The Importance Of Maintaining Cybersecurity

Sobeys, Safeway and Maple Leaf Foods hit the headlines [1] recently due to a spate of cybersecurity incidents, and this should be a wake-up call for franchises. Franchises handle large amounts of personal and financial information, and their IT systems, processes and practices need to be capable of preventing attacks wherever possible. In cases where this is not possible, those involved in the management of sensitive business data must have a plan for handling an event to contain it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Some observers believe that cybersecurity has not been taken seriously enough by those in the food industry and that further cyber attacks are likely in this sector. For franchises operating in this sector in particular, now is the time to review cybersecurity protocols and ensure the latest security software is installed, passwords are routinely updated and that you have a plan for dealing with a cyber attack should you be unlucky enough to be targeted.


Proactive Measures

The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security [2] is well placed to help businesses develop, improve or test their cybersecurity plans in order to best protect their assets and information. For businesses that are eager to take a proactive approach to their data security, getting in touch with the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security for tailored advice and guidance is a sensible move.

For franchises who pay for web hosting, it is essential that you confirm that your web hosting company has appropriate security protocols in place and that the security configuration and credentials on your website are regularly checked and updated as necessary. If you are paying for a service, you should ensure that you are getting value for money and that your data security is being treated appropriately.

All staff should be appropriately trained before being allowed access to your networked computers and understand the importance of reporting any unusual activity that they experience when browsing, checking emails or making updates, either to the website, customer information or any other business-related documentation stored on your computer system.

You should also ensure that your malware protection is appropriate, up to date and regularly refreshed.


If An Attack Happens

If you detect any unusual activity when using your computer, it is important to disconnect it immediately from the internet and report it to your information security lead or web hosting service so it can be investigated. They will determine the type and severity of the breach so you can make the necessary decisions about how to proceed.

Regardless of their determination of the severity of the incident, it is essential that you report the incident to your franchisor immediately so they can ensure that no other franchisees have been targeted and take proactive measures to contain the event and handle any adverse publicity that arises from the event.