Cyber security can be challenging for franchise operators of all sizes. Just one data breach or cyber-attack can lead to financial losses, business information exposure, reputation damage, possible litigation costs, and more.
Today’s businesses rely on internet services for credit card processing, food ordering via instore kiosks, inventory management, online marketing, and as a means of hiring employees. It is no longer if, but when, a company will fall victim to a data breach.
In March of 2017, a restaurant franchise corporation in Canada had the jobs section of its website hacked, compromising the personal information of about 95,000 applicants over the last three years. Accessed information included names, addresses, phone numbers, employment histories, and other standard job application information. While this wasn’t at the franchise level, it proves the extent hackers will go to obtain “secure” information. An increasing number of class action lawsuits stemming from data breaches have prompted organizations to take preventative steps against potential cyber-attacks.
Before a breach occurs, put a plan in place. Identify what data assets you have and the risks of exposure. Develop policies and procedures and review them with your management staff. This includes working with a selected information technology security provider to develop processes that detect breaches. Consider cyber insurance as, even with the best security providers and plans, human error can wreak havoc. In the event of a breach, swiftly implement the plan. Have a contact list ready and people assigned to make decisions. Data breaches are common during busy times, like holiday weekends, so be prepared.
Consider the high cost of doing nothing compared to taking some preventative steps to deter cyberthieves from attacking your restaurant. While avoiding a cyber-attack may not be possible, franchisees can take preventative steps to limit exposure, liability, and damages through cyber liability.
The information contained in these articles provides only a general overview of subjects covered, is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation, and should not be relied upon as such. You should consult your insurance and legal advisors regarding specific coverage issues. All insurance coverage is subject to the terms, condition, and exclusions of the applicable insurance policies. Marsh cannot provide any assurance that insurance can be obtained for you or for any particular risk.