The world is increasingly relying on technology, and the restaurant industry is no exception.

In order to enhance the customer experience and strengthen sales and operational efficiency, many restaurants are making technological advancements to their businesses, such as enhancements to their point-of-sale systems, using new cloud-based technologies, and connecting to an ever-increasing number of third parties.

But with these steps, some new risks can present themselves. New business relationships and processes can create security gaps, alter access to sensitive data, or cause shifts in cyber risk liability exposures. And with the increased use of customer-facing technology, there are a greater number of access point vulnerabilities. All of these new developments make it harder to secure data, which is especially important in the restaurant industry, given that it processes millions of credit card transactions annually.

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Yet, despite these vulnerabilities, a poll conducted by Federated Insurance on 300 small business owners found that 77 per cent of them did not have any coverage for data breaches and cyber attacks. And only a third of those polled felt confident that they had the financial resources to survive an attack that exposed their customer data, or a class action lawsuit as a result of an attack.

Only a third of small business owners felt confident that they had the financial resources to survive an attack that exposed their customer data, or a class action lawsuit as a result of an attack.

A cyber attack could result in irreparable damage to customers, brand reputation, and operations. So, avoiding one altogether should be a top priority.

Cyber security tips

Eliminating cyber risk in this ever-evolving environment is next to impossible, but there are some steps that can be taken to help mitigate the risks:

  1. Train employees on security principles: Set security policies for employees, including requiring strong passwords, and outlining appropriate Internet use guidelines. Establish rules on how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data.
  2. Stay up to date with software: One of the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats is having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system. Also, it’s a good idea to set antivirus software to run a scan after each update.
  3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection: A firewall is a set of related programs that help to prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system is also protected by a firewall.
  4. Create a mobile device action plan: Mobile devices can create security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is connected to public networks. Be sure to have reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
  5. Make backup copies of important business data and information: Regularly back up the data on all computers. Back up data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies in a safe location, perhaps offsite or in the cloud.
  6. Control access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee: Create separate user accounts for each employee and require strong passwords. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft, so lock them up when unattended. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
  7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks: Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router, so it doesn’t broadcast the network name (also known as the Service Set Identifier, or SSID). Also make sure you password-protect any access to the router.
  8. Employ best practices on payment cards: Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. Don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
  9. Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software: Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs.
  10. Passwords and authentication: Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.

Want to learn more?

Restaurant owners need to be aware of many risks, not just cyber attacks. The risks they could be facing range from crime, to food-related incidents, and fires. It’s important to acknowledge these risks and understand the proper steps to take against them.

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Do you want to learn more about risks restaurant owners face and the appropriate steps to take against them?

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Coverage designed for your needs

Things can go wrong for even the most educated and prepared restaurant owner. That’s why it’s so important to have the proper insurance coverage to protect yourself against risks like cyber attacks. Federated Insurance has coverage options specifically designed to deal with cyber risks that can help keep your business cyber-safe. Our policies include coverage that helps with the costs associated with data recovery, customer breach communications, and e-commerce threats. Find out more about how Federated can help protect your restaurant today!

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.