By Jason VanGotten, Colorado Restaurant Insurance —
Restaurants can learn critical lessons from Equifax’s massive data breach. When basic security precautions are not being taken with internet usage, losses are the real threat. There are two possible news headlines when a data breach occurs. One says, “Restaurant fails to follow basic security principles. Customer’s information compromised.” The other, “Despite best practices, hackers get in!”
It seems that people are getting breach-deaf. They hear the same warnings over and over and see the same headlines of cyber breaches. They seem to think, “It won’t happen to me! We are too small to be on the radar of a cyber-criminal.” This is why precautions are not being taken seriously. But, these are unlocked doors that allow opportunity for thieves. Cyber-criminals scan buildings and neighborhoods for Wi-Fi connections like “Linksys” and then run through a list of known “out-of-the-box” passwords to see if a network was left unlocked. The reality is that 9 out of 10 data breaches involve small businesses. 65 percent of all breaches are point-of-sale terminals or are web application attacks. 78% of small businesses do not have a cyberattack response plan.
Why would cyber criminals go after a small business? In most cases, the owners of small businesses have not been educated about cyber risk and many of them do not have the resources to stay ahead of the perpetrators. How can businesses protect themselves from these cyber-criminals?
- Educate and empower yourself and your employees to identify the potential issues.
- Know where all your sensitive structured data resides and never store cardholder data.
- Never transmit data that is not encrypted or over public Wi-Fi networks.
- Always outsource payment processing to combine point-to-point encryption and tokenization technologies.
- Use layered security such as multi-factor authentication which uses a combination of a password and another factor to verify identity.
- Install and regularly update spyware, anti-virus and malware software to help prevent and detect these from affecting your computing systems.
- Set social network profiles to private and check security settings. Also, be mindful of what information you post online.
- Protect the perimeter to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive data and your company’s computer network.
Cyber liability losses can strike with little to no warning, and that a vulnerability can leave you with a costly mess from data recovery to rebuilding your restaurant’s reputation. You lock your doors and turn on the alarm system at night for safety; why not take the same approach for cyber security?
If you have questions about cyber security, compliance, or what you can do to protect your business, contact Jason VanGotten at firstname.lastname@example.org
Heartland Payments Systems
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