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Surviving the Saturday night dinner rush, making sure customers’ food arrives hot and on time, covering a kitchen shift because the fry cook called in sick… These are all common challenges most restaurant owners face on a weekly basis. It’s easy to focus only on the day-to-day operations that keep your customers coming through the door and the cash register ringing.

However, it’s extremely important for restaurant and retail owners to remember that your customers are trusting you with their personal information on a daily basis. With every credit card swipe, your customers’ sensitive information is potentially being exposed to cyber criminals around the world who are waiting for the right moment to attack.

Data Privacy Day is meant to remind business owners to stop and think about how they’re protecting their customers. On January 28th, take a moment to assess your data privacy policies. As a start, here are some best practices you can apply to gain your customers’ trust (courtesy of StaySafeOnling.org) and to avoid a data breach:

Gain your customers’ trust

  • Have (and follow) a privacy policy. Your company’s website should have a privacy policy that tells customers what information you collect and how you use it.
  • Know what you have. You should be aware of all the personal information you have about your customers, where you’re storing it, how you are using it, who has access to it and how you protect it.
  • Keep what you need and delete what you don’t. While it’s tempting to keep information for future use, the less you collect and store, the less opportunity there is for something to go wrong.
  • Protect what they give you. If you’re holding onto information about your customers, you need to keep it secure.


What you can do to avoid a data breach

  • Network Security: Make sure your network security implementation includes quarterly vulnerability scans, a stateful inspection firewall, Unified Threat Management (UTM) and 24/7 monitoring.
  • Financial Protection: Be sure to protect yourself financially. With the average cost of a data breach amounting to $80,000 per location, a data breach protection plan is critical for your business.
  • PCI Compliance: Get PCI compliant as soon as possible. Your ability to demonstrate compliance will reduce your accountability in the event of a data breach.
  • Targeted Breach Areas: Be aware of the most commonly targeted areas for a data breach within your business.


Remember, data privacy is good for business. If you collect sensitive information from your customers, you are responsible for protecting that data. With cybercrime recently reaching an all-time high, your business depends on it.

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