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Who needs hackers when physical data is so easy to obtain?

By:  Sam Flores

Every dealership runs the risk of someone obtaining unauthorized information which could be potentially harmful to the store or more importantly, its customers. You might think potential breaches in data security these days is isolated to hackers gaining access to your computer systems.  But a great deal of risk still exists from the deficiencies in the security of physical sources of information, such as copies of credit applications left on a sales desk, drivers licenses left on the copier, deal files left in an unlocked F&I office.  I am surprised at the number of times I have walked into a dealership storage room or office containing easy access to sensitive information simply because it appeared as if “I belonged” or was permitted to be there.

Simple tips to minimize the unauthorized access include: ensuring than all offices and storage areas are kept locked and displaying sufficient and appropriate signage instructing dealership visitors to accessible areas, such as bathrooms and waiting areas. These will reduce the number of “wanderers” in your facilities. It is also very useful to use velvet ropes or other barriers in areas that are heavily trafficked but are limited to employees such as near the DMS terminals and cash registers.

Remember, a person looking to compromise your security will typically be inconspicuous.

Ultimately, safeguarding dealership data is not possible without the full support of an informed staff, trained on the proper methods of securing personal information out of the reach of unauthorized persons.  Employees should be observant of visitors’ behavior and vigilant while maintaining a high level of professional courtesy. A simple step is to simply question someone who appears to be “out of place” in an area not designated for their specific visit, (ie plumber in the storage office, customer in the accounting office).  No amount of training and/or use of security measures can fully prevent your dealership from being a victim, but these few tips will serve as steps in the right direction.


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