Franchise Cyber Security: Serving Up New Cyber Risks

Franchise Cyber Security: Serving Up New Cyber Risks

Your Restaurant, Your Threats

Cyber security can be challenging for franchise operators of all sizes. Just one data breach or cyber-attack can lead to financial losses, business information exposure, reputation damage, possible litigation costs, and more. 

Today’s businesses rely on internet services for credit card processing, food ordering via instore kiosks, inventory management, online marketing, and as a means of hiring employees. It is no longer if, but when, a company will fall victim to a data breach. 

A Whole New World Of Cyber Risk...And Protection

In March of 2017, a restaurant franchise corporation in Canada had the jobs section of its website hacked, compromising the personal information of about 95,000 applicants over the last three years. Accessed information included names, addresses, phone numbers, employment histories, and other standard job application information. While this wasn’t at the franchise level, it proves the extent hackers will go to obtain “secure” information. An increasing number of class action lawsuits stemming from data breaches have prompted organizations to take preventative steps against potential cyber-attacks. 

Develop a Contingency Plan

Before a breach occurs, put a plan in place. Identify what data assets you have and the risks of exposure. Develop policies and procedures and review them with your management staff. This includes working with a selected information technology security provider to develop processes that detect breaches. Consider cyber insurance as, even with the best security providers and plans, human error can wreak havoc. In the event of a breach, swiftly implement the plan. Have a contact list ready and people assigned to make decisions. Data breaches are common during busy times, like holiday weekends, so be prepared. 

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Consider the high cost of doing nothing compared to taking some preventative steps to deter cyberthieves from attacking your restaurant. While avoiding a cyber-attack may not be possible, franchisees can take preventative steps to limit exposure, liability, and damages through cyber liability. 

Resources:

Managing Food and Beverage Companies’ Growing Cyber Risks
The New Cyber Strategy
McDonald’s Canada Cyber Attack