Big data is big business

Data is a not a new thing – computers have been storing data for 79 years – but it’s a new, and serious, concern for bodyshops.

That was the message of Kevern Thompson of CAPS, who told delegates at IBIS Ireland 2017 that the torrents of data flowing through their businesses is their responsibility.

He pointed out that in May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation will be introduced, which means the data controller can be penalised for security breaches if they are deemed to negligent in terms of security.

This, he said, will change the game and bodyshops need to be prepared.

He said, ‘If you were going to be a thief today, you’d steal data, because data is the easiest and most profitable thing to steal. It doesn’t just get sold once, it gets sold multiple times. Data in any form is a commodity, and if something is worth something then someone will try to steal it and they’ll go to the end of the world to do it.’

Kevern explained that the threat is now considerable, and the solutions meant to tighten security haven’t necessarily achieved that aim. For example, he said that data storage devices such as USB sticks, have decreased over time, which has actually increased the risk of theft.

He continued, ‘Cloud storage was meant to stop data theft, but it’s not data floating around in clouds which no one can access. It’s a static storage system.’

The particular danger for bodyshops is that the volume of data they are handling is increasing, as are the number of access points, but the traditional skill sets within bodyshops may not necessarily lend themselves to IT security.

Kevern said, ‘We all suffer from being complacent, we never think it will happen to us until it does. But data control has become a necessity for bodyshops. We’d like to just get on and repair the vehicle, we know that, but the data that comes through your shop is your responsibility. With that in mind, we all need to change the way we work.’

He warned of the various weak spots within their businesses. These included third parties using or having access to their equipment, and low level anti-virus protection leaving systems vulnerable to malware, ransoms and data mining.

Perhaps more importantly, he urged managers to remember that their employees are often one of the weakest links in the security chain. He recalled a number of examples where members of staff had sold databases for profit, and told managers to educate their workforce about the potential threats.

He concluded, ‘You as bodyshop owners have got something very valuable and I don’t think you appreciate the value of it.’

IBIS is only possible thanks to the support of headline partners AkzoNobel and Audatex, and partners Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Synergy.