Ignore cyber security at your peril

A company’s reputation is a valuable asset - just ask anyone at Volkswagen. It doesn’t take much for the mighty to fall, and while the reasons for VW’s actions might take a while to unravel, mistakenly selling a clocked car, for example, could prove equally expensive at retailer level.

Mistakes can happen, but you can also ensure they are minimised by establishing best practice procedures and training staff to a high standard.

Transgressing selling regulations is one thing, but have you considered the integrity of your computer systems? The news coverage of Talk Talk’s data hack can’t have escaped you, but if you think it’s not your concern your complacency could prove harmful to your company’s reputation.

Think about it for a moment: your systems hold employee, customer, supplier and prospect data. That’s potentially a lot of personal information, not to mention the financial data related to the business and sales transactions. Is it secure?

Apologies if this post-Halloween scaremongering might sound a bit over the top but it’s a question worth asking. If a large telecommunications company is vulnerable to attack then so is any business. 

IT is often perceived to be the dull but expensive element of a business, which is why it can suffer from underinvestment. Furthermore, it’s surprising how many people aren’t as computer literate as you’d expect, especially when it comes to good practice regarding passwords and sharing sensitive information. 

The harsh reality is that it only takes a moment to expose a company’s online and technology weaknesses, but rebuilding a damaged reputation can cost time and money. Even if they seem ambivalent to what goes on behind the scenes, the public’s reaction to Talk Talk’s problems prove that they do put a value on trust, privacy and integrity.

Iain Dooley

Editor, Agenda

Auto Retail Network

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