With the recent news of a widely known and visited fast food chain being a victim of a security breach that impacted 5 million people, owners and operators in the hospitality industry are scrambling. All of a sudden, the implications of transactional security have been put into sharp relief.

“How can restaurants protect themselves against the liability of breaches?”

“How does EMV work?”

“What preventative measures do restaurants need to put in place to protect data?”

At Squirrel, we’ve been in the business of securing hospitality businesses and protecting customer information for over three decades. Here’s where to begin:

1. Get ahead of breaches: make the transition to EMV

We began by mentioning Sonic’s devastating security breach, but the most common liability lapses are much less visible and much more of an everyday occurrence. Without an EMV-compliant payment system, security gaps can chip away at a restaurant’s bottom line on a daily basis.
Though EMV has been widely portrayed as a nice-to-have rather than a need-to-have, operations that make the transition on their own terms end up ahead. In the United States, $11.8 billion in sales resulted in chargebacks in 2016—and some businesses see $1000 to $10,000 a month in chargebacks that they cannot win. If your operation has yet to experience the hardship and frustration of chargebacks, would you rather be reactive, or proactive?

2. Ensure your POS or payment devices encrypts data

Back to the headline: a restaurant stays secure by choosing secure solutions. Ensure your POS system meets today’s PCI security standards. Confirm that card data is always tokenized, and that your payment processing devices do not store customer payment data. In the event of a hack, your operation should not be in possession of any customer data to steal, no credit card information for hackers to sell, and no security risk that’s a potential liability.

3. Stay up-to-date with your technology

Having outdated software is a classic lapse in security. The everyday running of your operation is a flurry of activity, and it can be tough to stay ahead on the data front. Outdated software will have inadequate data protection, will be more susceptible to getting hacked, and won’t interface well with the newest secure integrations or add-on features. Stay current by upgrading regularly.
In the digital age, your profitability stems from how well (and how securely) you use data while maintaining a great relationship with your customers. With the right POS partner, these two fundamentals go hand-in-hand.