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Do you run an auto dealership? Here’s how to keep your customers’ data secure

Posted February 13, 2018 by Lynn Brown


As an auto dealer, your customers count on you to protect their sensitive information. The documents stockpiled around your dealership – loan applications, driver’s license copies, insurance claims – could be all a fraudster needs to steal your customers’ identity and compromise your business.

If your customers’ information falls into the wrong hands, the chances are your customers will not return. Fifty per cent of Canadians say data privacy and security is an extremely important part of their vehicle purchasing decision, according to KPMG’s 2018 Global Automotive Executive Survey. Considering the reputational damage and loss of customers that come with a data breach, it’s no surprise the average organizational cost of a breach in Canada is over $5 million, according to IBM’s Ponemon Institute.

So, how do you make sure your customer data and your dealership’s reputation are secure? One of the easiest and most important first steps in protecting your business is to declutter.

That’s right. Tidy up your office!

A third of all data breaches in Canada in 2017 were caused by negligent employees, according to the Ponemon Institute. You or your employees could put your dealership at risk by simply tossing a driver’s credit report into the recycling bin, or walking away from a desk with your customer’s loan application exposed.

It’s easy to make your dealership more secure by making it clutter-free. Here are four tips to get you started:
  1. Introduce a Clean Desk Policy: Make it a rule that all employees must clear off their desk when they leave the office.
  1. Label and destroy: If you don’t have one already, create a document filing and labeling system in your dealership that tells you when you’re legally allowed to destroy sensitive documents. Then, make sure you destroy them!
  1. Practice “one in, one out” with electronics: Did your employees get new computers this year? Don’t stockpile the old ones. Securely destroy all hard drives and electronics that aren’t being used.
  1. Shred-it All: Establish a Shred-it All policy, where any documents that are no longer needed are shredded. This eliminates the risk that a confidential document ends up in the wrong hands.
 

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