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DAYTON, Ohio — With reports of security breaches and data swipes making headlines in various business sectors throughout the U.S., the importance of ensuring a secure dealership management system has never been larger.

The result of a data breach is not pretty, possibility leading to legal and compliance entanglements.

To ensure that its dealer clients have a secure system, Reynolds and Reynolds announced it upgraded its ERA DMS over the last 18 months.

"Our focus remains providing our customers with the solutions and technologies that best meet their business needs and help them operate more effectively," said Trey Hiers, vice president of corporate marketing at Reynolds.

"As a result, we continue to enhance the capabilities of the ERA system to deliver newer, more advanced functions for dealership management," he added. "Increasingly, those enhancements include improving secure access to the DMS and the data in it."

Earlier this year, Reynolds finalized the installation of newer, more secure Internet-based connections at all customer sites as a means of communicating with the ERA DMS. This can enable Reynolds to deliver software releases and diagnostics faster and more efficiently to dealerships. The new connectivity replaces older, less secure telephone modem connections. 

Additionally, Reynolds has implemented improved DMS access protection through more sophisticated password management and encryption technologies to help dealerships ensure an authorized individual is accessing the system. 

New safeguards have been added in the ERA software to better protect the handling of sensitive consumer data sent to a printer or viewed on screen in the dealership, such as Social Security numbers and financial data.

Reynolds also continues to add features to help dealerships meet the requirements of state and federal compliance regulations for data security and privacy.

"We're pleased with our progress in enhancing the functionality and performance of the ERA DMS," Hiers said. "We've continued to improve system security so that dealerships are better able to know who accesses what data, when, and for what purposes. After all, there is as much personal and financial information in the DMS as there is in a bank, and none of us would be content for our bank to offer unmonitored access to our personal data. We'd expect the bank to assure us they know exactly who's pulling the data, where it's being sent, and how it's being used."