As dealerships share more information with outside companies via the Internet, Houston dealer Bruce Glascock has beefed up his data security.
Glascock, who owns Spring Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram with Alfred Flores, said he pulls data shared with the factory and his third-party vendors and puts the information on a separate computer -- away from the store's dealer management system.
When vendors need access to his DMS, he said he feels comfortable that his DMS provider, Reynolds and Reynolds, and his customer retention vendor, CAR-Research XRM, have made data security a priority.
The DMS is the software that runs the dealership, holding data from accounting and finance to inventory and customer transactions.
"The industry is very nervous about data security," Glascock said.
CAR-Research, with nearly 1,000 dealer customers, says it doesn't share dealer data and only uses the information as authorized by its dealer customers, said Patrick Kelly, president of CAR-Research. CAR-Research sends sales and service notices for dealers to customers and car shoppers.
Another exhibitor here, DMS vendor Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, is launching a security protection program called Guard/Mate. Under the program, Auto/Mate audits vendors in its customers' DMS and tells dealers what information is being pulled.
Auto/Mate CEO Mike Esposito said some vendors no longer under contract to a dealer can continue pulling data from the dealer's system without knowledge of the staff.
Reynolds and Reynolds has ruffled feathers at some dealerships and vendors in recent months by shutting out vendors that have not been certified to access the dealer DMS that Reynolds provides.