Big data and connected cars, boom or gloom depending on security

kmpgToday’s vehicles are more “connected” than ever before – offering connectivity similar to what we expect at home, in our offices and on our mobile devices. Data collected through connected cars will present automakers with tremendous business opportunities to enhance customer experiences while at the same time also posing inherent risks, according to a new KPMG report.

KPMG’s National Automotive Leader, Gary Silberg, notes while OEMs can use data collected through connected vehicles to optimize performance, reliability and safety of vehicles they produce, failure to get cybersecurity right could have a lasting impact on brand.

“Unlike most consumer products, a vehicle breach can be life-threatening, especially if the vehicle is driving at highway speeds and a hacker gains control of the car,” says Silberg. “That is a very scary, but possible scenario and it’s easy to see why consumers are so sensitive about cybersecurity as it relates to their cars.”

In fact, a separate recent report from KPMG of 450 consumers, found that 82% would be wary of buying a car from an automaker if they had been hacked. Despite the strong sentiments among consumers about hacking, that same report also found that two-thirds of automakers hadn’t invested in information security over the past year.

“The newest asset in the automotive world is data,” said Danny Le, KPMG’s Automotive Leader for Cyber Security Services. “Data is becoming a currency with actual value and must be protected. A failure to do so could have long term consequences for automakers.”

KPMG’s research explores the two worlds of connected vehicle data – the one in which data means fantastic value, and the one in which data means risk. The firm offers perspective on how OEMs can balance the two, leveraging data insights to offer customers an unbelievable driving experience while at the same time protecting the data like it was their own.

“The most successful automakers will use strategic data curation and predictive analytics to increase customer confidence, comfort, and safety, optimize their own operations, and introduce new ways to generate revenue,” the report notes.

KPMG suggests 10 initiatives for automakers to consider when trying to balance the potential business opportunities while recognizing the risks associated with mishandled or compromised information.

  • Embed security and privacy at the earliest phases of product and software development.
  • Include cybersecurity in enterprise-wide risk governance.
  • Focus not just on the data but also on the entire ecosystem.
  • Be good citizens when it comes to customer data privacy.
  • Remember the three tenets of data security.
  • Prepare for emerging security risks.
  • Encrypt information coming into the master computer.
  • Test vulnerabilities.
  • Put safety first.
  • Build a “three-legged stool.”

To read more about the 10 initiative’s, read the full report.