These strategies help keep businesses, employees, and guest data safe.

Restaurant owners spend more time online in their establishment than they think. Between doing business over email, managing a website, or even offering online ordering and delivery services, managers and owners work online more than they realize. Beyond those aspects, they are tracking the cost of labor, beverages, and food with suppliers and using accounting programs to figure out revenue and manage the business. Then there are employee-centric reasons for being online, such as payroll and time off scheduling. Add in customers’ credit and debit card data that is collected when their checks close-out, successful modern restaurants are run almost entirely on the backbone of the digital realm. In simpler terms, a restaurant collects a lot of valuable data and restaurant owners and managers are responsible for keeping all of that data safe.

There are so many crucial aspects to consider when establishing a strong cybersecurity plan. With the responsibility falling in the hands of the owners and managers, being sensible and protective with sensitive data is just another aspect of quality customer service. It also creates a positive and strong work environment for the wait staff and other employees.

Cybersecurity plans have many aspects that range from simple password protection all the way to complicated IT infrastructure strategies. Computer hackers and cyber criminals know that the restaurant industry is fast-paced and that a lot of people use credit cards and debit cards to pay for food service. Protecting sensitive data pertaining to business operations and customers is imperative. One of the best lines of defense against these cyber predators is using point of sale systems to enforce stronger security.

Here are four ways to use point of sale systems in order to keep everyone who eats and works at an establishment safe:

1. Restrict Remote Access

It is important that restaurant owners and managers restrict remote access to their point of sale devices. It is only necessary to allow a limited number of known IP addresses access. Remote connectivity should only be enabled during hours of business and when updates are needed for the system. Using firewalls is highly recommended as another added layer of protection. Keep Wi-Fi and security cameras separate, if they are also connected.

2. Upgrade to EMV

Implementing EMV chip technology is surely the biggest way to reduce fraud and criminality. All of the security in the world is essentially rendered useless if POS devices have not been upgraded to support EMV payments. The EMV Liability Shift of 2015 put all of the responsibility on merchants, meaning they are at risk of fraudulent chargebacks. One chargeback alone can cost a restaurant thousands of dollars. Chip cards use encryption to significantly decrease and eliminate ways for cyber criminals to steal personal data. Harmful malware is usually able to penetrate systems that lack p2pe and tokenization.

3. Secure the Network

As mentioned in the Restrict Remote Access section above, firewalls are of the utmost importance in a proper security plan. In order to secure the network, firewalls must be activated and the number of IP addresses for outbound firewalls must be limited. Cyber criminals use misconfiguration to their advantage and can enable ports to communicate with tons of IP address all around the web. Restaurant owners and managers should create stricter access controls and apply them on router configurations, as to restrict unauthorized activity.

4. Adhere to PCI Compliance

PCI Compliance is another great barrier for cyber-attacks. Complying with PCI standards provides another layer of security. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Standards call for merchants that accept, store, process, and transmit card information to do so within a safe environment. Using point of sale technology that is PCI certified prevents a slew of attacks from taking place, keeping your restaurant and customer data safe and sound.

With everything restaurant owners and managers have to worry about, adding security and cyber criminality on top of that can seem overwhelming. On the most basic level, cybersecurity is just about keeping eyes peeled, staying alert for threats that will harm a business and cost thousands, and managing the situation when an attack does happen. Taking precautions against fraud and cyber criminality is the same as taking precautions against employee and customer theft at the cash register. The more a restaurant utilizes their point of sale system for security and plays it safe, the easier owners and managers can sleep at night. 

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