Experian’s Data Breach Resolution Group, a division of the consumer credit reporting company, recently issued their 2019 Data Breach Industry Forecast. While the report was full of important information, it made me wonder if the retail automotive industry is suffering from “Hurricane Syndrome.” You know the scenario. Weeks in advance, the weather pundits issue warnings that a hurricane is coming. Only a few people pay attention. A week before landfall, the cone of probability is posted. Most people continue to go about their business. Two days before landfall, winds are picking up and early rain bands are hitting. Some people might check the pantry and fuel gauge. Then the hurricane hits with full fury, flooding ensues, roofs are blown off, and emergency services are tapped out. In the aftermath, local news reporters interview victims who say, “We didn’t think it would be that bad!”
It’s been 13 years since the first major data breach impacted a US financial institution. According to the Experian report, the scale of data breaches in 2018 was staggering, with the number of compromised records in the first half of 2018 exceeding those for the entire previous year. Despite major security advancements, cybercriminals and black-hat hackers continue to wreak havoc on businesses. With automotive dealers and lenders moving further toward online sales, the risk of a data breach increases exponentially. While the industry must embrace this growing trend, dealers must also break out of their own data security Hurricane Syndrome.
While the Experian report is broad reaching, two predictions have specific application to retail automotive. Continue reading