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Staying Compliant: A Must-Read for Auto Dealers and the FTC SafeGuards Rule

Published on
May 22, 2024
Elizabeth Reed

Content Marketing Manager


  • Auto dealerships must adhere to the FTC's Safeguards Rule to protect customer data and prevent financial fraud.
  • Choosing compliant service providers and maintaining secure data practices is crucial for auto dealerships.
  • Compliance is an ongoing responsibility that requires vigilance and commitment to customer privacy.
  • Canopy Connect offers a solution for insurance data intake that meets top security measures and helps auto dealers stay compliant.
  • Adhering to the Safeguards Rule isn't just a legal obligation, but a business imperative for auto dealerships.

Every other week, there seems to be news coverage of businesses facing lawsuits due to their poor data security measures. Businesses that handle sensitive customer data are subject to strict regulations and standards. This is particularly true for auto dealerships, which fall under the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Safeguards Rule. This rule mandates that financial institutions, including auto dealerships, must have measures in place to guarantee the security and confidentiality of customer records and information.

The FTC's Safeguards Rule is a legal requirement that auto dealerships must stick to. It's designed to protect consumers from identity theft and other forms of financial fraud. The rule requires auto dealerships to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive data security program. This program must be appropriate to the dealership's size and complexity, the nature and scope of its activities, and the sensitivity of the customer information it handles.

The rule also requires auto dealerships to identify and assess the risks to customer information in each relevant area of the company's operation and to evaluate the effectiveness of the current safeguards for controlling these risks. The dealerships must then design and implement a safeguards program, and regularly monitor and test it.

Understanding the Importance of Choosing Compliant Partners for Auto Dealerships

Auto dealerships implement partnerships as part of their procedures. Auto dealers must carefully choose these service providers, ensuring that they can uphold the necessary protections. Additionally, contracts with these providers must include plans for maintaining these safeguards, and auto dealers must closely monitor how customer information is handled.

For example, dealers may be used to simply asking for an insurance card at the time of a test drive, but with the FTC's SafeGuards Rule in place, storing that information in any form of an insecure manner could lead to severe penalties—and let's be honest, insurance cards aren't providing the most updated information regarding insurance coverage. Knowing that, auto dealers should collect insurance information in a more secure and accurate way to make sure test drives don't result in a fine, or in the case of an accident, a loss for the auto dealership.

When dealers gather insurance information for verification, it's crucial that they adhere to safeguard compliance. This means that in each step of the process for verifying a customer's insurance information, that data should be secure. This process protects customers' sensitive information from unauthorized access, disclosure, or changes.

The process of compliance begins with the careful selection of service providers. Auto dealerships must thoroughly vet potential providers to ensure they have compliant security measures in place. This could involve examining their data protection policies, their track record in handling sensitive information, and their compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Once a service provider has been selected, the auto dealership must guarantee that their contract with the provider explicitly requires them to maintain these safeguards. This gives dealerships an opportunity to partner with services providers that can help them maintain ongoing compliance.

Maintaining Compliance as an Auto Dealer

Staying in compliance isn't a one-time task, but an ongoing responsibility. It requires vigilance, diligence, and a commitment to protecting the privacy and security of customer information. By adhering to these principles, auto dealerships can make sure that they are gathering insurance information for verification in a manner that respects and protects the rights of their customers—and the safety of their auto dealerships.

The FTC Safeguards Rule places a significant responsibility on auto dealers to protect sensitive customer data. It isn't just about compliance, but about maintaining the trust and confidence of customers. In a time where data breaches are increasingly common, adherence to the FTC's Safeguards Rule isn't just a legal obligation, but a business imperative.

Staying Compliant with Canopy Connect

Canopy Connect is an insurance data intake platform that streamlines insurance verification, whether for a test drive or financing a loan at the auto dealership. With our solution, auto dealers can get verified, real-time insurance data in under 30 seconds.

Canopy Connect takes data security and privacy seriously and has implemented top security measures to safeguard customer information from unauthorized access, breaches, and fraud.

  • Our solution uses 256-bit AES encryption and TLS 1.2+ to secure data.
  • It utilizes Amazon Cloud Infrastructure, trusted by companies like Netflix, Airbnb, and McDonalds.
  • The platform meets SOC 2 Type 2 Certification and undergoes third-party testing and external audits for continuous security.

Learn more about how Canopy Connect can keep your auto dealership in compliance with the FTC Safeguards Rule.