Large restaurant chains can weather the high costs of a data breach, but small businesses don’t have the same luxury. That means prevention must be a top priority. Unfortunately, many restaurateurs don’t appreciate the importance of spending money on cyber-security or think they’re already doing enough to protect customer data. In truth, huge holes exist in the cyber-security practices of most restaurants.
Social Engineering in the Restaurant Industry
Meanwhile, management and operations staff must understand the importance of never clicking on suspicious links and email attachments, even when they appear to come from a trustworthy source. Establish protocol for accessing your restaurant’s sensitive data, and instruct employees to notify you if requests for passwords, account information, or other data occur outside of that protocol. Social engineering attacks rely on a sense of urgency and fear to compel employees to release confidential information; by setting expectations ahead of time, you help your staff keep a cool head.
Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in POS Systems
Choosing the right POS system protects restaurateurs against data breaches. A quality POS system updates automatically, so you don’t have add software updates to your already-busy schedule, and notifies you of unusual activity on the system.
If you don’t know the last time your POS system was updated or you’re relying on staff to tell you when it’s lagging, it’s time to upgrade your business’s POS system. Take a look at your payment processor while you’re at it: If you’re using a secure POS terminal but your credit card processor is vulnerable, your whole system is at risk. Rather than looking for the cheapest option, search for a credit card terminal with encryption and fraud protection so you don’t have to worry about it.
When you’re running a restaurant on tight margins, it’s hard to justify spending money on a cost center rather than your profit centers. But data security is one investment that is undeniably worth it. With a few smart upgrades and employee training, you can protect your restaurant against a disastrous data breach.