Identity theft associated with auto loans and leases increased 43 percent in the last year. In fact, security researchers recently discovered an unsecure online database with vehicle, sales and customer information on 10 million cars sold in the U.S.

From Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) to payment information, car dealerships house extremely sensitive data that can be of high value to thieves. Below, we explain how to protect sensitive information at your car dealership.

Keep Cyber Security a Top Priority

Car dealerships hold an immense amount of valuable data, including:

  • Customer information: Full name, address, phone numbers, emails, birthdates, social security numbers and employment details.
  • Sales data: Payment type, purchase price, payment plan details and income information.
  • Vehicle details: Make, model, VIN, year, color and mileage.

Since most of this information is now stored digitally, cyber security is a must. Consider the following practices:

Implement Physical Security Safeguards

In addition to cyber security controls, physical safeguards should also be a top concern. This means installing security equipment, such as:

  • Surveillance cameras to help you monitor all aspects of your business, including employees, customers and inventory.
  • Monitored alarms that will notify you and the authorities the minute a break-in occurs.
  • Access control technology will help you limit access to certain areas of your dealership. This can include offices, storage rooms or other areas where you keep sensitive assets.
  • Window/door sensors that will trigger audible and visual alarms in the event of a break in.
  • Indoor and outdoor lights can help keep your employees and customers safe during nighttime hours, as well as thwart off intruders by uncovering dark hiding spaces outside your dealership.

Use the cyber practices and equipment outlined here to help keep your dealership information secure. Additionally, always work with a trusted security vendor to find a solution that fits all aspects of your dealership.