Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail

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16.3.1. On-site

There are various ways that an organization can mitigate risk. These plans or solutions can be either on-site or off-site. On-site would be anything that physically exists on the premise of the dealership. Off-site could be anything from remote back-up of electronic information to a physical storage of information at a warehouse or safety deposit box.

Another factor in the resolution of risk is the amount of time that it takes to recover the information and reduce the impact of the occurrence. Below is a list of just some of the many ways that you can prepare for or recover from a disaster occurrence:

  • Hardware Loss – With regard to hardware loss there are several different options to accommodate this depending on the item to be replaced.

  • Secondary Server (HOT SWAP) – Having a duplicate server with the exact hardware, software, etc. This would allow the dealer to easily switch to the secondary server without excessive down time. This solution is only useful if the primary data does not reside on that server only. Another solution would be to have duplicate server running and have the data duplicated to it nightly.

  • Machine in storage (COLD SWAP) – Having an extra computer/server available on-site. This machine does not have any software loaded so it would take more time to load system information and get the computer up and running. This option only works if there is a plan set in place to get the software and other information installed. A few examples of these may be:

    • Drives

    • Computer Monitors

    • Keyboards

    • Video Cads

  • Fire protection - There are many things that you can do to protect your information on-site from fire. However before purchasing a fire-safe it is important to have a plan of the information or content that will be placed in the safe. There are various different types of fire-safes, and many of the lower end systems do not protect any electronic types of information, this would be CD’s, DVD’s, etc. Also before purchasing review the average storage information and determine the size needed.

  • Software - Another plan to set in place is to back-up software and software keys. Copies can be made of most software CD’s, but it must be understood that these cannot be used in addition to the existing software, only as a replacement if the original is lost. In addition to the actual CD there are Software keys, these come with all licensing types of software and should be written down somewhere for safe keeping. Make sure to keep these in a safe place because if these are used without permission the dealership could be liable in an audit.

  • Power Protection - With power protection there are various levels of protection, based on the type of disaster. Listed below are a few of the most common types of power protection:

  • Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) - A source of power that remains constant during a loss of power. These will last for a designated amount of time and can help reduce damage caused by sudden power loss.

  • Surge Protector – An appliance that reduces damage caused by sudden electrical spikes caused by nature or general electrical issues.

  • Generators – Used to supply power during an electrical outage. These can be for short term use. NOTE: This will not protect against damage caused by an outage. They will only allow for the restarting and continuance of business.

16.3.2. Off-site

Remote Backup and Disaster Recovery Service

Every dealership is exposed to potential destruction of their computer system by fire, flood, windstorm, etc. With the business operations of the dealership now so inextricably linked to their computer system, the lack of a provision for secure off-site backups and a disaster recovery plan can present a situation where a dealership’s operation is severely impacted. Performing complete daily backups of your database is absolutely critical to every dealership.

A “Remote Backup and Disaster Recovery Service” provides disaster recovery and automated daily backup and off-site storage service. The service ensures that your database backups are performed every day, without worry of tape and tape drive problems, and without any manual effort by your employees. An inefficient manual process can lead to missed backups, tape failures, and wasted time and effort.

The advantages of a remote backup and recovery service:

  • Personnel time spent administering daily tape backups is no longer necessary

  • Daily backups are completely automatic and unattended

  • Backup always get done

  • Tape and tape drive problems are significantly reduced

  • The daily backups are sent offsite to a secure facility, safe from fire, theft, or other hazard