Businesses across the hospitality sector are at risk of falling foul to cybercriminals if they fail to implement stringent safety measures, Best Bar None Scotland has warned.
The national accreditation and award scheme aims to raise safety standards among licensed venues throughout the country, and was developed in partnership with the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and a host of other national organisations.
In recent years, technological advancements in the hospitality sector have changed how many businesses operate. Areas including payments, ordering, communications and staffing have all been transformed by technology.
While technology has streamlined operations and helped to improve efficiency for many businesses across the country, Best Bar None Scotland’s national coordinator, Robert Hogg, warned that more must be done to thwart the growing threat of cyber attacks.
He said: “Cybercrime is now a real threat to all businesses across all sectors. This is particularly true for businesses who are not traditionally associated with digital, that rely on technology on a daily basis but may not have the necessary defences in place to fight off an attack.
“It’s vital that all businesses across the licensed trade sector are checking data and detecting attacks, and making efforts to improve IT capabilities.”
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Bars or restaurants can employ a number of basic cybersecurity practices to ensure their safety, such as using different passwords for accounts, not opening suspicious email attachments and ensuring that they send sensitive data in a secure manner.
Raising awareness of cybersecurity threats among employees should also be a key focus for all businesses, Hogg insisted. “It’s also important that employees are made aware of cybersecurity policies, know how to spot phishing emails and are aware of the protocol if they notice anything suspicious.
“One of the biggest risks to the licensed trade is unsecured WiFi networks. In no other sector do more people who are not employed by the venue expect to have access to the internet and, while business owners may believe they’re providing a valuable service to their customers, often the security on these networks is non-existent; leading to huge privacy issues.”
Open WiFi networks are frequently targeted by hackers and cybercriminals and represent a significant threat for businesses and customers alike. To ensure user safety, Hogg recommended that networks always be secured with a password and that guest networks should be created for customers and employees so they are not on the same network as a point-of-sale system.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) is urging bars and restaurant across Scotland that have cybersecurity concerns to get in touch.
The Centre provides a range of advisory cybersecurity services, which are designed to help build confidence among organisations and businesses and to help them understand ongoing threats.