Spring break is a time for many families to relax from school and work, potentially even take that long overdue family vacation to the beach. Just imagine you’re relaxing under the warm sun; you can hear the ocean waves rolling and crashing. All your stress is washing away. Coming home from vacation is always bittersweet, but what if you approached your front door only to notice shards of glass scattered across the ground? The front door is slightly ajar and when you step inside, you’re met with a chaotic mess of all your belongings strewn across the room. This would be the start to a very bad day, weeks or even months.
Now consider how this might have played out differently if you had a security system in place. As soon as the window broke or the door was jimmied open, several things would have happened at once … your alarm would have blared, potentially scaring off the intruders, you would have been alerted and police would have been notified. This could have been a much different outcome.
From Home Security to Dealership Cybersecurity
A similar concept can be applied to your dealership when it comes to cybersecurity.
A lack of cyber protection or simply outdated, misused tools will follow a similar storyline as the above example. The attackers will infiltrate your system behind the scenes while your dealership carries on normal day-to-day business operations. You’ll have no idea it’s happened or what they are doing, until one day, you arrive at work and all systems are down. You’ll spend days, weeks or even months trying to recover your data and get back up and running. And you could spend months, or even years, recovering from reputation damage.
Did you know, last year the average cost of a cyberattack was $4.35 million1? That’s a lot of money. Here’s what goes into that number: the cost of lost business (ranging from days to months), of detection and escalation, of post-breach response, and notification. You also have to consider your reputation … 84% of consumers have said they would not return to a business that experienced a breach2, and how many of their friends, family and co-workers will they share that experience with?
In the home security example above, the security is still reactive. The break-in happens and then you and the police are notified. By the time anyone gets there, some of your stuff is probably still stolen. Your cybersecurity program should take a proactive approach that includes 24/7/365 monitoring so that potential threats are detected before they inflict irreparable damage.
Proactive Dealership Cybersecurity
Many people believe that simply having a firewall is enough protection for their network. That just isn’t the case anymore. A proactive approach involves many different tools, acting in concert, having well-trained employees defend the network and continuously monitoring your systems. So, how does a proactive cybersecurity approach work?
Today, email is the number one cyberattack method. Because email is so widely used, it has become the easiest entry point to your system. If a malicious email makes it to your inbox, the first line of defense stopping the ransomware from reaching your network is the person sitting on the other side of the monitor.
That’s right, it starts with you, your team, every employee in your dealership. A well-trained, security-aware employee can prevent an attack from ever beginning! Educating your team should include information security best practices, how to spot a malicious email and what to do if one shows up in their inbox.
In addition to security-aware employees, using various technical solutions will only further protect your store, such as advanced email filtering, which could filter out potential phishing emails from even getting through, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and a good firewall. EDR, which is the next generation of anti-virus software, will help stop or mitigate the spread of malware through your network. A good firewall may prevent malware from entering the network as well.
A proactive cybersecurity program will combine these human and technical factors with AI-driven learning and 24/7/365 monitoring to not only identify, but also learn the behaviors of potential threats as attackers use new and changing techniques. This will help your cyber program stay one step ahead of the attackers so threats can be handled before they inflict damage to your network or infrastructure.
The Impact of Cybersecurity on You
Protecting your dealership from cybercrime is not as hard as it sounds — with help from the right partner that is able to provide 24/7/365 cybersecurity monitoring and advanced security measures as well as knows automotive. Being proactive about cybersecurity is much cheaper and less painful than suffering the consequences of a breach. You don’t have to wait for this to happen to you.
1: IBM, Cost of a data breach 2022
2: Total Dealer Compliance