While massive data breaches at major retailers seem to get all of the media attention, hackers are increasingly turning their attention to restaurants. In fact, 73 percent of all U.S. security breaches come through restaurant franchises with multiple locations, according to a 2012 report from Visa. But chains aren’t the only targets — restaurants of every size and specialty have seen a spike in data breaches. Here are five steps you can take today to protect your restaurant and your customers from this growing threat.
1. Be Mindful of Track Data
Track data is the encoded information stored in the magnetic strips on the back of credit cards. Many off-the-shelf point-of-sale (POS) systems come with an automatic default to store that data. It may be wise to delete this information from your system as soon as a sale is approved. If you’re concerned about holding on to sensitive information, contact your systems supplier to learn what safeguards are in place to protect that data.
2. Strengthen Your Firewall
Your system is only as safe as your last update. You need to update your system regularly, or allow your service provider access to automatically update your system every time a new security upgrade is released.
3. Change Your Passwords
It’s human nature to use passwords that are easy to remember or to just stick with the default password that came with your system. This could make your entire network vulnerable. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends that passwords be at least 12 characters with a variety of numbers, letters and special symbols.
4. Segment Your Network
Consider hosting all of your web-based systems — including computers, POS, guest Wi-Fi and security cameras — on separate networks. Even if they have different logins, sharing one universal network could enable hackers.
5. Secure Your Remote Access Systems
There will always be times when you need to get into your network from an offsite location. Make sure that connection is secure by using a reputable virtual private network (VPN) provider.
To learn how PNC technology can help safeguard your business, contact Merchant Services at 1-888-562-2300.
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The article(s) you are reading were prepared for general information purposes by Manifest, LLC. These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions. These articles may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products, or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC.
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