For GM auto dealerships in Alberta, there are important new IT guidelines that are intended to provide better service to customers, improve employee efficiency and create consistent standards across dealerships.

GM issued the GM Dealership Infrastructure Guidelines to outline the minimum and optimal levels of technology needs across the full spectrum of IT needs — from backbone to operating systems to security requirements. For GM dealerships in Alberta, the guidelines may be complex and confusing. That’s why many area companies are looking for IT support for GM dealerships for guidance on how to meet the new standards.

At Rafiki Technologies, Inc., we work extensively with area auto dealerships. We understand the unique needs of dealerships in terms of network stability and configuration, software programs, and data integrity. Our industry knowledge and experience helps us help our auto dealership customers with the new dealer infrastructure guidelines.

Here is a closer look at the guidelines and what it means for your GM dealership.

Why Did GM Issue These Guidelines?

According to GM, the guidelines are intended “to develop customers for life through efficient and effective systems and solutions.” The guidelines are intended as an outline for “the dealership technology needed to ensure seamless and reliable dealer data communication.”

The guidelines are extensive, covering major technology areas in exacting detail. The guidelines are organized in three levels, with the company preferring dealers choose the Best category, which is those that optimize security and performance. They also represent the best return on dealership’s investments in technology.

What Type of Computers Does GM Recommend?

GM suggests dealerships avoid using consumer-grade computers. While those computers, intended for personal and home use, are less expensive, they do not have the stability, power or reliability as enterprise-grade systems designed for business use. The company also suggests a three-year replacement cycle for PCs, tablets and laptops.

Here are other computer requirements GM deemed as “Best”:

  • Processor: Intel Core I7 5th generation or higher
  • Memory: 16 GB
  • Hard Disk Drive: 1 TB+
  • USB Ports: 4+
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Professional, 64-bit

What Software Should Our Dealership Have?
GM recommends using some standard software applications designed to improve connectivity and reliability, including:

  • Word Processing, Spreadsheets, and Presentations: Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus
  • Web Browser: Internet Explorer (version IE11) with the most current service pack installed and enabled “compatibility mode”
  • Java Runtime Environment 32-bit (or the recommended version for each application)
  • PDFs: Current version of Adobe Reader
  • Recovery Software: Dealerships should purchase complete operating system recovery software in case of a full software failure
  • Anti-Virus: An enterprise-based anti-virus solution that are automatically updated and is centrally managed

How Should Networks Be Configured?

GM’s guidelines recognize that dealerships often struggle with network management. due to the competing needs of employees, business partners and customers. They provide guidance for LAN and wireless networks alike:

  • LAN
    • Ethernet-based 1 Gigabit data cabling. (GM suggests using fiber optic cable for runs 90 meters or longer)
    • Locked, temperature-controlled and clean equipment room
    • Dynamic (DHCP) IP address
    • 1 GB managed traffic switch
    • Enterprise-quality routers that allow for dynamic routing, Network Address Translation/Process Analytical Technology (NAT/PAT). Backups of configurations should be kept on file
    • Public domain name services (DNS) unless the dealership runs Windows Active Directory
    • Redundant power supplies
    • 1000 Mbps speed
    • SD-WAN for networking multiple locations
    • Dual-band IEEE 802.11ac or better wireless access points
    • Wireless Networks
    • AES encryption and WPA2 Enterprise with RADIUS authentication
    • Guest network access that includes a redirect to a registration page that requires users to agree to an acceptable-use policy. A one-time password should be issued.
    • Wireless coverage for both business and guest needs should include the customer lounge, sales showroom, service shop, service drive, service lot and vehicle lot
    • Enterprise-grade wireless access points designed to allow roaming and business-class functionality. Such access points should also provide for many simultaneous connections
    • Dealership traffic needs to be segmented from guest traffic
    • Dealerships should use tools that continuously scan to detect unauthorized users and remove them

What Security Guidelines Are Included?

Security is very important for GM dealerships, intended to protect sensitive dealership and customer information. The following security protocols are in the new GM guidelines:

  • Continuous monitoring for threats
  • Intrusion detection tools
  • Automated enterprise-grade anti-virus scans and PC monitoring
  • Log inspection
  • A network gateway that allows for sandboxing where traffic and threats can be tested
  • Web content filtering by category
  • Separate networks for customer information, payment card processing, dealership traffic and customer traffic
  • Patch management solutions for all work computers
  • System vulnerability testing on a quarterly basis
  • Security tools to flag inbound email containing malware, phishing attempts or malicious programs
  • Policies designed to meet regulatory needs and cover risk assessment mandates
  • Ongoing security awareness programs for employees that cover acceptable-use, extranet, password and wireless standards policies; data collection, storage and use; a security incident response plan; access controls; risk analysis; and reporting requirements

What Are The Disaster Planning Requirements?

GM recommends each dealership have backups for network gateway configurations and critical data in case of hardware failures or disasters. There should also be a documented plan for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Who Can Help Us With These Guidelines?

The guidelines are complex, with interrelated causalities and needs across your technology stack. At Rafiki, we work with auto dealerships to assess their current technology and can develop an implementation plan to help you comply with the GM guidelines. To learn more about how our team can help your dealership, contact us.

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