Cybersecurity concerns are becoming more prevalent across industries. For restaurants, adopting new technology for better managing work processes and the customer experience can bring invaluable benefits—but it also brings added risks.
Cybercrime is on the rise as a broad shift to more connected digital platforms takes place. For small businesses, a data breach or cyberattack can be enough to force the company to close. As many as 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of such an attack.
These dangers make enhanced cybersecurity a necessity for restaurants operating advanced technology. Here, we’ll explore the new tech and how restaurant staff can combat cybercrime.
Advanced Tech in Restaurants
No sector of the economy is safe from the high-tech innovations of the 21st century. Many of these advancements are based around big data—vast data sets that can be analyzed and evaluated for powerful business insights. Big data is easier to collect than ever through the highly connected systems and devices of modern restaurants.
Here are a few of these systems and how they impact restaurant operations:
Internet of Things (IoT)
Connected IoT devices have the potential to revolutionize inventory management. With smart fridges that can order new stock as it runs low or ecosystem monitoring devices that record customer influx and order types, IoT offers transparency above all. But these connected devices also represent an access point for cybercriminals.
Many restaurants are turning to cloud data services for all their restaurant needs. In point-of-sale (POS) systems, this can mean more accepted payment types as well as enhanced security through data back-ups. However, this information still needs to communicate across a digital network, making it vulnerable to hackers.
Biosecurity is a growing focus area for restaurants in the COVID-era. With innovations like temperature-scanning kiosks and HVAC upgrades designed to kill pathogens, businesses can boost their investment returns through greater customer safety. However, these systems can collect and network data, as well. If you hope to make information available to contact tracers, be sure to keep it safe from hackers.
With advanced technology like these systems and devices common in restaurants, these businesses are now better prepared to accommodate buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) models and the self-service/contactless delivery needs of the modern food industry. All these technologies, however, interact with consumer data like credit card information, names, or phone numbers. A compromise of this information can be difficult to recover from.
Exploring how these systems work along with the growing digital threat will help restaurants maintain effective policies.
Growing Digital Threats
When the pandemic first emerged, a spike in cybercrime followed. Ninety percent of surveyed executives said their businesses experienced attempted attacks during the pandemic, with 93% saying they had to postpone key security projects due to transitioned policies in response to the pandemic. This illustrates the dangers faced by restaurants, which are already at greater risk of closure due to pandemic problems.
Add to this risk the efforts of many businesses to aid in contact tracing and you have a particularly vulnerable data situation. Contact tracing for restaurants means adopting measures for collecting and storing customer data along with the times and dates they visited your place of business. To collect this information, guests have to be first informed. Then, they have to trust you with their data.
Customers who chose to patronize a restaurant even if it means allowing more of their information to be collected are already taking a risk. Without the proper protection of that data, your restaurant risks losing business.
Ensuring Data Protection
Fortunately, however, methods of data protection can be more or less easily installed and maintained. Cybersecurity is an essential element of modern business, protecting consumer data and keeping business infrastructures functioning and secure. Every effort and investment in enhancing your restaurant’s security can translate to worthwhile returns.
The following are two of the best methods for ensuring data protection:
From the onboarding stage of employee training, workers should have common cybersecurity best practices explained and reviewed for them. Measures as simple as ensuring strong password use, practicing digital hygiene, and avoiding spam on company networks can cut down significantly on data breaches.
Integrate cybersecurity training into your essential workplace policies for all employees, and review this information with employees consistently.
Adopt Secure Systems
Cloud data and cybersecurity as a service are growing increasingly prevalent in modern workplaces. These services can outsource cybersecurity needs to professionals with the experience and tools to better protect restaurant systems against data breaches while at the same time backing up data in case of a disaster.
Adopt proven cloud services to better manage the security of your new restaurant policies. While no system is ever a complete guarantee of safety, paying for professional services can make all the difference.
With the increased risks of cyber attacks stemming from pandemic securities, restaurants must take these measures and more to secure their own data. Doing so will increase customer trust while also mitigating the threat of potentially destructive data breaches.
As restaurants continue to adjust policies in response to ongoing pandemic concerns, advanced tech will help. However, no tech should be adopted without first considering proper security measures. Implement employee education and secure data services to reduce the risks of the digital world.
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She has over 8 years of experience in the restaurant and fine dining industry and has worked at a number of well-known establishments over the years. Jori covers a wide range of subjects but because of her past industry experience, she takes a particular interest in covering topics related to restaurant productivity, FOH and BOH management, and restaurant technology. To learn more, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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