Major forces within the automotive industry and consumer activity are changing how your local car dealership operates. Perhaps the primary change is the need for a complete digital transformation. Consumers now use the Internet to research car-buying preferences almost 90% of the time before ever visiting a dealership.
This new manner of shopping, innovative new products and technology in modern automobiles, and industry pressure to remain relevant and profitable are forcing car dealerships to closely examine their IT strategy. As they investigate what is needed, they discover complex needs and problems with network efficiency.
These problems stem primarily from:
- Management of vendor relationships
- Awareness and accessibility to different technologies
- Implementation, integrations, and project management
- Risk factors
- Budgeting restrictions
What is Necessary for an Efficient Network?
Each industry and business will have its own particular needs that are tailored to their products and services. However, every industry will need these primary factors to maintain the most efficient Internet and networking infrastructure.
- Redundant connections with failover solutions
- Data security that includes separate network paths for public and private usage
- One interface to manage all communication tools
- Up-to-date technologies to support SaaS Applications
- Reliable, consistent uptime
- SLA Guarantees
The Unique Network Needs of Automotive Dealerships
Narrowing our focus down to the unique needs of car dealerships, we discover a few distinct factors they should address. MHO, experts in dedicated wireless Internet and networking solutions, provides some suggestions for car dealerships who need to build a better network.
Secure Network Perimeters
The nature of car dealerships encourages a great deal of customer foot traffic. The public can drive onto the property and cruise between rows of available vehicles or get out and walk around. Many will access the Internet to research the various models they see. Car dealerships should set up separate network paths for these public users and their private dealer-specific access. This will prevent legal vulnerabilities from network breaches and illegal information harvesting.
MHO recommends the following actions to provide a secure car dealership network perimeter:
- Email Gateway Security
- NAC-Network Access Control
- SIEM - Security Information and Event Management
- Two-factor authentication
- Firewall Diversity
- MDM - Mobile Device Management
- User Awareness Training
It is also in the nature of regular car dealership operations to have multiple users on the network at the same time, performing all manner of tasks. These can range from client communications to financial research to banking transfers. Automotive dealerships should utilize several different cooperating technologies to help them move data quickly and efficiently.
Moreover, due to the fact that many dealerships operate multiple locations, these technologies must include the ability to connect multiple locations into a single network, plus easily add new locations when needed.
MHO recommends these actions to improve and maintain the necessary level of reliable communications between dealership locations and their partners.
Invest in Sufficient Bandwidth
More data transfer and active users on the network means more bandwidth will be needed. Plus, the ability to quickly add bandwidth when necessary is another important factor to consider. If your ISP needs days or weeks to add more bandwidth, they are not ready to help you move at the speed of business.
An SD-WAN (Software-defined Wide Area Network) is a virtual networking architecture that allows a business to use any combination of transport services to securely connect users to applications. This cloud-friendly WAN securely and intelligently directs data traffic across the WAN for a high quality user experience. This increases productivity while reducing costs.
An SD-WAN allows a dealership to limit private lines for better savings, reduce time spent on resolving network issues, and manage all communications and passwords through a single interface.
Diversify the Network to Prevent Downtime
The principles of diversity and redundancy come into play in order to prevent downtime in the event of an unforeseen service outage. Briefly, this means different means of delivering two completely different and independent Internet and network connections to all dealership locations, with different hand-offs and media delivery to each site. Many businesses use Fixed Wireless as their primary or secondary networking solution.
Connect Efficiently to New Locations
New locations are key to automotive dealership success. As many dealership owners seek to diversify their brand offerings, they open new locations for each additional set of brands (Ford, GM, Audi, Toyota, etc.). Each of these locations are under the umbrella of the home base or primary location, but each requires its own LAN network and environment, cloud access, infrastructure, and data center. Much of this must be in place before the new location opens.
This case study features a car dealership with these needs and describes how MHO provided the needed solutions quickly and efficiently. If your car dealership needs to examine its Internet and networking solutions to meet increasing demands, call us at (877) WANT-MHO to schedule a consultation. Or, click the link below to check MHO's service availability!