Are Your Dealerships' IT Systems Secure?

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The Problem: Possiblility of Data Breach

Misty Lerch, automotive industry professional since 1993 and controller of two dealerships in Amarillo, Texas - Street Toyota and Street Volkswagen – had experienced physical security issues in the past. But, after an internal employee threat, she realized she was unprepared for the possibility of a data breach.

Controller’s Responsibility:

One of Misty’s responsibilities as the controller of one of the top dealership groups in her area is to collect sensitive information from a large database of customers who invest their trust into her brand. She commonly deals with physical security threats such as an incident when a news station was going through local dealerships’ trash. Misty protected against this threat by employing a service for the removal of printed files. 

Customer Data:

There was still uncertainty surrounding the security of digital customer information―including the personal and financial information given when a customer purchases a car.

The Solution: Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

A local VAR, Frenzel Computer Services, told Misty about one of their partners, a managed security service provider (MSSP), who specializes in security for large distributed networks―including dealerships. Misty was impressed with what she heard, especially that the MSSP was GLBA and PCI compliant, and would regularly provide audit reports.

Through Frenzel, Misty employed Nuspire Networks to monitor all network activity going in and out of her dealerships’ systems while tracking for suspicious network activity.

After employing Nuspire, Misty reports she has had zero complaints on the service and security the company provides to her dealerships and customers.

The Impact of the Solution on the Dealerships

1) Peace of Mind: Employing an MSSP gives Misty peace of mind. She says she is reassured someone is always watching her network. Even more, Misty commends Nuspire for their proactive ability to recognize threats and correlate events before there is opportunity for foul play.

2) Protection for the Dealership: The solution saves Misty from potentially embarrassing or reputation-harming issues, and protects the integrity of her online marketing streams―a vital channel for dealerships today.

3) Countering a Hacker: This was true when Nuspire informed her of an employee who clicked on an unsafe link, allowing a hacker to seize the computer and send out spam. Nuspire alerted Misty of the situation and resolved it before her customer base received sham emails from her dealership.

4) Deals with External Threats: Nuspire also provides Misty’s dealerships protection from external threats, something of high value, as her management system is under a separate umbrella and the company deals with a number of certifying third parties. The solution and service also ensures Misty’s dealerships are PCI compliant.

5) Employing IT Security Team: In addition to 24-hour security monitoring, using an MSSP solution saves Misty the expense of employing an entire IT security team, made up of five or six employees, to manage a dealership’s network. It would be much harder for an internal security team to provide the same amount of tracking or expertise as a round-the-clock MSSP. MSSPs make it their job to adjust and understand the ever-changing threat landscape - which becomes somewhat of a daunting undertaking for a small team.

Who Provided the Solution?

Nuspire Networks, a state-of-the-science MSSP, deploys specialized network monitoring and management services that go far beyond firewall maintenance and IDS monitoring. The company uses security information and event monitoring that combine and sort network data in real-time into actionable alerts investigated and mitigated by trained network security analysts.

The company offers customizable solutions for managing each client’s security posture, and even provides controls for compliance concerns such as PCI, HIPAA, SOX, and GBLA—a selling point for Misty Lerch and businesses who extend credit, such as dealerships.