Part one of our Cyber Security two-part series, Protecting Your Data Security: The Essentials, covered the essentials to keeping your restaurant's data secure. We recommend reading that article first as this article contains additional recommendations.
1. Educate Your Employees
Employee education is a critical step that every business needs to take in order to ensure their cyber-security, and restaurants are no exception. Taking time to work with your employees to show them what steps they should be taking to prevent a cyber-attack is critical, as your employees are your first line of defense against a data breach. Make sure that you educate your employees on the importance of not opening suspicious links or emails, and educate them on safe practices for navigating the internet on work computers. You should also crack down on employees using restaurant computers for personal use, such as servers browsing the web to access their email on their POS device, as this is one of the most common means by which employees accidentally download malware that infects a restaurant's systems.
2. The Cloud is Secure
Another way that you can boost your restaurant's cyber-security is by taking advantage of cloud-based systems. Cloud-based POS systems have made a major impact on the restaurant industry, not only do they offer more features than traditional POS systems, but they are also easy to use, and most importantly, they are far more secure than other POS systems when it comes to protecting data and preventing cyber-attacks. When you use a cloud-based POS system, all of your restaurant's secure information is stored off-site in the cloud. Additionally, when using a cloud-based POS system, credit card information is instantaneously transferred to the next step in the payment process. Alternatively, traditional POS systems store information on-site within a restaurant's devices. This makes these systems vulnerable to attacks as onsite data is much more accessible to hackers and is not as secure. Cloud-based systems help to improve restaurant cybersecurity by securing sensitive information off-site where it cannot be accessed by the wrong people.
3. Be Careful with Passwords
As simple as it may sound, being secure with your passwords can go a long way in helping to ensure your restaurant's digital security. When you have a business, the list of unique passwords that you will have to create may grow longer than what you are capable of remembering; however, do not make the mistake of writing these passwords down on a piece of paper or in a Word document, as this could leave you vulnerable to a data breach. Instead, you should consider investing in a password manager, as these programs can help you to securely store your passwords and access them when you need to. In order to increase the security of your accounts, make sure that you use a different password for every account you create, and you should also consider taking advantage of two-factor authentication.
4. Give Servers Unique Identifiers
While it is important that you take time when hiring new employees to perform background checks and get to know applicants so that you only hire trustworthy candidates, you are still taking a risk every time you give someone access to your business's systems. It is then important that your POS system is configured so that each server has to log in separately with a unique identifier. Doing so will make it easier to track patterns and find the guilty party if customers begin complaining about fraudulent credit card use after visiting your restaurant, as you will be able to separate transaction data by employee, and you will be able to easily tell if a server's name comes up more often in transactions where customer's cards were breached.
5. Separate Devices Using a Firewall
Should a hacker try to infiltrate your system by infecting one of your devices with malware, a correctly configured firewall can help to minimize the breach by keeping infected devices from infecting other devices on your network. If your devices are separated by a firewall, this can help to protect your restaurant from potentially damaging breaches. The fact is that your back-office computer does not need to communicate with your credit card chip reader, so it should have no effect on your business to separate devices that do not need to communicate with each other in order to mitigate potential risks.
6. The Future of Restaurant Cyber-security
Recent years have seen restaurant owners make great strides as they have learned new strategies to outsmart hackers who might try to infiltrate their business. However, as restaurant owners adapt, hackers continue to come up with new ways to circumvent cyber-security measures restaurants put in place. This makes it critical that restaurant owners continue to take proactive measures to improve their business's cyber-security. By working with IT professionals to learn about the latest security measures and technology, restaurant owners will have a better chance of protecting their business from a potential cyber-attack.