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Absolute Security for Auto Dealerships: Preparing for the FTC Safeguards Rule
Jan 16, 2023

As an auto dealer, your top priority is providing an easy buying experience and selling cars.  Soon your top priority, per the FTC, is ensuring your customer’s personal and financial information is handled safely and securely. With the increasing threat of cyber-attacks and data breaches, it’s more important than ever to have strong security measures in place to protect your business and customers.  But, we say you should have both, well making it easy to sell cars should always be your top priority…so long as the customer information is secure.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of security for auto dealerships when it comes to following the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Safeguards Rule and the potential risks of using apps like WhatsApp, texting, or email for communication and file sharing as well as the benefits of implementing end-to-end encryption for your dealership.  Ultimately we’ll tell you that dealerships using Botdoc exceed the FTC safeguards rule AND make it easy for your staff and customers!

The FTC Safeguards Rule

The FTC Safeguards Rule requires financial institutions, including auto dealerships, to take appropriate measures to protect customer information. This includes having a written information security plan and regularly testing and monitoring the effectiveness of your security measures.

While following the Safeguards Rule is essential in protecting your dealership and customers, more is needed. It’s also crucial to consider how personal and financial information is shared with customers and within your dealership.

If you want to ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest Safeguards Rule procedures, check out our car dealership cyber security checklist here. Remember, these revised rules will go into effect on June 9, 2023 – so if you don’t have a plan, now is the time.

The Importance of Cybersecurity for Dealerships

A data breach or cyber-attack can have severe consequences for the dealership and the customer.

For the dealership, a data breach can result in significant financial losses and damage to the dealership’s reputation. Customers may lose trust in the dealership and take their business elsewhere, leading to decreased sales and profits. In addition, the dealership may face legal action and fines if it’s found to have inadequate security measures in place.

For customers, a data breach can have even more severe consequences. Personal and financial information that is compromised can lead to identity theft, fraudulent activity, and a host of other problems. Customers may suffer financial losses and experience significant stress and inconvenience as they work to resolve the issue.

Given the potential risks, auto dealerships must prioritize cybersecurity and take steps to protect both their business and their customers. By following the FTC’s Safeguards Rule and implementing end-to-end encryption with Botdoc, you can ensure your auto dealership security measures include all necessary precautions to keep sensitive information secure.

The Risks of Using Apps like WhatsApp

Many dealerships use text messages or “secure” apps like WhatsApp to communicate and exchange files with customers….you have the barrier of making it mandatory for your customers to use a tool they may not use. Furthermore,  while these apps may be convenient for sharing information, they can put both the dealership and the customer at risk because they store the information and are accessible on your dealership staff’s personal devices.

The biggest issue with apps like WhatsApp is that customers must download the app and have a login to participate in communications and file exchange. This can be a significant hurdle for some individuals, as they may need more time to be comfortable downloading a new app or may need the necessary technology to do so. This can lead to frustration and potentially cause customers to look elsewhere for a dealership that offers more convenient communication and file-sharing options.

Even if the customer does download the app and successfully shares their personal and financial information with the salesperson, the data still needs to be entirely secure. The salesperson must then share this information with the finance team and other parties within the dealership, which means that it’s being passed from one person to another and can be copied or misused.

Apps like WhatsApp are not explicitly designed to secure sensitive information exchange. While they may have some security measures, they are less robust than those designed to protect personal and financial data. This leaves both the dealership and the customer vulnerable to potential data breaches.

But lets be honest….if it has added steps your staff and customers will ALWAYS choose what is easiest if there is added friction…and that is unsecured texting and email.  We all know its true.

End-to-End Encryption: A Better Solution

To ensure security for car dealerships and customers’ data, it’s essential to implement end-to-end encryption. This means that the information is encrypted from the point of origin to its final destination, and authorized parties can only access it.

Botdoc’s end-to-end encrypted solution allows customers to securely share their personal and financial information with the dealership without requiring a login, pin, password, or app download. This creates fewer hurdles for the customer and ensures their data is fully protected throughout the process.

With Botdoc, you can eliminate the need for customers to download an app and streamline the process of communication and file sharing. This can improve the customer experience and build trust with your dealership. Additionally, the end-to-end encryption provided by Botdoc ensures that your customer’s personal and financial information is fully protected, reducing the risk of data breaches and protecting both your dealership and your customers.

There is a cultural issue to overcome for every dealership in 2023.  The culture for decades has been grabbing IDs, Insurance cards, W2’s, pay stubs, birth certificates etc, all over normal texting and email.  Because that is whats easy and there were no regulations.  So Dealerships and software providers have to either break that culture and fundamentally change the instinctual tendencies of thousands of sales staff before 9 June OR leverage technology that lives and operates where they operate today.  I like the latter.

Improve Your Car Dealership Security with Botdoc

In just minutes, dealerships can set up Botdoc’s solution and receive driver’s licenses, bank account information, and more from customers without using pins, passwords, logins, accounts, apps, or software to download. Doing all of this through text and email, means that they have used for decades, minimizes operational impacts without having to change the culture of your staff.

Your dealership can reduce operational friction and close more sales faster, with less human error than What’s App or other “secure” solutions.  Providing a better customer experience is a Botdoc mission, giving customers more time and minimizing friction in their day-to-day business operations. — Botdoc offers secure file transport with end-to-end encryption.

Don’t leave your dealership vulnerable to data breaches – take the necessary steps to protect your business and customers. Let Botdoc help your dealership comply with the FTC safeguards rule and help you avoid a costly penalty.

Human relationships will always sell. Don’t replace your current processes with technology, augment them as an extension of your human relationship.  That’s Botdoc.