A new economic report from law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts that Birmingham will be one of the 10 UK cities to recover fastest from lockdown restrictions and Brexit uncertainties this year, with similarly strong economic news for the wider West Midlands region.
Great news for many across the area, particularly those in the F&B sector who are now at last re-opening to even more customers keen to get out and make the most of their new-found freedom. And, as restaurants, café’s, pubs and bars enjoy this new influx of business, staying safe – and not just from COVID – is more important than ever.
Cyber security has actually never been more critical. Over the last 18 months those working in F&B have had to change the way they do business such as introducing online takeaway facilities for many.
With this, organisations have been collecting more customer information such as credit card details, email addresses and telephone numbers when confirming bookings or when a customer connects to the premises wi-fi hotspot.
Cyber criminals are aware of the value of this data and that usually cyber security is an afterthought as owners are more focused on the day-to-day running of the business and are keeping an eye on costs. If they are able to obtain this type of information, a cyber criminal can use it for fraudulent activities, or to access funds.
So, how can you reduce your risk of a cyber attack?
Ensure any company devices use a private company network and public devices use a guest network. Keep devices on separate networks.
Ensure your operating systems are running the latest operating systems.
Educate your employees on phishing messages and ensure they know what do if one is accidentally clicked.
Make sure your third-party vendors such as payroll suppliers, loyalty programme providers or food delivery service providers are following adequate cyber security measures preferably the Cyber Essentials scheme.
Make sure your third party vendors that are processing or have access to consumer payment data are compliant with The Payment Card Industry Security Standard (PCI).
Ensure your password is a mix of 3 random words and store them securely using a password manager, not written on a napkin next to the till.
Use a firewall to keep malware infected devices from infecting others on your network. For example your back-office computer doesn’t need to communicate with the payment card reader, keeping them on separate networks will help in preventing malware reaching all your devices.
If you have found these tips useful, why not become a member of the WMCRC and receive regularly tips and tricks like this?
Businesses in the West Midlands can sign up for a free membership online and receive a welcome pack full of practical resources and tools that will help you identify your risks and vulnerabilities and the steps you can take to increase your levels of protection. Through your membership, you will also get regular updates on new threats, designed to help you stay safer.
The businesses currently supported range from micro businesses through to large organisations, as no business is too small or large to be of interest to cyber criminals.
Take a look on our website www.wmcrc.co.uk/membership