How To Protect Your Restaurant From Hackers

Restaurants, no matter how big or small, need to protect themselves from hackers. Believe it or not, small businesses are especially targeted because hackers know owners will not suspect their establishment is important enough to be a target. Hackers use malware, ransomware, phishing, and more to access your most sensitive information. They can access saved credit card information, payroll, HR records, email addresses, inventory management, or social security numbers.


With this information, hackers can sell it to third parties who can commit identity theft or unauthorized purchases. Not to mention, a data breach can also cause major financial strain to your business. In research done by IBM in 2021, data breaches cost restaurants an average of $3.03 million in fines for not protecting credit card information, possible lawsuits, and recovery. Not only can they damage you financially, but your restaurant’s reputation will take a hit and can lead to business failure. This is why the National Restaurant Association follows the National Institute For Standards and Technology’s five core functions for improving infrastructure cybersecurity. To ensure your data goes without breach, follow these five core functions and the following tips.

Five Core Functions For Cybersecurity


Your restaurant may be susceptible to a breach for things such as an outdated system of an unsecured network. The best way to identify your weak points is to have a data security professional take a look at how information moves through your operation and perform a risk evaluation. If you are just starting your restaurant, you will want to have an IT expert design the network diagrams. You want to make sure all sensitive data flows in such a way that only those with authorization can access it. Furthermore, evaluate who has access to your data and restrict access to only those who need it. As an extra security step, a document should be created occasionally that shows the information flow, how the information helps your business, and describes any risk to the information.


After knowing your risks, research how you can protect against them or ask an expert. For example, one of the most common types of data breaches comes from remote access. Often, firewalls can be left open if one of your managers works remotely. In order to prevent this, change your passwords every three months and avoid using default codes to protect your network. Another safeguard is keeping track of who has access to your system and limiting third-party access to keep outsiders from leaking customers’ information. Be sure to adapt as many security features to your system as possible.


In order to detect attacks, you must have mechanisms in place that are designed to do just that. Purchase a security software that proactively withstands attacks and continuously monitors your system by identifying and eliminating problems. In addition, make sure your security

  • Monitors account usage
  • Disables dormant accounts
  • Protects stored information
  • Ensures usernames and authentication is encrypted across all networks


In case your business does get attacked, have a response plan in place to make it easier to handle the situation. This is essential even if you’re confident with your security software. A response plan can shorten the aftermath of a cyberattack, help you stay organized, and customers will feel better knowing you’ve taken steps to fix the issue. Steps in your response plan should include:

  • Contacting and working with IT professionals
  • Inform your communications team to create a public statement
  • Notify anyone that can be affected by the breach


The length of your recovery will depend on the severity of the breach. All the compromised data will have to be recovered, which can be done in different ways. However, recovery will depend on how well you prepared beforehand. For instance, data can easily be restored if you have a backup. There are other options, such as creating cloud-based replicas that can be activated anytime. During restoration, make sure to take note of the type of data that was compromised to prevent the same kind of attack from happening again.


Tips To Prevent Breaches


Customers prefer restaurants with Wi-Fi, so they can browse the web or chat with friends while waiting for their meals. However, Wi-Fi presents a risk because it is exposed to outsiders, including hackers. To avoid this, ensure your network has strong encryption and requires passwords. You should also consider making your guests' Wi-Fi separate from your restaurant system.


Many restaurant managers train employees on what to do if there is a robbery, which is why you should also teach staff about breaches. Did you know that most breaches are caused by human error? A simple mistake can lead to significant consequences, so informing your staff of ways to prevent hackers can help keep your restaurant safe. Make security training part of your training program or add it to your employee manual.


Although your staff is in charge of handling customers, not every employee needs to know a customer's credit card number or address. Ensure only certain employees have access to that information helps your customers feel at ease and keeps their information safe. Evaluate your operating system and make sure that only those in charge of sensitive information can view it. Try to see if your software can create different levels of account access to make it easier for you to track who sees what.


Many restaurants partner up with third-party vendors such as delivery apps to make their business easier to find and order from. While this may allow you to expand your clientele, third-party vendors are a massive data risk. You don't want them to access your data, which is why you should audit them before deciding to work with them.

Hackers Are Always Evolving

Cyber thieves are always looking for new ways to access your information, which is why you should also be looking for new ways to secure it. The best way to do this is to work with a cybersecurity professional or company that keeps data safe and updated in your system. While the thought of hackers constantly thinking of new ways to commit crimes is scary, as long as you stay on top of things, you can significantly minimize risk and keep your customers' information safe from theft. Your customers will love you for it.

Photos by rawpixel.comDCStudio


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