in online and in-store digital credit, identity and finance solutions designed to create a more efficient and profitable vehicle purchase process for the retail automotive industry. 

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