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Hiding in Plain Sight: What Dealers Don’t Know Can Hurt Them

Article Highlights:

  • A 3rd-party vendor was the source of the Target security breach.
  • "Protecting business and personal information is all the more daunting."

When the dust settled from the initial data security breach at Target stores, the way the hackers got into the company’s network turned out to be through a third-party vendor who managed the heating and air conditioning for Target stores. Ouch.

In a New York Times article in April, here’s how the writer framed the issue:

“Companies have always needed to be diligent in keeping ahead of hackers—email and leaky employee devices are an old problem—but the situation has grown increasingly complex and urgent as countless third parties are granted remote access…”

In commenting on the Target breach, the CEO of a network security firm said: “We constantly run into situations where outside service providers connected remotely have the keys to the castle.”

Combine the Target breach with the more recent news of the Heartbleed flaw in Internet security protocols and the very real, ongoing challenge of protecting business and personal information is all the more daunting.

In the “New Normal” of the automotive industry, where fewer dealerships now are serving a growing consumer population, this presents dealers with two challenges.

As dealerships focus more and more on reaching the right customers with the right message through the right channel, the importance of the data in their customer database increases—and so does the scrutiny over how the data is handled, protected, and used.

Reynolds and Reynolds Vice President of Data Services Bob Schaefer recently wrote a whitepaper that examines that scrutiny, where it is coming from, and why it will only intensify.

The whitepaper challenges conventional thinking around:

  • Whose data is it in the DMS anyway, and who is responsible for it?
  • The double burden that dealers carry concerning data that resides in the DMS.
  • How to draw the line on access to data in the DMS.
  • Why protecting data in the DMS is a shared responsibility.

The issues discussed in it will only gain more importance for all of us as the digital world continues to influence how consumers shop and how business gets done—especially in automotive retailing.

Whitepaper: Inviting Data Hackers to Lunch Without Knowing It

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Former President, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ron Lamb is the former president of Reynolds and Reynolds (2010-2017).

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