Dealerships Need Solutions to Protect Rule and Cyber Threats
Becky Brinson recalls the phone call she received at 4 a.m. to tell her that a pipe had burst at her dealer group’s store in Tallahassee, Florida.
Nobody wants to deal with that mess of water and debris in a showroom, but what was more upsetting was the destruction of computers and tablets filled with vital dealer and customer information, says Brinson , chief financial officer of Peter Boulware Toyota.
“It completely flooded my showroom and we lost 19 computers,” she told Wards. “I needed help immediately.”
Brinson had previously contracted with Proton Dealership IT for various services. This relationship resulted in Proton specialists traveling to the dealership, ordering computers, setting up the IT infrastructure, and working on the project until everything was up and running.
Even those who don’t have a disaster can avoid one by contracting with Proton or a similar service, Brinson says. The company offers products and services such as cyber security, cyber incident response, employee awareness training, vulnerability assessments and security monitoring to keep dealerships running smoothly and efficiently. Brinson is one of the dealerships that has outsourced its IT department.
Additional digital documentation and protections are among the many facets of the Federal Trade Commission’s safeguard rule that goes into effect on December 9. NADA defines the backup rule as “a significant number of new and expanded procedural, technical and personnel requirements that financial institutions, including brokers, must meet to meet their information security obligations”.
Beyond this FTC regulation, cybersecurity threats have cost businesses millions of dollars and dealerships are becoming prime targets. Proton has worked with dealerships and the FBI on ransomware cases to recover data and restore business operations.
“What they do is different from having an in-house IT person is they give you multiple levels of support,” Brinson says. “In other words, instead of one person who can fix a printer or install a computer, you have a whole team of people who take care of your infrastructure, your security and everything you need .”
This was especially welcome when the dealer group purchased a store in South Carolina. Brinson and his colleagues only had 60 days to finalize the purchase and configure the systems so they could start doing business. She adds that Proton was on the scene almost immediately, inspecting the property, analyzing the necessary infrastructure, ordering equipment, setting up phone service, managing the internet and more.
“They handled all that part of the stuff that I would have had to do with my not-so-good level of expertise,” she said.
Of particular interest to many dealers is that IT outsourcing ensures compliance with most, if not all, of the requirements of the FTC Backup Rule.
Reynolds & Reynolds, the largest automotive retail management company, which provides many services including software development and implementation, recently acquired Proton.
Chris Walsh, who became president of Reynolds & Reynolds in January, says dealers who haven’t jumped on data security should do so immediately.
“We are very concerned about the protection of this data, whether it is in transit, at risk or at rest,” he says. “This has been our mission for a long time. If there’s one company out there that can help us become even better than we already are at it…it’s (this will be especially important) after December 9th. It will just continue to grow in importance.
Greg Uland, vice president of brand marketing for Reynolds, says dealerships need a range of tools in place before Dec. 9. Reynolds is among those who stress this importance to dealerships despite their busy schedules.
“It’s a very, very nice (program) for someone like me who doesn’t have time to figure out the cyber insurance questionnaires for security that credit card providers and banks need now,” says Brison. “When I receive a 40-page questionnaire, I send it to them. They know our infrastructure. They know our safety. They know everything. That’s one less thing I have to worry about. »