Shop Financials: Automotive Technology Isn't All Under The Hood - Engine Builder Magazine

Shop Financials: Automotive Technology Isn’t All Under The Hood

Like our cars, many of us take our computer systems and networks for granted. Once they are installed and working, we tend to forget about scheduled maintenance and security.

Since most of the services that our companies require are on the Internet, we are forced to get access to stay current with technology. When on the Internet, there is no such thing as being 100 percent secure but if you take the proper precautions and keep your safeguards up-to-date, you will be less vulnerable to viruses and other attacks.

You should always have a firewall, an anti-virus protection program, keep all of your software up-to-date, and never open an email that has an attachment which you are not expecting. It is easy for a virus to exploit email clients by adding malicious code inside email that will automatically run if you open or preview the attachment. Most viruses are network aware, so adding a firewall device will block virus attacks from the Internet. Use passwords to protect your shared network and resources. Keep your software and operating system up-to-date, and this will minimize the known vulnerabilities and security exploits on your network. Anti-virus protection (if kept up-to-date) will catch viruses that have gotten through other layers of protection. Negligence in these areas can be detrimental to your business if your customer credit cards are stolen or your bookkeeping records are destroyed. Don’t risk your livelihood by doing nothing when it is easy to protect yourself.

Biggest Threats

  1. Internet access without a firewall: A firewall is a device that helps control and or block network traffic. Networks without a firewall share the same resources with the Internet as they share with the local network computers.

  2. Inadequate anti-virus protection: Some fail to keep the protection up to date while others ignore the risk until it is too late, losing money, and irreplaceable data. Even if there are current backups, there is a high probability the backup was infected.

  3. Security policies: Not enforcing a security policy is like not having one at all. Make sure there are policies covering Internet usage, installing third party software, and email usage, etc. Knowledge is the most powerful tool in securing your network.

  4. Software updates: Always keep your operating systems and software up-to-date. When a security bug is reported, most companies have a patch or a hot fix (software or operating system update) ready to download to repair your system.

  5. Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP):
    Internet access without a firewall is like welding on a half full gas tank without goggles. Every time you connect, you are looking into the face of disaster while not seeing how dangerous the situation is. You also open yourself up for anyone and everyone to view/edit/delete the contents of your system. This includes financial records, customer databases, and personal information.

Inadequate anti-virus protection is as bad as not having virus protection at all. If the anti-virus software is not up to date, you are not protecting yourself from new viruses (10-20 new viruses or variants are created every day). Anti-virus companies usually have updated virus definitions (software updates) 24 hours after a spreading virus is discovered.

Security policies are the crux of every business information system. Unfortunately, most people do not realize the importance of having security policies in place. These policies let employees know what is expected of them and what penalties may be enforced from non-compliance. There are increasing cases of legal issues arising from companies being infected by viruses and cyber thieves, who then use the infected network to attack other target organizations or systems. The end victims are now starting to sue the unprotected network owner by reason of downstream liability. Security policies that are in place and enforced minimize the potential liability Software updates are available to fix bugs and security holes that are in your current software or Operating System (OS). However, there are times that these updates open up new security holes that viruses and cyber criminals can exploit. These vulnerabilities are usually patched up soon after the exploit is discovered. This is why frequent checking for updates on a scheduled basis is good policy.

DRPs are important because they give employees direction for when something goes wrong. A DRP should contain easy-to-access contact information for parties that are needed for a speedy recovery. Contact information should include parties such as:

  • Internet Service Provider

  • Business Management Service provider

  • Computer/network technician

  • Power Company

  • Telephone Company

  • Company managers

  • The owner.

IT should also contain a “To do” list for when certain situations happen. For example here are the steps you should follow to safeguard your computer equipment in case of a power failure.

  1. Save work and shut down systems before battery backups shut down.

  2. Backup current data.

  3. Properly shut down all computer/network equipment including switches/routers.

  4. Using an analog phone or cell phone, call the power company at a predetermined number easily located.

In the case of a network failure:

  1. Backup data if possible and proceed until the issue is resolved.

  2. Restart local computer.

  3. If not localized to the one system, restart server.

  4. Shut down entire network including all switches for 5 minutes.

  5. Turn switch on.

  6. Turn server on and log on.

  7. Turn on computers/workstations/printers

  8. Call your predetermined computer/network technician.

More detailed information can be found at

Jeremy Martin is the Director of Communication for PLUSS Corp., a business management service provider for the automotive and heavy duty trucking industries, and holds the computer industry’s top security certification, the CISSP. [email protected]

You May Also Like

LTR Engine Build

This Late Model Engines build is centered around Concept Performance’s new LTR block, which is the first aftermarket as-cast aluminum Gen V LT block. 

The Chevrolet LT engine family from General Motors is rooted in the early ‘70s, when the LT1 was featured in the Corvette and Camaro Z28. After a 20-year hiatus, GM reintroduced the platform in the early ‘90s. The “LT1 350” came out in 1991, and was distinct from the high-output Gen I LT1 of the 1970s. It displaced 5.7L (350 cu in), and was a two-valve per cylinder pushrod design. The LT1 used a reverse-flow cooling system, which cooled the cylinder heads first, maintaining lower combustion chamber temperatures and allowing the engine to run at a higher compression than its immediate predecessors.

A Look at Lead Times

Lead times are no longer months upon months as they were in the middle of 2020 and throughout 2021, but the situation is still of some concern, and it’s forced engine builders to get creative at times.

LS Intake Manifolds

LS swaps are popular for many reasons, but there are a lot of variations and details to sort through – more of them than you may expect – and many of them are associated with the intake manifold.

Choosing the Correct Block for Your LS Engine Build

Whether you’re scouring junkyards, ordering cores, investigating factory options, looking at aftermarket cast iron or aluminum blocks, or spending big bucks on billet LS blocks, you’ve probably noticed it’s been harder to find exactly what you want for the foundation of your LS build than it historically has.

Open Loop/Closed Loop and Learning

Closed-loop control can be programmed to either add or subtract up to a certain percentage of fuel in order for the engine to reach the target air/fuel ratio.

Other Posts

Top 10 Ken Block Gymkhana Films

Who doesn’t like a little bit of burnt rubber?

America’s Best Engine Shops 2022 | H&H Flatheads

Despite not being a fancy, state-of-the-art set up, Mike and his team at H&H have a great thing going. The equipment does exactly what it needs to, his team is experienced and the shop has built thousands of vintage engines for customers everywhere!

America’s Best Engine Shops 2022 | Choate Engineering Performance

This shop’s dedication to quality engine work, its growth, its machining capabilities and its impact in the diesel industry, all make Choate Engineering Performance well deserving of Engine Builder’s and Autolite’s 2022 America’s Best Diesel Engine Shop award.

America’s Best Engine Shops 2022 | 4 Piston Racing

The 4 Piston Racing facility in Danville, IN houses two buildings – one is 12,000 sq.-ft. and the other is 2,500 sq.-ft. The shop is very heavily focused on Honda cylinder heads and engine work to the tune of 300+ engines and 1,000 cylinder heads annually!