Protecting Customer Information
Dealers keep their customers’ personal information on file for business purposes; however, there is a growing need for effective data security measures to prevent this information from falling into the wrong hands. The rising cost of cybercrime is expected to exceed $2 trillion by 2019, while a large number of consumers, 68%, don’t trust brands to handle their personal information appropriately.
- Limit Access to Customer Information. The fewer the people with a genuine need for access, the fewer the opportunities for hackers and social engineers to strike at a weak point.
- Collect Only What is Necessary. Collect only what you need for business purposes. It is important to understand who can access the data, how to secure access to sensitive information, and where the data is. Aside from electronic files, protect paper customer data as well. Make sure your confidential paper files are kept secure and in locked storage.
- Consider Destroying Data after You’ve Used It. If it there is no need to retain the data, destroy it by using a shredder or locked shredding bin. Electronic data should be deleted from the device.
- Make Customer Privacy Everyone’s Business. Customer security is far too critical to be the purview of a select few. Have a comprehensive security program and policy in place, and make sure everyone in your dealership understands it and, more importantly, adheres to it.
- Let Customers Know Their Information is Safe. Making certain that data is as safe as possible is critical, as is letting customers know exactly what you’re doing to make that happen. Be straight and to the point, rather than burying details in a long-winded privacy statement that few, if any, customers take the time to read.
Further, treat your privacy discussion as more than just a form of mandated disclosure. Instead, look at it as a marketing tool. The greater the effort you expend to protect customer information and the more people know about it, the greater the overall level of consumer comfort. And that can benefit your bottom line.
7. Update All Machines, Networks, and Printers with the Latest Technologies and Software. Have regularly updated security software installed in your computers. Partner with third party antivirus and anti-malware companies to provide regular automated updates. Also, have a configured firewall in place to screen incoming and outgoing traffic.
8. Control Data Access. Implement strong passwords to access customer data. Identify, restrict, and monitor staff levels of access to and usage of sensitive and confidential information.
9. Educate Your Staff on Data Protection. It is essential to create a culture of security within your company. Your staff need to know the possible risks and vulnerabilities, how to constantly protect customer information, and what to do in case of a data breach.
10. Dispose of Paper Waste Properly. Paper documents should be shredded or disposed in secure bins to avoid any possible security breaches.