How Can Restaurants Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Have you given serious thought to the security risks you face as a restaurant owner? We don’t mean physical threats such as theft and property damage, which are admittedly crucial concerns. What we are referring to are the equally dangerous hazards posed by cyber attacks.

Cyber attacks are severe threats to the security and stability of restaurant businesses. The owners of Arran Brewery know fully well of the dangers posed by such incidents. The Scotland-based company lost access to several months of sales data to a ransomware attack in 2018. 

In a higher-profile case, the Marriott chain of hotels experienced a data breach that threatened more than 500 million customers’ data. 

Even if your restaurant isn’t quite at these companies’ scale or level, protection from cyber attacks is still necessary. After all, you possess credit card details, email addresses, employee Social Security numbers, and other valuable information. Without the necessary protection, you run the risk of providing an opening for hackers and cybercriminals. 

In a sense, smaller, independent restaurants have more to lose from such attacks and intrusions. The owners of smaller restaurants are usually focused solely on running the business, with little thought given to cybersecurity. 

You stand to lose more than your customer and employee data from a cyber attack. Failure to protect credit card information can entail hefty fines. You could also incur significant damage to your restaurant’s reputation, which can be disastrous for a small business. 

Avoiding cyber-attacks and reducing potential damage 

So how do you avoid being victimized by cybercriminals? Just as importantly, how can you reduce the harm caused by such attacks? In addition to acquiring LA Cyber Liability Insurance, here are a few tips and strategies: 

1. Limit the number of devices connected to your wireless network

Many cyber-attacks occur when employees access your wireless network for personal use. It is advisable to limit access to the network only to specific devices and restrict their use to restaurant-related business. 

You should also ensure that your work devices use the latest operating systems and receive regular updates. This will reduce the risk of unauthorized access and data theft considerably. 

2. Educate your employees on the risk of phishing emails

Phishing emails may allow cybercriminals access to your sensitive customer data and company information. When receiving a seemingly-innocuous email, employees may inadvertently provide an opening for a cyber attack. 

Unfortunately, humans are often the weak link in an organization. Even if you have security measures in place, it is necessary to educate your employees on identifying and rejecting phishing emails. 

3. Choose your vendors carefully 

Restaurants typically give third-party providers access to their customer’s payment information. This can be a potential security hole, especially if the provider doesn’t have the necessary security measures in place. 

Choose your vendors carefully and ensure that they have a good reputation in the industry. If they do not have industry-standard security measures or if they arouse your suspicion in any way, deal with another provider instead. 

4. Make sure your passwords are stored securely

Having a strong password is an essential aspect of implementing air-tight security. But your passwords are only as effective as your ability to prevent unauthorized access to them. If they fall into the hands of the wrong person, all your carefully-laid security measures will be worthless. 

Never keep your passwords where they are easily accessible to anyone. Having a password file on your computer or writing passwords down on a piece of paper taped on or near your computer is unwise.

Instead, use a password manager program such as Dashlane or LastPass. Both these online programs will show you who last accessed your password information. 

5. Perform thorough background checks on potential employees

Background checks should be standard for all employees in the restaurant industry and all industries, for that matter. Of course, looking into your employees’ backgrounds won’t eliminate the risk of cyber-attacks and data theft. Nevertheless, they will reduce the risk of these incidents occurring. 

6. Use a firewall and configure it properly 

Finally, turn on the firewall features of all connected devices and configure them properly. In the event of a security breach such as a malware attack, a properly configured firewall will contain the malware to the infected device. 

These are only some of the ways by which you could avoid potential cyber-attacks and reduce the damage that they cause. As a restaurant owner, it is your responsibility to keep updated on security strategies so you can operate your business with peace of mind. 

About Arroyo Insurance Services

Arroyo Insurance Services was officially established in 1986, but we have roots dating back to before 1950. One of California’s leading client-oriented and independently owned agencies, we have over 140 employees with a combined experience of over 450 years, spread across 11 locations. We are committed to providing the best insurance and risk management services at the most competitive premiums, and backing it with hands-on service tailored to our customers’ needs. For more information on how we can mitigate your risks, contact us today at (877) 220-4769.